Today’s Top Ten Armies (Military Powers) in the World

This list of Top Ten Armies (Military Powers) in the world is subjective at best.  Unless you looked at specific aspects and judged based on that criteria alone, the list cannot be definitive.  One can look at a nation’s defense budget or the size of their enlisted members, or combine the two.  Another area for consideration is the amount of armor a nation has inventoried including tanks, helicopters, aircraft and ships.  This top ten took in a little of all of that, but it is still one perspective looking at the Armies around the world.  Input and educational pieces on other armies not listed here, or any additional information that may have been omitted, are welcomed.

Before listing the top ten, one country fell just short of making the list, but certainly deserves to be mentioned – North Korea.  They not only have one of the largest Special Forces in the world – 120,000 members – they have a very large inventory of armor.

10.  Pakistan

Pakistan is known for their good upper leadership.  Founded in 1947, their three branches of service totals more than 600,000 people – all volunteers.  They have close Pakistan Aircraftties to the militaries of the US and China.  Pakistan’s budget of over $5 billion is smaller than all the other top ten militaries, but it does exceed the overall defense budget of a number of other countries around the world.  While Pakistan has about the same number of naval craft as the United Kingdom (see below), they have more aircraft and helicopters and an incredible total of 9,000 tanks and armored vehicles.  They have assisted the United States in their War on Terrorism by fighting the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and along their own borders.

9.  United Kingdom  

British Forces include three branches of service, – the navy, the army and the air force. Below are some figures for the United Kingdom – the figures presented could vary slightly:

  • British HelicopterActive Military (including army, navy and air force) – 197,700
  • Reserve – 212,000
  • Paramilitary – 152,000
  • Aircraft and Helicopters – 1,800
  • Tanks and Armored Vehicles – 5,500

Despite having one of the smallest numbers of active military, the militaries of the United Kingdom are a sustainable force and their SAS is among the world’s top Special Forces.  Britain is a steadfast ally of the U.S.

8.  Iran

Iran militaryIran has one of the best small forces in the world.  Half of this countries government’s income goes towards defense.  Their modern day military was first founded in 1923 and currently boasts over 500,000 active members.  In addition, its defense budget of $10 billion has allowed more aircraft than the US and UK combined and almost the same amount of aircraft and helicopters as China, a country with a much larger force and budget.

7.  Turkey

Turkey militaryTurkey’s Army dates back over 2,000 years.  Their modern day militaries were not established though until 1920.  Turkey has over 600,000 members in its military forces and its budget is close to $19 billion.  This country comes in fourth for the total number of tanks and armored vehicles – 11,000 plus.  All Turkish males – once they reach 20 years of age – are required to serve in the military.  There are very few exceptions to this requirement.

6.  Germany 

Germany's Leopard IIMuch of Germany’s notable military history began with the rise of Hitler.  They were responsible for the start of WWII when they invaded Poland.  When the war was over, the country divided and the West German Army was formed.  It wasn’t until the 1990s the country reunited.  Currently, Germany has more than 200,000 active military members who are well-trained and well-equipped.  Germany boasts of one of the best tanks in the world – the Leopard II.

5.  France

France's MilitaryFrance’s military does not have the reputation as a super power, but its numbers would say differently.  Their military totals over 360,000 members spread throughout their navy, air force and paramilitary branches.  All three branches are very well rounded, but many feel their navy is bar far their strongest branch.  France’s defense budget comes in just over $58 billion.  Despite this impressive budget, it still has the smallest number of aircraft and helicopters than any other country on this list.

4.  India

India has a more advanced Air Force and very-well trained Special Forces.  They have four branches of military and also additional paramilitary units.  Their active military India's militaryhas more than 1.3 million members.  India has an additional 2.1 million in reserves and their paramilitary has 1.3 million members.  In all, India has more than 4.7 million total members.

Despite their large number of service members, India’s aircraft and helicopter and tank and armored vehicle totals put them only in the center of the list of countries listed here and they do have the smallest naval craft fleet.  Some estimates of nuclear warheads in India’s possession go as high as 80.


3.  Russia

This former superpower still has a large amount of equipment in its military inventory.  They have well over 1.2 million active military members and an additional 750,000 in Russian Militarythe reserve.  Their paramilitary total comes in at around 5,000.  The total military budget for Russia is in excess of $64 billion.  Only two countries have a higher military budget than Russia – the United States and China.

