Top 10 Most Powerful Militaries of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Nazi Germany 1933-1945

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.

Despite losing a war against the entire world, this army won the glory. No doubt those fearless warriors, disciplined and stronger than any of their opponents were the biggest horror on the battlefields of Europe. The Eastern allies used to attack them only in proportions higher than 3:1 and the Western allies 2:1 despite the lack of aviation, war economy or manpower that Germany suffered at this time. Their tank aces, aviation aces, submarine aces and so on are light years above all their rivals. And do not forget about how this army is in the center of modern warfare. And every tactic or strategy that is used in our times has its roots back to the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS!

2 United States 1941-Present

Insanely powerful, the U.S. has it all. They have enough troops to hold down 5 countries at once, which is absolutely insane. While the Soviet Union/Russia had/has more troops, the U.S. is so advanced, that they could attack both china and russia and WIN! The U.S. is the most powerful army of all time, only the Roman's can hold their own as a significant power against the U.S.A.

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 carriers roaming the seas of the world. The military seen as the second most powerful today (Russia), has only one aircraft carrier. There truly no comparison to history's past military powers. The United States dominates the land, the sea, the air, and space, and will for a long time in the foreseeable future.

3 Mongol Empire 1206-1368

The existence of Mongolian iron cavalry is a myth! The only army in the history of the world that does not rely on logistical supplies! Temujin and his descendants, the golden family, have swept across Eurasia in decades of oppressive attacks against half of the earth mainland. They created many firsts, the empire with the largest territory, almost the entire Eurasian continent; the army with the largest number of kills, massacring 200 million people. Create a unique tactic that does not go to one place to slaughter the city once. They are a group of monsters that even the gods fear. They defeated armies with armies with their cavalry. They once said: As long as the arrows of the Mongols can shoot, it is the territory of the Mongols. Western countries are afraid of Mongolian cavalry and even too afraid of the Black Death.

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.

4 Empire of Japan 1905-1941

The Japanese navy was, at the beginning of WW2, arguably the largest navy in the world. Japan was able to take on a much larger nation, China, and simultaneously deal with the US. They were able to put up a fight with America for 4 years! Perhaps if the Allies chose an invasion of Japan instead of atomic bombings, Japan may have won the war. It would have been a sort of "Stalingrad of the East." Okinawa, a tiny island in Japan, saw fighting in WW2 and 49,000 US casualties. The Allies planned to launch a D-Day invasion on the island of Kyushu, 16 times larger than Okinawa. If the invasion went the way that Okinawa went, the US would have suffered 789,520 casualties. If that's not a powerful military, then I'm not sure what is.

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.

5 British Empire 1800-1939

In 1921, the British Empire seized the African colonies from Germany after the end of World War I, reaching the largest territorial scope, and it was the largest empire in history until the outbreak of World War II. At that time, the British Empire claimed sovereignty over parts of the Canadian Arctic Circle, the Australian interior and Antarctica.
Territories: British Isles, Africa from Egypt to South Africa, Nigeria, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Burma, Malaya (including the Straits Settlements, including Malacca, Penang and pre-independence Singapore) and British Borneo, Yemen , Oman, Iraq, Guyana, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Hong Kong.

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.

6 Ottoman Empire 1299-1808

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 had the strongest army in its time.

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.

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

7 Roman Empire 27BC-476AD The Roman Empire was a post-Republican period of ancient Rome that lasted from 27 BC to 476 AD. It was characterized by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia. The Roman legal system and Latin language have had a lasting impact on the Western world. At its height, the empire was one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military... read more

The Roman Legion was a regular army during the Roman Republic and Roman Empire, conquering the Mediterranean coast with its efficient adaptability and mobility. The Roman Legion before Marius' reform, and before the reform, Rome implemented compulsory military service, and all weapons and equipment were self-provided, so the arms were assessed according to the amount of property. Arms can be divided into: light infantry, youth soldiers, middle-aged soldiers, reserve soldiers, cavalry. Its strength makes the Mediterranean its inner lake. Later, from the city-state on the banks of the Tibilis River to the Byzantine Empire, the Roman Legion has always been the mainstay of the Roman Empire for 2,000 years.

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.

8 Soviet Union 1941-1991

In 1949, the Soviet Union took advantage of the victory of World War II to acquire territories from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Romania, Japan and other countries.
Territory: Kamchatka Peninsula in the east, Turkmenistan and the South Caucasus in the south, Ukraine and Belarus in the west, and the Arctic Ocean in the north.

The Soviet Army is probably third on the list for me, the only downfall about Soviet and more modern Russia is that their Navy was weak. This is surprising because of how powerful their Navy was during the 19th and 18th century. Apart from that the Soviet Union and modern Russia has had the biggest land army, the most nuclear missiles and a very good airforce (second only to the United States).

Crushed German and half of Axis military machines. This militarist country was ready to fight NATO in what could be the deadliest conflict in history and that lasted for almost half of century. Eventually lost in another type of World War - the Cold War.

