The military of the United States is arguably one of the best-armed forces in the world. The US spends the most money on the military compared with every other country in the world, and this results in a highly sophisticated military. The military was not like this at the beginning of US history though. It has grown and developed as the US has grown and developed. There are some key moments in military history that have helped define the military as it is today.
The American Civil War redefined how Americans perceived war and what a military should be. At the beginning of the war, the military was small and designed to stop Indian assaults. The Union army was further limited as the southern states left to form the Confederacy. In the Union, the volunteer army eventually grew larger than the regular army, leading to many Union losses. When the Union finally won battles at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the tide of the war turned, and the Union was able to secure the win. Sadly, the Civil War is among the bloodiest wars in the United State’s history.
World War I brought along a transition period into how wars are fought, and the US army grew into the millions. Shortly after joining, US forces were vital in breaking German lines and winning the war. World War II was also brought to a close once the US army stepped in to liberate Europe and stop Japan. Together, these two wars firmly established the United States Army and government as a global superpower, allowing the US to establish itself throughout the world.
The Vietnam War is seen as the worst mark in the army’s history. The public despised the war, the use of drafting rather than army reserves, and the restrictions enforced by politicians served to bring the authority of the US into question. In recent years, the US army has become deeply involved with conflicts in the Middle East that bring varying amounts of support and dissent from the public. Technology in the army is at an all-time high, but more focus is being placed on the mental health of army personnel, which will likely yield more changes to the US military.
The US military has grown from an infancy of relative weakness into an adulthood of tremendous strength. History has brought about both wins and losses, all of which serve to inform the military as it stands today. The future is sure to bring more changes that will continue to improve upon the military.