The current known Russian force was first founded in 1992, but Russia’s military history dates back to as early as 863.  Between the ages of 18 and 27, all male Russians are drafted into the country’s service for a period of 12 months.  A few exceptions, such as being a student or the parent of two or more children, serve as exemptions to this otherwise steadfast rule.

Russia is known to have the largest number of nuclear warheads on hand, but most of them are not active.

2.  China

Founded in 1927, the People’s Liberation Army of China has more than 2.3 million China's militaryactive service members in its military making it the largest active force in the world. With a reserve of 800,00 and a paramilitary of 1.5 million, in all, China has more than 4.5 million military members.   China’s defense budget of $129 billion is continually increasing each year by an average of 12 to 15%.  This total makes it the second largest defense budget in the world – second only to the United States.  China is believed to house as many as 240 nuclear warheads.

1.  United States

The US military has history dating back to 1775 when it first formed forces (Continental Army) to fight in the Revolutionary War.  The US Army has been involved in every major world war as well as the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War and the Global War on Terrorism.

United States militaryThe defense budget for the United States is more than the combined totals of the previous nine countries coming in at over $689 billion.  The US has just over 1.4 million active military members, another 1.4 million reserve members and 11,000 in its paramilitary.  The US ranks second behind Russia in the total number of warheads, but it does have the largest number of active warheads.  The United States leads in the overall aircraft and helicopters – 21,000 – but is just barely ahead of China with its total of tanks and armored vehicles.  The United States also has an impressive 12 aircraft carriers in its fleet.

This list of today’s top ten armies (military powers) in the world, certainly sheds light on the overall power of these nations given their impressive numbers in members, equipment and budget.

Five Top Tank Commanders of WW II

The five top tank commanders of World War II are not listed necessarily because of their number of kills.  They are instead remembered for a number of different reasons.  The top five commander list is presented in alphabetical order along with a brief description of their noted accomplishment(s).

Step close and get a sense of the strength of the cold metal on AFHMs authentic, fully restored, fully operational battle tanks, which are prominently displayed throughout the museum.  Get a sense of the combat they endured throughout their service.  Take a moment, put yourself in the turret – feel the power, feel the fear, feel the pride.

Lt. Colonel Creighton Abrams – Top WWII Tank Commander for the United States – Using M4 Sherman tanks, Abrams and his crew are credited with destroying an estimated 50 German armed fighting vehicles.  Abrams military career continued on through the Korean War and Vietnam War.  The XM1 – a US Army main battle tank was named the M1 Abrams in honor of Creighton Abrams.  Abrams reached the rank of Four Star General before retiring in 1974.

General Heinz GuderianGeneral Heinz Guderian – Germany’s father of armored blitzkrieg – Guderian is known for heavily utilizing the blitzkrieg strategy during World War II, a strategy which greatly assisted with Germany’s successful invasion of Poland in 1939.


Sgt. Kurt Knispel – Germany’s WWII Top Tank Ace – Not only was Sgt. Knispel Germany’s top tank ace, he is credited with being the top tank ace in history.  He began as a tank loader and eventually became a gunner and then a commander.  His official kill record stands at 168.   His most remarkable kill was a hit he made on a T-34 tank almost two miles away.

Major General Stanislaw MaczekMajor General Stanislaw Maczek – Superior Polish armed forces field commander – Maczek led armored units in World War II from its onset in 1939 until it ended in 1945.  He played several key roles in the war, including the capturing of Wilhelmshaven in May, 1945.


Captain Michael Wittmann – Led Germany’s most lethal tank attack of WWII – Captain Wittmann’s kill record includes 138 tanks, 132 antitank guns and a countless number of vehicles.  He is most famous for an attack in June of 1944, when he devastated as many as 14 tanks, 2 antitank guns and 15 additional vehicles a 15 minute time frame.

World War II saw the rise of many great commanders in all areas of the war.  With continual advancements in tank designs, tank commanders were constantly challenged, but many, such as these five top WWII tank commanders listed above, rose to the occasion and left an indelible mark on history.

