Most Powerful Militaries of All Time

The Top Ten

1 USA 1941-Present

Of course the US Army was the most powerful and still is with the invention of the atomic bomb. But are they really in the decisions, which all of us are feeling today? So, the germans haven't had the atomic bomb and still don't own it, even though rumors say, they can produce one in five minutes. Keep that in mind, could be true.But this is not the topic.

What I want to say is, that the Americans were of course the best in producing ressources, but not the best nation in science, they stole a lot of scientists of Germany, by granting them a free life after the crimes they did, like Wernher von Braun.So the industrial superpower of the united states made america the number one, if they wouldn't have that advantage they would have lost it.

My problem here is, that the Germans offered a side by side fight to the US Military to them, to fight back Russians and they refused, which led to the cold war and the thread of Russia, China, North Korea and so on. I mean Germany ...more

I have studied and taught history for many years now. The best quote about the power of the United States was summed up by one man. After the attack on the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, the Japanese military celebrated their surprise victory. However, as the legend goes Japanese Admiral Yamamoto who had spent several years in the U.S. said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Yamamoto was referring to the industrial power, the economic capabilities, the potential of overwhelming military power, the vastness of America's natural resources, and above all the spirit of its people, that he knew only free men and women have. Today the United States spends more money on its military than the next 10 countries combined. The U.S. is a member of the strongest alliance in history (NATO). To give a brief example of actually power compared to the rest of the world, the United States has over 20 aircraft ...more

The United States military is the most advanced military as of now, and that's thanks to defeating the overly powerful Nazi regime with their allies, they've been the global super power since and have shown that in their ability to outrun the Soviet Union with their unreal military and economic budgets, they rid the Western Hemisphere from colonization and protect the great continents of North and South America from foreign powers. This is a nation that has been beyond powerful since their revolution, whether you believe it or not, they were a sleeping giant even during the 19th century, wars trained our troops, not camps, the Civil War and Spanish and Mexican-American Wars proved that our nation was able to defend and fight, when World War I came, we outsmarted both sides and let them beat each other up, then develop an advanced military quickly and finish it off. World War II we DESTROYED 2 SUPER POWERS ON 2 SIDES OF THE WORLD, considering a lot of the defeat of Japan was thanks to ...more

Although the USA and its citizens did not think that their country can be greatest among countries in the 18th Century, they were wrong. USA, in the 19th Century, fought the mighty Spanish Empire, following it a US victory. The US then expanded their territory into Oceania, halting at China, since the British Empire took control of it. The US then went on to fight in World War I, increasing their rating of strength, then World War II, where they proved to be the strongest nation in the world after taking down the mighty Nazi Regime. The US then went to make the atomic bomb to blow up the Japanese Empire and end the war and then cancelled out the Soviet Union, which was in 2nd place, decades afterward.-Anonymous

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2 Nazi Germany 1933-1945

A big concrete wall blocks your path to the next country you wish to invade. What do you do? Go around it. Lol - Pls_no.

By far the finest and most disciplined fighting force the world has ever seen. Absolutely no doubt.

There is no need to say, that the Nazis were stupid and that they could have been a more powerful army at their time, without any doubt. They dodged their intellectual elite, by saying Jews are the enemy and missed some technological advantages, by Hitler being a lunatic and not seeing the real benefits in it. At their time they were the most advanced country on earth, which makes all of what happened even more strange, scary and just wondering, why. But it was the losing in WW1 and the disrespect of the winners which even allowed to get Germany a second chance on the battlefield. At least a lot of Germans felt that. And they were right, like this period has taught us. I mean, which army today needs the hate of all world against it, to get defeated? So imagine, they weakened themselves and still were able to perform a war like this...

Everything to defeat them was invented in Germany, just imagine, that it was just Hitler, who made the German win impossible, because he left his ...more

The Nazis may have been evil; but they were also very good at what they did. Adolf Hitler was a highly decorated WW1 German war hero, and a post-war intelligence operative. These skills & experiences compelled Hitler & Nazi Germany to advance warfare exponentially with "blitzkrieg". The Nazis built the world's first modern mechanized military, and the world's first global superpower. The Nazis were a frightening fighting force of disciplined, fanatical warriors using the most high tech, incredibly advanced weapons. Modern-day warfare & tactics were invented by the Nazis, as well as technology that was leaps & bounds ahead of the Allies. Let me put it this way-- If we didn't have the Nazis, we never would have went to the moon or launched satellites. They were THAT advanced and critical to human history.

