Hot Chocolate & Genealogy
Hot Chocolate & Genealogy

50 Years Later: World War II, Accomplishments and Costs

For millions of people around the world 1995 commemorates the 50th anniversary of World War II. After more than a decade of uncertainty through the Depression and war years, the Germans' surrender on May 7, 1945 was the beginning of peace. What had started as a local conflict in Eastern Europe spread into a global conflict of unmeasurable costs. Allied Forces accomplished world peace and fifty years later we struggle to maintain it.

The Cost for Peace

  • At the end of the war, Allied Forces totalled 4,581,000 men in the air and ground military.
  • Under Eisenhower, 93 divisions of air strength, 9 armies and 17,192 planes contributed to V-E Day.
  • During the war the U.S. manufactured 296,000 planes, 87,000 tanks, 2.4 million trucks and millions more rifles.
  • Peak production for Canada was in 1943 when they built 16,000 aircrafts, 800,000 motor vehicles and 6,500 tanks and self-propelled guns.
  • 1,086,771 Canadians wore the unifor in three-armed services. 49,252 were women.

Casualties were the biggest cost for everyone in the war, soldiers and civilians. The Soviet Union lost 20 million people; Germany lost 3 million in battle and an additional 500,000 civilians; Allied Forces counted over 110,000 missing persons; Britain lost 60,000 civilians and 350,000 military personnel.

In all, World War II cost more than $230 billion in property damage with many records and personal items irreplaceable.

Information on victims of war

If you want to know about a war veteran or civilian in your family, try contacting one of the following agencies for assistance.

  • United States Holocaust Research Institute: 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW., Washington, D.C. 20024-2150. (202) 488-6130. Inquire about their archives, library, museum and survivor's registry.
  • The Red Cross: Consult your phonebook for your local branch and inquire about missing person searches for military personnel.
  • The Salvation Army: This agency offers missing persons locators beyond the military scope. Locate your nearest office in your phonebook and request their enquiry form and guidelines, or write to: 120 W. 14th Street, New York, NY. 10011.
  • Government: Consult the government pages of your phonebook for Veterans' Administration or the Department of Veteran Affairs.


This article appeared in the November 1995 issue of Hot Chocolate.

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