9 Russian Empire 1721-1905
10 First French Empire 1804-1814

The Grande Armee rampaged across Europe unchallenged for an entire decade, until cold and typhus (rather than enemy armies) destroyed it in Russia. It was one of the most formidable fighting force ever assembled, with extremely experienced soldiers (some of whom had been fighting constantly for 20 years) and fearless generals who took part in the killing with their sword during cavalry charges. Between 1805 and 1815, Napoleon's Grande Armee a level of dominance over Europe that had not been witnessed since Ancient Rome.

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.

The Contenders
11 Spanish Empire 1492-1975

From 1763 to 1800, France ceded the French Louisiana west of the Mississippi River to Spain, until 1800 when the French Napoleon regime exchanged Tuscany, Italy for Spain for the part of French Louisiana west of the Mississippi River.
Territories: Spain, the Low Countries, the Two Sicilies, the American line from Louisiana to Argentina, the Philippines.

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. Its power is displayed by its 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 its defeat on Jul 29, 1588 along with a series of civil wars marked the decline of the Empire.

12 Spartans 900BC-192BC

The Spartan heavy infantry is a legend in the history of ancient warfare. It is the first fully professional army in history. Every Spartan is a natural warrior with tenacious will and strict discipline. Among them, the Spartan heavy infantry has always been a representative of strength and terror, and its excellent attack ability makes the Spartan warriors invincible. In the Boloponnesian Civil War, the blockade of 90,000 Spartan heavy infantry almost killed the Athens side at the beginning of the war, so that the Athenians could only stay in the city for several years. In the earlier Hippo War, Leonidas' 500 Spartan soldiers led 3,000 Greek allied forces to a fierce battle with the Persian 100,000 army. In the end, Persia barely won by relying on the guidance of the Greek traitors. One year later, in the decisive battle of Plataea, with The 30,000 Greek coalition forces with Spartan heavy infantry as the main force easily defeated the 80,000 main force of the Persian elite and completed the "glorious revenge".

13 Caliphates 632-1258

When your 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. Its 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 and the 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

14 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).

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

This shows how little peepz know about history.
Only 3 war mongering savages have ever conquered Persia.

15 Germany 1914-1918

This is the army that beat Russia while fighting a two front war. It took the three greatest militaries on earth; America, Britian, France, and a touch of the Spanish Flu, to stop them. Only the vast resources of America and Britian's overseas colonies were able to match the furious output of the Ruhr's factories and no country had anything to compete with Krupp Artillery. The common soldier was the best equipped, best trained, and most deadly of any soldier in Europe. The only reason the Nazi Empire was so deadly was the Prussian system it inherited from Bismark, Von Moltke and others.

Ww2 German Military is actually quite overrated, first is the fact that most of Nazi Germany's transportation relied on horse drawn vehicles. Second was the lack of equipment, many of the Nazis divisions were armed below the standards of the Imperial German army in 1918, when Germany was lacking many resources. Germany was forced to fight on a two front war against the other great powers of Europe, and almost won, only lost due to incompetent strategy, which is did have in the Franco-Prussian war. It defeated the Russian Empire and would have overrun the French Republic, and had a navy that could even rival the might of the British navy. It also had the best economy in 1914, which helped its army a lot, they also had a relatively good Air Force, and at one point had complete aerial superiority over the British and and French Empire. They could have, in fact, won the war if the US didn't get involved, without American imports that allies would have starved and without the American troops in 1917-1918 the war would have been a stalemate.

16 Kingdom of Macedonia 808-168 BC

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

Not only did Alexandar take over the world, but he also Hellenized it, changing the course of history for all time.

Entire countries surrendered then joined his army.

17 Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1386-1795

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.

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

Maybe not the most famous but surely the most decisive.

18 Swedish Empire 1611-1721

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 Carolean Army defeated armies twice their size or more on a regular basis... Carolus Rex (Charles XII) and Gustavus Adolphus were two of the more brilliant military tacticians of their time, if not all time.

A nation with a very small population DOMINATED almost the whole of balticum against enemies 10x their size.

19 Sikh Empire 1799-1849

Undefeated Army in Battle ground from 1799 until Maharaja Ranjit Singh died 1839 (King of Sikh empire), only cause of lost the empire in 1849 was betrayed corrupt politicians after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Still, Sikh Army fought without proper command for 10 years until the Sikh Empire merged into British Indian empire. Sikh Army fought 1st and 2nd world war under British. Now it is serving Indian forces as sikh regiment.

Sikhs are so strong but so forgiving. They fought over millions and millions even though there was so very few of them. They are super strong and will sacrifice so much. They will always help you and they will never give up, ever. They had to fight so much and were so strong withought even though they did not have enough food water or a big army there army only consisted of 100 and they still won they should be crowned BEST ARMY IN THE WORLD.

Best empire of the world. No discrimination on religion. A period of prosperity.

20 Prussia 1701-1918

The Franco-Prussian is possibly the single most lopsided war ever. The vaulted French force was steamrolled by the German war machine, cementing Prussia as one of the great powers and setting the stage for world history up until today

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.

21 Dai Viet Army 1228-1300

Impressive army that sent the Mongols running back to Mongolia.

The only country to defeat the Mongol empire.

22 Viet Cong 1954-1976

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.

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.

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?

23 Israel 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 India 1942

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.

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.

25 Grande Armée 1804-1815

Because it was the most courage and dominant in europe continent

The greatest ever

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