From 1941 Dec 7 to 1945 May 8, what percent of the US Federal Budget was spent on the war? I would like to compare this to today's military spending, which according to this paragraph in wikipedia, is 28 - 38%.

  • Is wartime spending actually included in regular budgets?
    – justCal
    Oct 2, 2017 at 15:58
  • 1
    I doubt that any analysis could be complete without a nuanced analysis of deficit spending. Oct 2, 2017 at 21:01
  • The wiki article you link for 'today's' spending opens discussing fiscal year 2010. The chart to the right has a Title which says Fiscal year 2015, and the caption for the same chart reads Fiscal Year 2012. You might want to look for a better figure to start from for your comparison.
    – justCal
    Oct 2, 2017 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


This chart shows that the percentage of U.S. GDP spent on defense rose from low single digits in 1940, to nearly 40% during the war years, before dropping below 10%, even today.

A related chart shows that the percentage of the federal budget spent during the WWII years on defense, was as high as about 80% falling to about 30% today.

  • 4
    That's GDP, not budget. Oct 2, 2017 at 20:53
  • 2
    This chart is defense spending as a percentage of federal budget. (I believe this is federal defense spending as a percentage of federal budget, but the site isn't entirely clear.) Oct 2, 2017 at 20:59
  • @user2357112: Added the second chart. Thanks for your help.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 2, 2017 at 21:17

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