World War II: A timeline of American casualties

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. When Japanese officials signed the formal surrender papers on Sept. 2, 1945, it ended the bloodiest war in history -- an estimated 60 million-80 million people were killed worldwide.

The U.S. was the last of the major combatants to enter the war when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Yet this hardly spared the nation from horrific casualties.

On average, 220 U.S. service personnel died per day -- nearly 6,600 every month -- for the 1,364 days that America fought. That figure doesn't include all the men who were wounded and/or disabled.

Below is an interactive chart that shows the casualty figures for the Army, Army Air Forces (forerunner of the Air Force), Navy and Marines on a monthly basis from Pearl Harbor to the war's end. The figures do not represent casualties in the service of the Merchant Marine (estimated to be 21,000) or Coast Guard (1,900).

Keep in mind that casualties are notoriously difficult to pin down exactly. Part of the problem is how each service kept records. The Army and Army Air Forces kept month-by-month totals. The Navy and Marines, on the other hand, generally totaled figures based on a particular battle or campaign, which often lasted for months. Therefore, averaging was used for a portion of Navy and Marine casualties.

Finally, casualties are defined as personnel killed (whether through combat, illness, training, or friendly fire), wounded (ditto) or captured. Use the buttons to filter the services.

For more on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, check out our special coverage on myAJC.com.