WWII’s Top Ten Aircraft

A number of variants can be used when determining the top ten aircraft from WWII.  While it would be difficult to get a general consensus of an absolute single list, below are ten that certainly are worthy of their place in the World War II history books.  The list is presented in alphabetical order.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress –

An authentic Norden bombsight is on display at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL –

The B-17 Flying Fortress is a well-known aircraft from WWII is best remembered for the strategic bombing missions over Germany focusing on industrial and military targets.  The Norden bombsight (which was top secret during World War II) was used on these missions to ensure accurate hits of the intended targets.  The B-17 could fly higher than any other aircraft of its time and, even though it was a bomber, the plane was equipped to properly defend itself.  The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress dropped more bombs than any other aircraft during WWII.  It dropped more bombs over Germany than all other bombers combined.

Focke-Wulf Fw-190 – This single-engine German aircraft from WWII is referred to as one of the top fighters of all times.  The Fw-190 made a significant impact in the skies over Europe and was feared by many of its counterparts.  The versatility of the aircraft allowed the German Air Force Luftwaffe to use it as a fighter, fighter-bomber and as an anti-tank aircraft.

 Ilyushin-2 Shturmovik – This WWII Russian aircraft is known for its incredible record in destroying enemy tanks, which earned its reputation as  the #1 anti-tank aircraft in the world.  The Ilyushin-2 Shturmovik also maintains the record as the highest manufactured aircraft design in aviation history.  Stalin considered this aircraft crucial to the Soviet military.


Junkers 87 Stuka – This two-seater aircraft, flown by the Luftwaffe, was known for both its dive bombing capabilities and its successful anti-tank capabilities.  One Luftwaffe ace alone destroyed well over 500 Russian tanks with the Stuka.   The downside of the Stuka was its lack of maneuverability and defensive armament; as a result, it required a heavy escort of fighters to successfully complete its missions.

Messerschmitt Bf-109 – The Bf-109 is often described as one of the greatest fighter aircrafts in aviation history.  The earlier developed Bf-109 was developed as an interceptor and would eventually be modified to be used as a bomber escort, a ground-attack aircraft and a reconnaissance aircraft. This distinguished aircraft, flown by the German Luftwaffe, served on all European fronts of World War II and was considered their single, most important aircraft fighter.

Messerschmitt 262 – Though this aircraft did not receive flight status until late in the war, its design actually began before WWII.  The Messerschmitt 262 was introduced in April of 1944 and was considered an advanced aircraft by WWII standards.  However, its overall impact on the war itself was minimal.  The design of the Messerschmitt 262 was used by German scientists in future prototypes, which were being created at that time with speeds up to Mach-1.  Because of its late introduction into the war, few of the original aircraft were manufactured.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero – Though originally perceived by the Americans as an inferior fighter, the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero proved itself a worthy match.  The Zero became a dominant fighter aircraft during the first two years of the Pacific theater and was known for its maneuverability and long range.  Along with its firepower, the A6M remained unmatched until the American carrier-based fighter F6F Hellcat came into service.  The A6M retains its title as one of the most agile aircraft ever manufactured.

North American P-51 Mustang – The USA’s P-51 Mustang, a long-range fighter and fighter-bomber, was introduced in 1942.  The aircraft was used throughout World War II, and pilots of the P-51 Mustang are said to have shot down over 4,900 enemy aircraft.  The performance of this aircraft is responsible for regaining air superiority, which up until the P-51, was believed to have been dominated by the Luftwaffe.  Many consider this P-52 Mustang the top fighter of World War II.

Supermarine Spitfire – A historical combat aircraft, the WWII British Supermarine Spitfire was a fighter aircraft which served in all combat theaters of WWII.  Used by the RAF (Royal Air Force) and other Allied countries, the Spitfire was the only fighter aircraft Britain produced throughout the war.  This single-seat aircraft saw action in the European, Pacific and other theaters of WWII and was known for its high victory to loss ratio.  Many consider this WWII Supermarine Spitfire one of the greatest fighters of all time.


Vought F4U Corsair – The F4U Corsair was known for its air supremacy during WWII in the Pacific theater.  Used as both a carrier fighter and a ground attack aircraft, the F4U outclassed the Japanese Zero.  Japanese pilots actually considered the Corsair to be one of the most formidable American fighters of WWII.  Due to its high speed capabilities and its maneuverability, this spectacular aircraft continued in service into the Korean War serving mainly as a fighter-bomber.