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3 Mongol Empire 1206-1368

No European or American army can match their courageous acts of conquering the entire known world more than the mongols they pillage and sack more cities and erase most of civilized society than any other army previously or after.

Genghis Khan "Chiggis Khan" was unstoppable and merciless who stand on his way. Genghis Khan was kind and merciful who want to serve him. Genghis Khan's vision of Silk road opened us another way to living life and his vision gave us religion freedom first time in human history. Khan was great warrior, great leader, great strategic personality, and also born to be King of World. In Secret History of Mongols Genghis Khan said: "If there is one sun, our world will have one Great King". Lots of people says Genghis Khan was brutal, but what about other mid era king and empires?. 1 in every 200 men descendant of Genghis Khan. Before say something bad every man should take the Y-DNA test. I'm from Mongolia. Also descendant of Genghis Khan proven by Y-DNA result. - Henryotgoo

Yep, the second largest empire and the largest land empire of all time, conquered a quarter of the world's population, absolutely annihilating armies of much more advanced empires who outnumbered them ten to one, best fighting force of all time.

They were insurmountable as a military force at the height of their power, not because their tech was better, or their numbers greater, but because their tactics were superior and their brute force overwhelming. Undoubtedly the greatest conquerors in history!

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4 British Empire 1800-1939

It was the greatest empire of all time and took over most of the world. The Nazis were not a powerful army due to their idiotic decisions, the Mongol empire was no match for the scale of the British empire and the USA is not one of the most powerful army's ever because of their small scale and is not comparable with army's that fought hundreds of years ago.

Especially given its size, the British forces of this period and somewhat before, were extremely robust and achieved what no other nation in history has managed, dominance of all the world's oceans ad commerce with an all conquering navy and a small but highly effective army. Fighting over multiple terrains and against a hugely diverse set of opponents they emerged with by far the largest empire the world has ever seen.

Given that British naval supremacy over the best part of a century caused a long period of relative peace in the world, something that America's military power today has failed to do, should demonstrate the absolute supremacy enjoyed by Britain in the 19th century

Britain played a major role into today's society. Our world will know this empire for being the largest and biggest empire that ever existed. Our world would change if this never happened. Long live the king.

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5 Soviet Union 1941-1991

They had 48,000 of one type of tank alone! When the axis wiped out all there troops, there were EVEN MORE TROOPS, they almost had more tanks than the axis had bullets! They should be number 1!

I would have put the Soviet Union at number 2 due to their nuclear capability (the Soviet Union had the 2nd largest nuclear stockpile on the planet at 55000+, while the United States of America had 70000+, but, we also have the consider the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear detonation in history, which was actually detonated at half of it's potential power as they removed the U-238 Tamper which increased it's explosion power to 100 megatons because if they detonated the Tsar Bomba with 100 megaton potential power then it would have destroyed the plane which dropped it as it was trying to fly away from the explosion) and their ability to overtake the American's at the beginning of the space race with the launch of Sputnik into orbit around the Earth. This proves that they were the only empire/union that was able to be the rival the United States of America, hell, the United States of America was terrified with the "Red Scare", and the American people thought that their country ...more

See Number 2? Well, the Soviets crushed them. And most of their allies. And then went on to slap the Japanese harder than the A-bomb. And then was the only country that ever rivaled the US.

They are a world phenomenon crushing loads of countries

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6 Empire of Japan 1905-1941

Conquered more land than many modern armies. China, the largest country in population, and Russia, the largest country in area, both we’re handily beaten. There was a point in WW2, that Japan had the advantage over China, Russia and the USA.

They never would surrendered and had conquered China at one point before stupidly attacking Pearl Harbor and throwing it all away

It took a lot of armies to beat them, and they were all alone. They didn't need any help. - Deadamanwonderlandgi

NO! It didn't ended at 1941 but at 1945
Remember the history that pass away and did not wasted or rotted... - The_Raging_Calidonian_Bull

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7 Dai Viet Army 1228-1300

Defeated Chinese several times, Mongols Empire, then Chinese again, as well as France + Korea + Japan in the 1945s, the US in the 1975s, and Chinese again

Deserves to be at least be in top three

Great Viet Army is its meaning

If the Mongol empire is 2 then Dai Viet army should be 1 because they defeated the Mongol empire 3 times

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8 Roman Empire 27BC-476AD

The Romans had one of the most disciplined and powerful armies in the world and even in ancient antiquity at their peak. With models and precedent to look upon and study, such as Caesar and Scipio Africanus, and almost inexhaustible resources compared to its rivals of the time, no other army could stand up to them, allowing the Romans to conqueror much of Europe and world known to them. Probably, the biggest reason why they weren't able to do more with their military might is due to the politics involved with various, ambitious people always vying for the position of emperor. And if put in modern context, if the Roman army did have the same technological capabilities as us right now, along with their almost immovable discipline and superb generals, they would probably be on par with the United States military.

