Skip to Content

Timeline: Facts, Figures, and Sources

An Overview of Pivotal U.S. Wars, Conflicts, and Interventions since 1917

All events listed in chronological order.

World War I


Key Players
The Allied Powers (Serbia, Montenegro, the British Empire, France, Belgium, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Japan, the United States, Hejaz, Greece, Siam, Brazil, the Emirate of Nejd and Hasa, and the Idrisid Emirate of Asir) and the Central Powers (the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, the Emirate of Jabal Shammar, the Dervish State, the South African Republic, and the Sultanate of Darfur)

Total Casualties1
54,326,669 (includes prisoners and MIA2)

U.S. Casualties
274,659 (includes prisoners and MIA)

» PBS – The Great War
» Texas World War I Centennial Commemoration
» The Atlantic – World War I in Photos: Introduction
» The National WWI Museum and Memorial – Interactive WWI Timeline
» The Guardian – 
A Global Guide to the First World War: Interactive Documentary
» The British Library – World War One

» Library of Congress – Mobilized Strength and Casualty Losses
» History Channel – World War I History
» National Archives – The Zimmerman Telegram

World War II


Key Players
The Allied Powers (France [until it fell under German occupation], Great Britain, the United States, China, and all wartime UN members after 1942) and the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia/Croatia, and Finland [cooperated, but never officially joined the Tripartite Pact])

Total Casualties
85 million dead (includes military and civilians); 15-20 million imprisoned and killed during the Holocaust

U.S. Casualties
418,500 dead (includes military and civilians)

» The National WWII Museum, New Orleans
» United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
» BBC – In Pictures: Hiroshima, the First Atomic Bomb
» Library of Congress – Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar

» The Atlantic – World War II: After the War (Photos)

» The National WWII Museum – By the Numbers: World-Wide Deaths
» Encyclopædia Britannica – World War II
» History Channel – World War II History
» Business Insider – "Shocking" Holocaust Study Claims Nazis Killed Up To 20 Million People

The Cold War


Key Players
The United States and the Soviet Union

» John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum – The Cold War
» BBC – The Cold War
» Encyclopædia Britannica – The Cold War

» History Channel – Cold War History

The Korean War


Key Players
North Korea, South Korea, China, the United Nations Command (led by the United States), and the Soviet Union

Total Casualties
Between 2.8 and 5 million killed or missing (over 50% were civilians)

U.S. Casualties
33,651 combat deaths and 3,262 deaths from other causes; 103,284 wounded; 7,800+ missing

» Time – How the Korea War Started
» Time – LIFE in Korea: Rare and Classic Photos From the "Forgotten War"

» History Channel – Korean War
» BBC – The American Military in Korea
» CBS – How Many Americans Died in Korea?
» CNN – Korean War Fast Facts

The Bay of Pigs Invasion


Key Players
Cuba, United States, and the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front

Cuban Army Casualties
3,650 dead

Brigade 2506 Casualties
114 dead; 1,100+ taken prisoner

» BBC – Bay of Pigs: The "Perfect Failure" of Cuba Invasion
» The National Security Archive – Bay of Pigs Chronology

» History Channel – Bay of Pigs Invasion
» The Bay of Pigs by Howard Jones
» John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum – The Bay of Pigs

The Vietnam War


Key Players
North Vietnam, Viet Cong, Khmer Rouge, Pathet Lao, South Vietnam, the United States, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Khmer Republic, Kingdom of Laos, and the Philippines

Total Casualties
More than 3 million dead

U.S. Casualties
58,220 dead (in theater); 32,000 dead (in service, non-theater); 153,303 wounded

» PBS – Battlefield: Vietnam
» The Atlantic – The Vietnam War, Part I: Early Years and Escalation
» CNN – Iconic Photos of the Vietnam War
» The New Yorker – The Vietnam War is Still Killing People

» History Channel – Vietnam War
» Department of Veteran's Affairs – America's Wars

The Lebanese Civil War


Key Players
Lebanon, Israel, Syria, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the Amal Movement, Hezbollah, the United States, France, and Italy

Total Casualties
150,000 dead; over one million displaced

U.S. Casualties
262 dead

» PBS – Frontline/World: Lebanon
The New York Times – On This Day: October 23
» Al Jazeera – Survivors Recount Sabra-Shatila Massacre

» History Channel – U.S. Marines Deployed to Lebanon
» BBC – Lebanon Profile: Timeline
» A Guide to Documents on the Arab-Palestinian/Israeli Conflict: 1897-2008 (Edited by M. Cherif Bassiouni and Shlomo Ben Ami)
» BBC – Sabra and Shatila: Dealing with Facts
» Los Angeles Times – Casualties of Mideast Wars

The Invasion of Grenada


Key Players
Grenada, the United States, and Cuba

Total Casualties
59 Cubans killed and 25 wounded; 45 Grenadians killed and 337 wounded

U.S. Casualties
19 killed and 119 wounded

» BBC – 1983: US Troops Invade Grenada
» The New York Times – Thursday, October 27, 1983 Invasion in Grenada

» Time – Reagan Apologized to Thatcher for Grenada Invasion

» PBS – The Invasion of Grenada
» U.S. Army Center of Military History – Operation Urgent Fury: The Invasion of Grenada, October 1983

The Invasion of Panama


Key Players
The United States and Panama

Total Casualties
150 Panamanian Defense Force soldiers and an estimated 500 Panamanian civilians killed

U.S. Casualties 
23 troops and three civilians killed

» Los Angeles Times – Operation Just Cause
» BBC – 
1989: US Forces Oust General Noriega
» BBC – Panama's General Manuel Noriega and His Fall from Grace
» The New York Times – Panama and U.S. Strive To Settle on Death Toll