With the number of WWII aircraft and variations produced throughout this time period, the top ten aircraft of WWII is most probably best viewed through the eyes of the reader.  Aircraft should be judged based on their classification, kill ratio, total production, longest operating and other categories within aircraft statistics.  Any one – or combination – of the above aircraft on this list would certainly be a part of any other list compiled of top ten aircraft from World War II.

Top Weapons of the Vietnam War

With the advancements in military warfare, the top weapons of the Vietnam War take on a very different look than those used just a few years prior in the Korean War. Helicopters were widely utilized and tanks were not practical. The Vietnam People’s Army (North Vietnamese Army) fought a more conventional war, sometimes sending large units into battle. The U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied more on their air superiority and tremendous firepower when operating their search and destroy missions, which involved ground forces, artillery and airstrikes.

List of Top Weapons

This list of top weapons of the Vietnam War will focus specifically on infantry weapons. They are listed in no particular order.

M16 Assault Rifle – More specifically, the M-16A1 – 5.56mm – was one of the most distinguishable hand held weapons of the Vietnam War. The reliability of this rifle is reflective in its continued use by US forces today.

CAR15 – This 5.56mm telescopic assault rifle was used in Vietnam, but primarily by US Special Forces.

M14 Rifle – This 7.62mm rifle was briefly used during the Vietnam War, but was eventually phased out with the introduction of the M16.

Colt 45 1911 – This 45 cal pistol continued to see service through Vietnam, but was mainly issued to the Officers and/or those enrolled in special forces.

M-60 Light Machine Gun – This 7.62mm gun was often mounted on armored vehicles and helicopters and used by troops for infantry support.

AK-47 Assault Rifle – A 7.62mm weapon, the AK-47 was produced during the 1950s by the Russians. It was considered more durable than the M16, but not as accurate. The AK-47 is still in production today.


The list of infantry weapons in Vietnam could go on and on.  Rocket launchers, grenade launchers and even anti-tank weapons were widely used by the infantry. Other types of machine guns, pistols and rifles were also used. The above list could be disputed, but is, no doubt, reflective of some of the top weapons of the Vietnam War.


MASH Field Hospital Diorama at AFHM

In this section of the Armed Forces History Museum, you will discover a recreated US Army MASH field hospital.  The diorama is a fully equipped surgical operating tent manned by a surgeon appropriately dressed holding original medical instruments.  Another unique addition to this display is an M21 ambulance which has been fully restored and – as every other piece is in the museum – is fully operational.  In the back of the ambulance lie three wounded soldiers waiting to be treated.  Note, these soldiers are fully equipped and presented as they would have been when they left the battlefield for transport to the aid station.  In addition, this diorama houses a large display case featuring an assortment of authentic instruments, bandages and other field gear.

A Brief Look at the MASH Units in the Korean War

First established in 1945 by Dr. Michael Debakey, these mobile units were fully self-contained, working medical hospitals.  The first deployment of a MASH unit occurred during the Korean War.  The use of the MASH units allowed experienced medical personnel to remain closer to the front, which would minimize transport time of the wounded.   Soldiers were trained to administer on site whatever first aid they could and then they soldier(s) would be sent to a battalion aid station to assist with stabilizing the soldier before transporting to the MASH Medical Unit for more extensive treatment.  This greatly increased the wounded soldiers chances for survival – some estimates say as high as 97% – once treatment was received at a MASH unit.

MASH units continued to operate into the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  By 1997 though, the final MASH unit in South Korea was disbanded and worldwide, the last deactivation of a MASH unit occurred in Febraury, 2006.  Just prior to the deactivation, the unit was sent to Pakistan to assist with the relief operations after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.  While here, the US State Department purchased all the tents and medical supplies of this MASH unit and donated the entire unit to the Pakistani military.  The donation was estimated at a value over $4.5 million.

WW II King Tiger Tank

One of the most feared weapons of World War II, the King Tiger Tank (also known as Tiger Tank II) donned an almost impenetrable front armor.  Produced by Henschel, the King Tiger was introduced into action on the Eastern Front in May of 1944.  This tank design housed a crew of five.  The main gun specification of the King Tiger was to be a variation of the 88mm anti-aircraft gun, capable of destroying enemy tanks from a great distance.  The velocity of this gun was about 1000m a second when firing an amour piercing round.   The gun’s accuracy allowed it to pierce 150mm of metal armor even if the tank’s position was more than 2 kilometers away from the intended target.  The shell’s ability to travel at about 2200m in an estimated 2.2 seconds (and sometimes even faster) meant this tank had the capability to destroy enemy tanks from a distance, keeping the Tiger out of enemy range.