The Romans might not seem like much now cause we have guns that can kill a person from 400 yards away but back then imagine seeing on the beaches of your island this massive army all equipped with sword/spears, shields, armor and helmets. If you can't then imagine an army the size of the Romans but they all have the same technology we have.

They accomplished so much, and conquered so much, they had the first professional army.

They ruled for 700 years. What other empire was as forceful and stayed around that long?

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9 Viet Cong 1954-1976

America never, LOST vietnam, we never declared war and were more of a giant police force rather than army, to achieve victory, one must surrender or be conquered.

I hate to admit it, but these soldiers were very brave to take on the US. Not only that but to take on the US and win! They were both cowardly and cunning.

The nation was so poor they harly could afford to buy guns, so they defeated their enemies by mostly using booby traps. How many armies can say they've done that? - sdoggys

If it wasn't for Vietnam defeating America, most nations would still be fighting with WW2 tactics. Vietnam pretty much changed the way Generals see the battlefield.

Your comment about Vietnam defeating America made me far angrier than it should've, as Vietnam did not beat us. We won, and a treaty was signed, then Vietnam went against said treaty and we just decided it wasn't worth the trouble. - Traitorous

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10 Spanish Empire 1492-1975

"Los Tercios" was the first modern Army and the best and never defeated (in any big battle) army during more than 100 years.

Is the best army in the history

The Spanish Empire was the first empire of global extent. It controlled modern day, South America, Central America, Mexico, Southwest America and Northern Africa. In its peak it was wealthier and stronger than England, France and Portugal. It's power is displayed by it's language having 460 million speakers the second most spoken language in the world after Mandarin. When Philip II was in power The Spanish Empire most definitely ruled the world. After it's defeat on Jul 29, 1588 along with a series of civil wars marked the decline of the Empire.

Just over 500 Spanish soldiers brought down an empire of over a million people.

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The Newcomers

? Kalmar Union 1387-1526

The Danish led Kalmar Union saw its rise under the Danish queen Margrethe 1. During the next 150 years the Union was the absolute master of Northen Europe with one of the strongest fleets of the time. Despite of the short life of the Union it is a worthy contester to one of the most powerful unionens of Europe.

The Contenders

11 Ottoman Empire 1299-1808

The strongest ever.

I think there is a mistake on the list. Because there are many things that have changed by Turk's, in Ottomans period of reign. For instance, it is accepted that when the Turk's conquered the Constantinopole(Istanbul) the middle age has ended, The Byzantine Empire ended and a new period of time has begun. The Ottomans ruled 24 million square kilometers. And they were had the strongest army in its time.

Long lasting in all known lands, war in all continents at the same time.

Taking on the might of the Russian empire.

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12 Russian Empire 1721-1905

Russian Empire defeated Swedish, Polish, Ottoman, Persian, French Empires. - darkraid1

Russia defeated most armies on this list

Russians defeated Mongolia, France and Germany.

Powerful

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13 Persian Empire 550BC-651AD

Persia stronk

49% of the then know world population lived under the Persian empire.

Cyrus the Great conquered all of the land that would be called Persia in a very small amount of time. (He gave freedom to all the slaves in Persia as well).

Worlds biggest empire with 49% of worlds population

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14 Caliphates 632-1258

Caliphates should be 1st

The greatest Muslim General in the history KHALID BIN AL-WALEED

When you're generals have 100 battles and 100 wins you know that you are the greatest military force on earth. The caliphates were always outnumbered but never defeated. Nearly took over Europe 2 times. It's empire stretched from Spain to a Chinese dynasty. It lead to creation of Islam, led to Islamic golden age. Led to great inventions and discoveries. Largest empire of its time.

