Most Powerful Militaries of All Time

The Top Ten

1 USA 1941-Present

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

Well as of one of the most well known countries it’s also a big milatary and since 1941after Pearl Harbor America’s military just kept on growing it was the first country to invent and fire a nuclear warhead and has technacily has not lost a war ( the Iraq and Afghanistan war is still going on )

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2 Nazi Germany 1933-1945

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.

Most people don't realize that the Nazis were fighting France, Britain, and America at the same time. The Nazis were extremely intelligent when it came to battles, prisoners, and training. Probably the best use of propaganda then any army. Adolf Hitler was a genius at war, the London blitz was just a taste of what the Nazis did to you if you attacked them (Berlin bombings). Great army.

They had 18 million men which was so weird to think about. So many people.

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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 conquered Russia in the middle of the winter!

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4 British Empire 1800-1939

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.

History says it all.

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5 Soviet Union 1941-1991

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

This is the only country capable to defeat the United States

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6 Empire of Japan 1905-1941

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

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.

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7 Dai Viet Army 1228-1300

Deserves to be at least be in top three

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

Great Viet Army is its meaning

Impressive army that sent the Mongols running back to Mongolia.

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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.

It�'s not 27BC-476 AD is 27BC-1453AD. From the formation of Rome the separation of the Empire to the consquest of Constatinople.
15 centuries

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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

Okay buddy, calm down. History points towards the USA losing, but if you choose to ignore that, go ahead.
Moreover, people should learn from a loss, not ignore it.

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10 Spanish Empire 1492-1975

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.

The first modern empire

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

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The Contenders

11 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.

After all it won world war 2 n is the only nation we've got which can stand up to western propaganda

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12 Ottoman Empire 1299-1808

Defeated Roman Empire and Took it Over

Finished off the Byzantine Empire and became one of the major powers in Europe until the early 1800s.

Rapid conquest. Mamluks defeated in under 10 years. Beat all the crusaders. Conquered Constantinople. Nearly conquered all of Central Europe 4 times. Nearly United Islam. Reshaped history. Forced Castile to go to the new world due to its immense trade power. Largest armies, largest navy and largest population. One of the most tolerant empires in history.

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.

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13 Persian Empire 550BC-651AD

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).

During this time Persian Empire conquered the lands that non of the empires and civilization could do that

This empire got the closest to world conquest any empire has ever gotten m. 44% of the world population under Persian rule.

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

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14 Caliphates 632-1258

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..

They brought defeat to the roman and the Persian who were the two strongest in the world at the time. They only had 1/12 the size of other army's but their determination brought them greatness

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

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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

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16 German First world war Army 1914-1918

In a war in which they were up against the British Empire, The French Republic, Russian Empire, and the United States of America, they still managed to last 4 years and all they had to help was the dying Austria-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empires both of which would be gone even if there wasn't a war. German Military Doctrine was really impressive, if the Kaiser had been smarter diplomatically the German Reich would likely still be around to this day.

This may be the greatest army ever. They were outnumbered well over two to one. German leadership of the Ottoman armies kept them going far longer than seemed possible. The Austrian army did not collapse until late 1918. This was due to the help of the Germans down to the junior officers and sergeants. Only their political stupidity caused them to loose by bringing the US into the war.

The casualties and the economic power of the powers also should be looked at in determining how strong this army was.

13,500,000 men mobilized in two days in 1914 is not just impressive but almost impossible yet the kaiserreich military still managed it without a hitch. Armed properly and to the teeth with superior weaponry and superior supply lines. especially considering the military forces of the time per say the combatants at the beginning of the war, belgium was no match for the germans superior heavy guns and ludendorff's cunning plan, the french military wearing bright blue and relying on cavalry and melee charges and very 18th century technology, and finally the disastrous, utterly unprepared, disorganized, and incapable russian military.

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17 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1386-1795

Wiped out countless numbers of enemies with forces half the size

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

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.

Maybe not the most famous but surely the most decisive.

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18 Swedish Empire 1611-1721

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

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

Defeated by Russia. - darkraid1

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.

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19 First French Empire 1804-1814

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.

Nearly took all of Europe away

Best of all time

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20 Sikh Empire 1799-1849

Also known for being God's army.

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

The only Original secular empire in world history.

Sikhi is the best religion.

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21 Indian National Army 1942

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

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

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.

22 Prussian Army 1701-1918

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.


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.

Started out as a unpromising electorate with swamps, rivers and barren, sandy soil. Formed a powerful, disciplined force of soldiers that though outnumbered, defeated the once considered invincible Swedish army during the Scanian war. Elevated to the Kingdom in Prussia in 1701 by Frederick I and played a role in the war of the Spanish succession. Under Frederick William I 'the soldier king', the Prussian army again defeated the Swedes in the great northern war. Prussia was the 12th largest country in terms of population but with an army of 80,000 had the 4th largest army in all of Europe. Under Frederick II 'the great', Prussia took rich and prosperous Silesia from the Habsburgs during the war of the Austrian Succession. Then in 1756, was at war with its neighbours from all sides: France to the West, Austria and Saxony to the South, Russia to the East, and Sweden to the North with only Great Britain and a few German States to assist it in this Seven Years' War. Was outnumbered 2 to 1 ...more

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 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.

28 Russian Army 1991-today
29 Grande Armée 1804-1815

Because it was the most courage and dominant in europe continent

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 Belgian Army 1870

Belgian lives matter

32 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.

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


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 Spartans 900BC-192BC

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.

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

Spartans were bred for war and bathed in combat, they may have been a small army by most standards, but hell were they mighty

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

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41 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

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Top Remixes (4)

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

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