The King Tiger Tank was not without its problems. Underpowered like many of the World War II heavy tanks, the engines consumed a lot of fuel at a time when it was in short supply for the Germans. The shortage was a direct result of the allies’ bombing the German fuel tanks. The fuel consumption problem was exacerbated at the Battle of the Bulge. Here, the Tigers first appeared to do quite well, but subsequently, they literally ran out of fuel. Soldiers were forced to abandon their tanks and walk back to their lines.

In addition, despite an order to manufacture 1500 King Tiger Tanks, production was greatly hindered due to the allies’ bombing of the factories. Other problems encountered by the Tiger series included their track system, leaking seals and gaskets, and the overburdened drivetrain initially developed for a lighter vehicle. The double radius steering gear was also known for being prone to failure.

By the end of World War II, tanks were finally being developed that, at long last, surpassed the Tiger. Today, the only operable example of the infamous King Tiger from WWII (including the production turret) is on display in the Musée des Blindés, Saumur, France and is accessible to the public.

The Hello Girls of World War I

The story of the World War I Hello Girls will not be found in history books.  It is not because they were not useful, or not dedicated.  In fact, they were quite the opposite.  The Hello Girls in WWI actually made a significant contribution to the war.

Hello Girls

WWI “Hello Girls” at the swtichboard

Their story began in the latter part of 1917.  At that time, General Pershing was seeking telephone-switchboard operators who were bilingual.  His appeal was published in newspapers across the US entitled ‘Emergency Appeal’.  He asked that any women switchboard operators with Bell Telephone be sworn in to the US Army Signal Corps.  Pershing felt women had more patience and perseverance when it came to doing long, grueling detailed work.  Pershing also discovered that it was difficult for the men to operate switchboard equipment.  He felt they were better suited in the field laying wire for the much needed communication between the trenches to the A.E.F. General Headquarters in the Chaumont.  This connection between the two was the first in warfare history.

Once the women were sworn in, they were subject to the same regulations as the men, which included being Court Martial, and the ten basic rules which were intended to assure moral character.  In general, those selected could be married – as long as it was not to someone overseas – and it was expected they be at least 25 years old.

Among the first 700 volunteers, a few spoke French.  Therefore, when the first 300 were chosen, the age requirement and switchboard training requirement was waived.  This waiver included two sisters, Louise (age 18) and Ramonde LeBreton (age 20).  They had moved to the United States (from France) when their mother (who was widowed) married an American.

The Story of Oleda Joure


Oleda Joure

Another young lady accepted was 19 year old Oleda Joure.  Oleda was an American of French-Canadian origin.  When she was only 16, she was trained by Bell Telephone to instruct other women to work the switchboards.

Oleda was also a pianist.  She would play for dance bands and became very familiar with the popular songs of World War I.  She once entertained the troops in Southampton, England when she was quarantined for two weeks as a result of the Spanish Influenza pandemic.  An official with the Red Cross asked her to tour camps and hospitals and entertain the troops.  She was unable to accept this position as she was ‘under orders’ for the duration of the war.

Oleda was assigned to Pershing’s American Expeditionary Force Headquarters in Chaumont, France.  She continued to serve for an additional year (after the signing of the Armistice) to assist with operating the telephones so arrangements could be made for the troops to return home.

Once Oleda was finally able to return to civilian life, she picked up right where she left off – as a training supervisor and as a pianist with dance bands.  In 1933, she married Athanasius Christides.  In the 1950s, he was sent to Paris as US Treasury Representative to the new Common Market and Interpol for duration of eight years.  Oleda’s ties with France were not only renewed during this time.  When she and Chris visited cafes in St. Germain des Pres, the people would often request she play the World War I songs that had lifted and united the spirits of the Allie troops so long ago.

The Hello Girls Return Home

When the Hello Girls returned to the US, they applied for their honorable discharges.  However, they were informed their requests could not be granted since US Army regulations stated that only “males” could be sworn in.  They were, therefore, not considered veterans.

Merle Egan-Anderson sits at the supervisor's desk.

Merle Egan-Anderson sits at the supervisor’s desk.