They were the best.. No one can compete with them in this list.. They were the most courageous people in the world.. People like them will never come again in this world till the end of the world because they were righteous just n most courageous..

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15 Kingdom of Macedonia 808-168 BC

Alexander The Great had superior tactics that gave him great advantages even when outflanked!

Conquered the whole known land in its era

Entire countries surrendered then joined his army.

Alexander the Great WHAT ELSE?!?!?

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16 German First world war Army 1914-1918

The Spring Offensive of 1918 was a miraculous feat after 4 years of stalemate, for a country essentially already exhausted and all but defeated. They steamrolled Russia, and fought 2 other empires battles for them. 3 huge allied powers alone couldn't defeat them, it was only with the help of the USA and the depletment of resources that Germany lost.

Very powerful country to take on French British and Russian, and all the co belligerents. There artillery helped them gain massive casualties. They would have won if they had more allies. Also they only attacked the USA, Portugal because they were trading with the entente.

Definitely top 5 of all time. Over the Wehrmacht of WW2

It had the best of Prussian discipline and post Napoleonanic modernization while not having the ideological blindness of Nazis.

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17 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1386-1795

The Winged Hussars were at that point, the most powerful cavalry known to man.

Wiped out countless numbers of enemies with forces half the size

Took fighting on 3 fronts to destroy it because it allowed more freedom to its citizens than Prussia, Russia and Austria Hungary - first constitution in Europe.

In my opinion this was stronger than a lot of other countries on this list

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18 First French Empire 1804-1814

Napoleon's army was led by a genius emperor and they only lost because everyone in europe was teaming against them

Won more major battles than any other military in history, and were the basis for all modern military strategy after it.

The victory record of Napoleon is over the top, his tactics have been copied by everyone after him.

Best of all time

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19 Swedish Empire 1611-1721

The Swedish beat Russia and Finland several times and even colonized New York and New Jersey

The caroleans were strongly religious, in preparation of every battle prayed the carolean army together with their king. The king also lead the army personally into battle with no thought for his own personal safety, this gave the army the highest moral possible.

You shall not get hit by any bullet ouch cur by any sword if it not to be the will of god! -Gustavus adolphus.

The caroleans were the best trained soldiers in Europe at their time

Defeated by Russia. - darkraid1

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20 Sikh Empire 1799-1849

They always fought against injustice but never started war by themselves.

The only Original secular empire in world history.

Sikhi is the best religion.

The first to abolish capital punishment.

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21 Prussian Army 1701-1918

They are the best in the world!

The Prussian military doctrine was the best of the Napoleonic era, and its mighty spirit to fight comes directly from the times of the order of the Teutonic Knights. Late 19th century, in the Shadows of the recently created German Empire, its technological breakthrough surpasses even mighty British Empire, and in early 20th century, in the battlefields of the Great war Germany... Prussia! show the world again, its mighty and superior power.

Prussia!

Stood against Austria, France, Russia and Sweden During the Seven Years' War under the leadership of Frederick the Great and with its Disciplined Army. Voltaire once remarked "While most states have an army, the Prussian army has a state". Played a pivotal role during the Napoleonic wars from 1813-1815. Defeated the Austrians in 1866 and unified Germany in 1871 after decisively defeating the French during the Franco-Prussian war. Was the main force of the German Army during WW1. Prussian General Baron Von Steuben trained and drilled the US army during and after the American Revolutionary War, helping create America's first army. Even after Prussia's de jure dissolution in 1933, Hitler tried to model the Wehrmacht to the Prussian Army.

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22 Indian National Army 1942

They fought for many countries and won. They alsoare more powerful than any other empire in my opinion.

There is a reason the sea beside Mediterranean is named bay of bengal. Even in times of rome

This is the first military forces of India founded by our great national hero of India, Subhash Chandra Bose. This became very powerful when the Britishers were colonizing India. During world war 2, the Britishers became little weak because the INA (Indian National Army) had attacked and won battle of Impahal, where the the Britishers were winning war. They won all the battles against those Britishers and today, it rose up as the 4th powerful army in the whole world. It can defeat many countries (except US army, Russian army and Chinese army as they are more powerful). It is more powerful than Ottoman Empire and the Mongols.

23 Israeli Army 1948-1982

Defeated the armies of all arab countries with a country just formed and an army that was outnumbered. Then did so again during a war that was so swift it lasted for only 6 days, crushing forces that were much superio of many arab states.