» The National Security Archive – Operation Just Cause: Panama
» History Channel – This Day in History: The U.S. Invades Panama

The Gulf War


Key Players
Coalition forces from 34 countries, including the United States, France, the UK, Germany, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.; Iraq and its allies, such as Jordan, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, etc.; and Kuwait

Iraqi Casualties
10-12,000 combat and 2,300 civilian deaths in the air campaign; 10,000 dead in the ground war

U.S. Casualties
383 dead (in theater); 1,565 dead (non-theater); 467 wounded

» The Atlantic – Operation Desert Storm: 25 Years Since the First Gulf War
» PBS – Frontline: The Gulf War
» U.S. News and World Report – 
The Lessons of the First Gulf War Still Linger 25 Years on

» History Channel – Persian Gulf War
» Department of Veteran's Affairs – America's Wars
» PBS – Iraqi Death Toll

The Battle of Mogadishu


Key Players 
U.S. troops and Mohammed Aidid’s forces in Mogadishu

Total Casualties
At least 300 Somalis killed, and 700+ wounded (includes civilians)

U.S. Casualties
18 troops killed, 73 injured, and one taken prisoner for 11 days

» National Geographic – Behind the Battle of Mogadishu
» PBS – Mohamed Farah Aideed: Death of a Warlord
» NBC News – 1993: The Battle of Mogadishu (VIDEO)

» NPR – What A Downed Black Hawk In Somalia Taught America
» The New York Times – Details of U.S. Raid in Somalia: Success So Near, a Loss So Deep
» Office of the Historian: Somalia, 1992–1993

The Bosnian War


Key Players 
The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (until its dissolution), NATO (which includes the United States), Croatia, the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, the Republic of Serbian Krajina, and Republika Srpska

Total Casualties
Over 250,000 dead, including 100,000 civilians killed during the Bosnian Genocide; more than 2 million civilians displaced; between 20,000 and 50,000 Bosnian women systematically raped and impregnated by Serbians in order to depopulate Muslim territories; 167 United Nations Protection Force dead (included troops from the United States)

» BBC – Bosnia-Herzegovina Profile: Timeline
» The Atlantic – 20 Years Since The Bosnian War

» Los Angeles Times – Bosnian War: Sarajevo Then and Now

» Office of the Historian: The War in Bosnia, 1992–1995 
» History Channel – Bosnian Genocide

» Encyclopædia Britannica – Dayton Accords
» The Guardian – Serbs "Enslaved Muslim Women at Rape Camps"
» United Nations – Former Yugoslavia: United Nations Protection Force

The Crisis in Kosovo


Key Players
NATO (with the United States as a dominant force) and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (formed after the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)

Total Casualties
About 500 civilians killed; 576 F.R.Y. troops and police killed

U.S. Casualties
2 pilots (killed in a training mission)

» Encyclopædia Britannica – Kosovo Conflict
» BBC – Serbia Profile: Timeline
» The Washington Post – Who's Who in the Balkans

» PBS – A Kosovo Chronology
» The Washington Post – Report Says NATO Bombing Killed 500 Civilians in Yugoslavia
» The New York Times – Slobodan Milosevic, 64, Former Yugoslav Leader Accused of War Crimes, Dies
» History Channel – This Day in History: NATO Bombs Yugoslavia 
» PBS – Kosovo: Facts & Figures

The War in Afghanistan


Key Players
Afghanistan (with the International Security Assistance Force); the Taliban and allying militant groups, including al-Qaeda; the Northern Alliance; and a coalition comprised of forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada

Total Casualties
12,996 Afghan civilians dead and 15,893 wounded (as of December 2012); 1,059 of the International Security Assistance Force dead (as of December 2012)

U.S. Casualties
2,215 dead and 20,030 wounded during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; 22 dead and 107 wounded during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (as of July 14, 2016)

» BBC – Afghanistan Profile: Timeline
» NBC News – U.S. War in Afghanistan (Interactive Timeline)
» The Guardian – Afghanistan War Logs: Massive Leak of Secret Files Exposes Truth of Occupation
» U.S. News and World Report – As Obama’s Tenure Ends, U.S. Wars Drag On

» Encyclopædia Britannica – Afghanistan War
» Congressional Research Service – Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians
» U.S. Department of Defense – Casualty List
» History Channel – This Day in History: U.S.-led Attack on Afghanistan Begins
» The Washington Post – U.S. Widens War in Afghanistan, Authorizes New Action Against Taliban 

The Syrian Civil War


Key Players
The Syrian Government (and allied Russia, Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, etc.); the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, along with various other rebel groups; Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units, or the YPG (supported by the Combined Joint Task Force, which includes the United States); Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest (JaF); and ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)

Total Casualties
Over 250,000 Syrians dead; more than 11 million displaced, including 4.5 million refugees seeking asylum abroad (as of March 11, 2016)

U.S. Casualties
21 killed as a part of Operation Inherent Resolve (as of July 14, 2016)

» The Atlantic – The Confused Person’s Guide to the Syrian Civil War
» BBC – Syria's War
» The Guardian – Syria's Civil War: Five Years of Guardian Reporting

» NPR – In Syria, Underground Efforts To Train Doctors Amid Regime Attacks

» BBC – Syria: The Story of the Conflict
» BBC – Turkey v Syria's Kurds v Islamic State
» CNN – Syrian Civil War Fast Facts
» U.S. Department of Defense – Casualty List

1 Casualties include both fatalities and injuries
2 Missing in Action
3 The Iraq War includes both 2003-2011 and 2003-present phases


Devin Baumann