Beginning in 1930, Merle Egan-Anderson from Helena, MT led the ‘Hello Girls’ and together, they introduced various bills in Congress.  Up to that point, Congress had only awarded ten Citations for Bravery to ten women who were switchboard operators behind the front lines during the battle of St. Mihiel.  Their building had caught fire and the operators were ordered to evacuate.  The ‘Hello Girls’ felt the order was given because they were females so they chose to continue to stay and continue to operate the switchboards despite the fire.  Finally, the fire became so intense that GHQ threated the women with Court Martial if they did not abandon their posts.  An hour after the fire was extinguished, they returned to their switchboards.

In 1976, a lawyer by the name of Mark Hough, offered his services (at no cost) to Anderson.  Anderson’s daughter began researching the historical information available on the ‘Hello Girls’ and their contribution to the victory.  This brought about the much needed support from a number of Congresspeople and the bill was introduced and they finally received their recognition on the 60th anniversary of the Armistice officially making the Hello Girls of World War I the first women veterans of the US Army.

The Modern M1911A1

The roots to the modern M1911 A1 can be traced all the way back to the original World War II 1911 pistol, which has been active within the US military since its inception over a decade ago.  The M1911A1 is a single action, .45cal pistol, which does not require manual cocking for each shot fired.  Some feel the single action is an overall drawback for this weapon, but the smooth trigger pull actually allows for greater accuracy than those that are designed with double-action.

Step back in time as you step into the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Here, reality awakens within, as you marvel at the weapons and feel the power housed throughout this extensive gallery.  Authentic weapons – including a 1911 pistol – from around the world dating throughout history can be witnessed in this astonishing collection.  The oldest piece on display is a very rare bayonet from the Revolutionary War.

Present-Day Production

Today, a number of different manufacturers still produce the M1911A1, including Colt, Remington, Kimber, Springfield Armory, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson and a few others.  Each manufacturer has specific options available, and a few, in addition to the full-size model, produce a Commander and Compact version.

The overall line of 1911 pistols is considered to be one of – if not – the greatest pistol in history.  Some of the WWII 1911s are still around today and known to be fully functional and some have been noted to have fired more than one million rounds and still remain viable.

 Design and Use

The M1911 was the design vision of the infamous John Moses Browning, a well-known gunsmith of the early 20th Century.  His original 1911 design was influential in the development of the several other pistols, including the Heckler & Koch, HK-USP.

Some branches of the US military – including the USMC Special Operations Command – continue to use the M1911A1 as well as several law enforcement agencies both in the US and abroad.  This pistol also remains popular with the general public as a personal defense weapon and also for recreational purposes.  The single-stack magazine keeps the M1911A1 slim, making it easy to conceal.

The Modern M1911A1 pistols continue to be a popular choice, more than 100 years after its initial production, due in part to its simple, reliable design and the patriotic spirit it represents.

Five Parts of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is divided up into five parts:

  • Introduction
  • Preamble
  • Body – Section 1
  • Body – Section 2
  • Conclusion

Introduction – In the introduction of the Declaration of Independence, declares the reasons the American colonies wish to leave the British Empire.  It is further noted that their independence is not only necessary, but unavoidable.

Preamble – The preamble to the Declaration of Independence lists principles that were already known as being “self-evident” by the majority of Englishmen of the 18th Century.  It continues to state that when such a situation arises in government (as that being experienced by the British governing of the 13 colonies), it is not only their desire, but it is their right and their duty to throw off such a Government and to provide the foundation for a new government to ensure their future security.

Body – Section 1 – In this part of the Declaration of Independence, the grievances against England and King George III are listed.

 Body – Section 2 – Section two of the body of the Declaration of Independence clearly states that the colonist’s efforts to appeal some of the decisions of King George III were met in vain.

Conclusion – The conclusion of the Declaration of Independence notes that having listed the grievances, under which British North American lived, they – the United Colonies – were declaring their right to be free and independent from any and all allegiance to the British Crown.  It further stated that any political connection between the two is to be dissolved.


A great amount of courage and strength was exhibited by each member of the Continental Congress in adaptingand signing this historical document.   The thought that went into writing and editing each of the five parts of the Declaration of Independence exhibited the pride of the newly established colonies and their desire to be free.