24 Maurya Empire 322-187 BC

The empire which had army that controlled all of the indian subcontinent present day india, pakistan,bangladesh and some part of afghanistan.

25 The Australian Army 2014

"They wiped out everyone with their fitness but lacked in fire power but ruled every country in the northern hemisphere for one whole year!

Dominated many battles in vietnam..

26 Regio Esercito Italiano 1870-1946

Won against a bunch of Ethiopia

Defeated the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Won over all;-)

27 Grande Armée 1804-1815

Because it was the most courage and dominant in europe continent

28 Russian Army 1991-today
29 Communist Chinese 1930-today

They wrecked the Japanese dream of taking China. At the end of ww2, they were outnumbered by the nationalists 10:1! But their guerrilla tactics and suicide training helped them to kick the nationalists out of mainland China to Taiwan. This is why the poeple's republic of China exists to this day.

30 Ethiopian Army 747–721 BC (25th Dynasty)

-of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt who ruled Egypt from 747 because to c.  722 because. ruled from the city of Napa ta, located deep in Nubia, modern-day Sudan.
-most powerful militarizes Ethiopia that ruled ancient Egypt for 300 years straight.

31 Tang Dynasty 618 - 905

Arguably the most powerful Chinese dynasty. Funny how all these nomadic armies took so many top spots, but the Tang army defeated the Turkic and Mongols and made their land protectorates. At its peak the empire stretched all the way from Korea to the Ural sea, uncontested as the most powerful state in the world at one point.

32 Belgian Army 1870

Belgian lives matter

33 Tay Son Dynasty of Vietnam 1753-1792

Defeated 30 Qing Chinese armies and 20 Siamese armies.

34 China Qin Dynasty Army 600BC to 200BC

Qin Army of the 1st Emperor of China.

The strongest army in history of all time!

The army that united all of China

35 Taiwan 1945-2017
36 British Navy 15th - 20th Century

The navy that destroyed the might Spanish armada making it the new world power.

Was used to put many indigenous populations in its knees to make them part of its might colonial empire which made tr country as strong as it could be

Destroyed Napoleons Bonaparte whole entire naval fleet

Was feared by the might Germans during world war I and resulted in the major naval clashes between the British and the Germans during the two world wars.

37 Germanic barbarians 400-500AD

Fierce

38 Waasuloom Empire of Samori Toure 1870s to 1900

Produce the Greatest Resistance to European Imperialism in Africa and the first to use modern warfare, a combining both conventional and gorilla tactics against the European colonisers. This Empire under the genius Samori Toure with little capacity resisted and defeated the French for many years. An Empire covering Parts of Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Gambia, and Ivory Coast with an approximate area like France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Belgium and Holland... Morebeside producing someform of homemade Fireman.

39 Frankish Empire 500 - 900 AD

Strongest nation of its time at its height.

40 Austria-Hungary 1867-1900

Austria-Hungary was indeed a strong country back in the day, it was in the top list of powers (although on the bottom), it was certainly a force to be reckoned with, though it was VERY ethnically divided, and that's what brought it down in the First World War, maybe if It left World War one earlier it would be higher up on this list. - AstraHang

Butthole

41 British Empire 1706-1815

They were one of he greatest armies at its peak. It won in the Seven Years War against one of the greatest empires, The French Empire. They then took a downfall when they lost the Americans Revolution and then tied the US in The War of 1812

Dominated

42 Spartans 900BC-192BC

If you search you will find that. once the spartans had battle for 3 days and nights and after the battle finished they run (sprint) 17klm with 32 kg armor to other battle for sparta. I don't know other army in the history that can make this (with this technology, no tanks/cars/planes) - tashatzis

An army should be rated by how effective it was per soldier. Though the Spartans almost never outnumbered their opponent, they did kill the most amount of enemies per soldier in their army. If you had recruited a million of these guys, the world would've been yours.

300 Spartans held out against thousands of Persians at Thermopylae and beat almost all of Greece during the Peloponnesian war. They incredible in my opinion

Were a fearless army that never backed down, retreated or surrendered

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Top Remixes (4)

1. Dai Viet Army 1228-1300
2. Mongol Empire 1206-1368
3. USA 1941-Present
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1. Dai Viet Army 1228-1300
2. Mongol Empire 1206-1368
3. USA 1941-Present
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1. Nazi Germany 1933-1945
2. USA 1941-Present
3. Soviet Union 1941-1991
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