Over the course of six years, from 1 September 1939 to 2 September 1945, upwards of 80 million men and women were killed as total war erupted between the Axis and Allied Powers, obliterating much of Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and bankrupting many of the most powerful regimes on Earth.

Characterised by countless massacres, the Holocaust, civilian bombing, famine and nuclear weapons, the war helped shape international legislation that would dictate the future of global politics. It led to the formation of the United Nations but also plunged the US and USSR into a decades-long Cold War.

Americans have fought in many wars, within their own country as well as abroad. These wars were fought for a variety reasons, ranging from the need to be independent from colonists to the expansion of national boundaries.

Here’s a list of American wars that took place since the United States became an independent nation.

 
 

World War I, known as the "war to end all wars," occurred between July 1914 and November 11, 1918. By the end of the war, over 17 million people had been killed, including over 100,000 American troops. While the causes of the war are infinitely more complicated than a simple timeline of events, and are still debated and discussed to this day, the list below provides an overview of the most frequently-cited events that led to war.