Even in our modern era of relative peace between nations, having one of the largest armies in the world is still of significant importance. This is why countries the world over still devote huge portions of their budget to the self-defense of their nations. By neglecting their defenses, they would be in a potentially catastrophic situation should something unforeseen occur, and their nation comes under attack by a foreign threat, threatening their very way of life.
Here we will talk about the ten largest armies in the world, those countries who take their defense very seriously, and don’t rely on the goodwill of a seemingly peaceful and civilized world to protect them. There is a lot of debate on the merits of national defense, especially in the U.S, where their national security budget dwarfs the entire budget of every other nation combined. As America loses its place as the number one economy in the world to China however, will their national defense follow suit? We shall see.
When you’re done reading about the largest armies in the world, be sure to check out our previous cover story on The 9 Largest Private Armies In The World. What Are They Fighting For?, providing insight into just what those massive armies guard against. And now, let’s get the countdown started with a country in the turbulent Africa/Middle East zone.
Army Man Power: 468,500
At number ten is Egypt, which also has one of the strongest armies in the Middle East and has Israel as one of their biggest rivals. It is also one of the strongest in Africa, and is the only Arab state with an investigation satellite.
Army Man Power: 523,000
The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the strongest in the world and consist of the IRIA, the IRGC, and the Police Force. Once it was feared as the Middle East’s most influential military by the chief of US Central Command, General John Abizaid and is still causing influence in the 21st century.
Army Man Power: 617,000
After gaining independence from the British Empire in 1947, the Pakistani armed forces were created. Since then they have taken part in two wars with their rival India, one of them in 1947 and the other one in 1965. They also had border battles with Afghanistan during that time.
No. 7: Turkey
Army Man Power: 664,060
The Turkish army can find its roots in the Ottoman Empire, though it was split up after its defeat in World War I. The army remained impartial until the ending months of World War II, joining the Allies that were on the cusp of victory. After that, the country then started a massive modernization program of its military after joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952.
No. 6: Republic of Korea
Army Man Power: 687,000
The Armed Forces of South Korea are very strong and thus able to accept difficult challenges. They consist of Army Ground Force, Navy, the Air Force, Strategic Rocket Forces and Special Operation Force. It is also rich in warfare resources, which includes 5,400 tanks, 2,580 armored fighting vehicles, 1,600 self-propelled guns, 3,500 towed artillery pieces, 1,600 rocket projectors, and other powerful weapons. South Korea is one of the few developed countries with a clear need for self-defense, given their tensions with North Korea.
No.5: Russian Federation
Army Man Power: 1,040,000
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Armed Forces of the Russian Federation was established. The Russians have developed their armed forces and managed the country well from different threats and militants. It is ranked fifth among the ten largest armies in the world and the president of Russia leads this great army.
No.4: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Army Man Power: 1,106,000
This army stands face to face against South Korea and the United States every single day. The army can find its roots in the late 1930s and during the time when Japan still occupied Korea. During that time, Korea was divided along the line of the 38th parallel and the northern part of the country had an armed force of around 2,500 men. These numbers grew during the time of the Cold War, as North Korea fought a war against the adjacent South.
Army Man Power: 1,325,000
The Indian army ranks third among the ten largest armies in the world with 1,325,000 military personnel. The president of India is the ultimate commander of Indian Armed Forces.
No.2: United States of America
Army Man Power: 1,429,995
The United States of America’s army earns the second spot. Known as the United States Armed Forces, they consist of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. Recently they forcefully attacked countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam, using their formidable power to their advantage, though they still feel unsafe from the threats from militants and terrorist organizations.
No.1: People’s Republic of China
Army Man Power: 2,285,000
China has the largest army in the world. China has 20% of the world’s population, so having such a large army is a necessity. Its constant fights with its neighbors due to conflicting territorial claims have given the country additional reason to maintain such a strong force. Military service is compulsory for Chinese men upon reaching the age of 18 years old, but joining has never been enforced because of the huge number of volunteers.