World War II was a global conflict involving most of the worlds’ nations and over 100 million military personnel worldwide.  The war, divided into the Allies and the Axis, is known as the deadliest conflict in the history of the human race.  The war began on September 1, 1939 when Germany and Slovakia attacked Poland.  By September 3rd, France, Britain and other countries from the commonwealth openly declared war on Germany.  For the next six years a war like no other, involving all the major powers of the world, would ensue throughout various theaters.

The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL features several dioramas relating to WWII.  These WWII dioramas feature tanks, halftracks, vehicles and an extensive collection of WWII memorabilia.  Audio also accompanies various displays within the dioramas.  The Pearl Harbor diorama features original film footage from the WWII attack.  Click on the link below for more information on these and other dioramas and displays featured at the museum.

AFHM Interactive Museum Map

The United States Enters WWII

The United States became involved in WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The bombing was in retaliation for the United States refusing to trade items Japan desperately needed to assist them in their war with China.  The attack at Pearl Harbor claimed over 2,000 lives.  A total of eight battleships were either damaged or destroyed severely impacting the Pacific Fleet.   It was the only battle that took place on American soil.  The United States entered the war and began fighting on two fronts – Europe and the Pacific.

In addition to the bombing at Pearl Harbor, several other encounters throughout the war would more than earn their place in the history books.  The Battle of the Bulge, Battle of Normandy and the Battle of Iwo Jima are just a few of the historical conflicts that remain at the forefront of WWII battles.

America’s Home Front 

WWII vintage posterYoung men in the United States signed up by the thousands for military duty.  Patriotism was at an all-time high.  The war was in the fore front of everyone’s mind.  All citizens became involved in the war at some level.  Military themed posters were distributed throughout the United States encouraging the conservation of the resources needed by the military to fight a successful war.  Rubber, oil, gasoline, coffee and many other day-to-day items were being curtailed and food was being rationed.  Automobile production ceased beginning in February of 1943 in order to use the manufacturing plants to produce items needed for the war.  Women entered the work force to assist with making these much needed items.


Battleships, Tanks and Aircraft

The United States and several other countries had several fleets of battleships involved in the various theaters of the war.  Battleships proved to be a dominant force throughout the World War II.  However, by the end of the war the advancement of the aircraft carrier with offensive weapons and air guided missiles, the construction of battleships had all but come to an end.

A huge demand for aircraft existed during WWII.  Countries continued massive production runs and were constantly evaluating performance and safety with practicality and firepower making adjustments to meet and exceed the air power of the enemy.  Several aircraft rightfully earned their place as being synonymous with WWII.  The B17 Flying Fortress, the P51 Mustang, the P40 Warhawk and the British Spitfire just to name a few.  Advancements made throughout this time period were staggering and set the pace for future prototypes and continued advancement in military aircraft.

Tanks and military vehicles played a large role in World War II.  Variations of both continued to roll off the assembly line due to the continual changes required in design to meet the ever changing demands of the opponent.  Tanks were initially used as a means of infantry support but by the end of the war, tanks had become the dominant force on the battlefield.

Step close and get a sense of the strength of the cold metal on AFHMs authentic, fully restored, fully operational battle tanks, which are prominently displayed throughout the museum.  Get a sense of the combat they endured throughout their service.  Take a moment, put yourself in the turret – feel the power, feel the fear, feel the pride. 

WWII M16 HalftrackMilitary vehicles were used throughout the war for transporting troops, carrying infantry, artillery and anti-aircraft weaponry.  Halftracks were popular due to their versatility.  They were equipped with regular wheels on the front of the vehicle, which allowed for easier steering, but the back of the halftrack had caterpillar tracks.  These would help with propelling the vehicle merging the benefits of the cross-country abilities of the tank with the easier handling of a wheeled vehicle.



World War II holds a tremendous amount of history in the advancement of military weapons and tactics.  These advancements were spawned through necessity, but even the simpler aspects of WWII hold a tremendous amount of respect.  Trench art continued to be a favorite past time of the men in World War II and the once hand dittoed dog tags were now being produced by machine.   World War II, along with its many memories and memorabilia, was a time like no other – before or since.

To this day, World War II memorabilia continues to be highly sought after by collectors of all levels.  The uniqueness and rarity of the item is only super seceded by the amount of respect and patriotism that penetrated the hearts and souls of all Americans during World War II.