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A Canadian WWI recruiting poster
The military history of Canada entails millennia of armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Canada, and the role of the Canadian military in conflicts and peacekeeping worldwide. For at least 10,000 years, the area that would become Canada was the site of intertribal wars among First Nation groups. Beginning in the 16th century, the arrival of Europeans led to conflicts with the Natives and among the colonizing Europeans in the New World. Starting in the 17th century, the region was the site of fighting between the French and the British for more than a century. New challenges soon arose when the northern colonies chose not to join the American Revolution and remained loyal to the British crown. Americans looked to extend their republic and launched an invasion in 1812. After Canada's independence, and amid much controversy, a fully-fledged Canadian military was created. Canada's links to Britain remained strong, and Canadian forces joined their British counterparts in the Boer War, the First and Second World Wars. Since the Second World War, Canada has been committed to multilateralism and has gone to war only within large multinational coalitions such as in the Korean War, the Gulf War, and the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.



Bust of Alcibiades

Alcibiades was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. The last famous member of an aristocratic family that fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War, he played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his allegiance on several occasions. In his native Athens in the early 410s BC, he advocated for an aggressive foreign policy, and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition, but fled to Sparta after his political enemies brought charges of sacrilege against him. In the years that he served Sparta, Alcibiades played a crucial role in Athens' undoing; the capture of Decelea and the revolts of several critical Athenian subjects occurred either at his suggestion or under his supervision. Once restored to his native city, however, he played a crucial role in a string of Athenian victories that eventually brought Sparta to seek a peace with Athens. He favored unconventional tactics, frequently winning cities over by treachery or negotiation rather than by siege. Alcibiades' military and political talents frequently proved valuable to whichever state currently held his allegiance, but his capacity for making powerful enemies ensured that he never remained in one place for long, and, by the end of the war that he had helped rekindle in the early 410s, his days of political relevance were a bygone memory.



The mummified head of Egyptian pharoah King Ahmose I

Ahmose I (mummified head pictured) was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty. He was a member of the Theban royal house, the son of King Tao II Seqenenre, and brother of the last King of the Seventeenth dynasty, King Kamose. Ahmose I assumed the throne after the death of his brother. During his reign he completed the conquest and expulsion of the Hyksos from the delta region, restored Theban rule over the whole of Egypt, and successfully reasserted Egyptian power in its formerly subject territories of Nubia and Canaan. He then reorganized the administration of the country, reopened quarries, mines, and trade routes, and began massive construction projects of a type that had not been undertaken since the time of the Middle Kingdom. This building program culminated in the construction of the last pyramid built by native Egyptian rulers. Ahmose's reign laid the foundations for the New Kingdom, under which Egyptian power reached its peak. His reign is usually dated to about 1550-1525 BC.



The 1453 Siege of Constantinople
A siege is a prolonged military assault on and blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by force or attrition. A siege occurs when an attacker encounters a city or fortress that refuses to surrender and cannot be easily taken by a frontal assault. Sieges usually involve surrounding the target and blocking the provision of supplies, typically coupled with artillery bombardment, sapping and mining to reduce fortifications. Sieges are as old as warfare itself, with towns in the Middle East from the dawn of civilization having city walls. However, with the advent of mobile warfare, one single fortified stronghold is no longer as decisive as it once was.



Women displayed by LRA fighting line up to draw water from a borehole
The Lord's Resistance Army is a rebel paramilitary group operating in northern Uganda, and as of February 2005 is engaged in an armed conflict against the Ugandan government. It is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself a spirit medium and apparently wishes to establish a state based on his unique interpretation of Biblical millenarianism. The rebels have been accused of many atrocities in the area. It is estimated that around 20,000 children have been kidnapped by the group since 1987 for use as soldiers and sex slaves. LRA practices such as mutilation, enforced prostitution and enlisting children under the age of 15 into armed groups are war crimes. The group abducts its members primarily from the Acholi people, but it lacks widespread support among the Acholis, who have been the victims of many of its tactics. The insurgency has been mainly contained to the region known as Acholiland, consisting of the districts of Kitgum, Gulu, and Pader, though since 2002 violence has overflowed into other districts, including Lira, Apac and Adjumani.



Chemical warfare is warfare using the toxic properties of chemical substances to kill, injure or incapacitate the enemy. Chemical warfare is distinct from the use of conventional weapons or nuclear weapons because the destructive effects of chemical weapons are not primarily due to any explosive force. The offensive use of living organisms or their toxic products (such as anthrax or botulin toxin) is not considered chemical warfare: their use is instead labelled biological warfare. Chemical weapons are classified as weapons of mass destruction by the United Nations, and their production and stockpiling was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.



Robert Baden-Powell

Robert Baden-Powell was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement. After having been educated at Charterhouse School, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the city in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Pearson, for youth readership. During writing, he tested his ideas through a camping trip on Brownsea Island that began on August 1, 1907, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. After his marriage with Olave St Clair Soames, Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes Baden-Powell and notably his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting Movement and the Girl Guides Movement. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died in 1941.



Franco-Venetian alliance decisively defeated the Holy League at the Battle of Marignano
The War of the League of Cambrai was a major conflict in the Italian Wars, occurring from 1508 to 1516. The principal participants of the war were France, the Papal States, and the Republic of Venice. Pope Julius II had intended that the war would curb Venetian influence in northern Italy, and had, to this end, created the League of Cambrai (named after Cambrai, where the negotiations took place), an alliance against the Republic that included, besides himself, Louis XII of France, Emperor Maximilian I, and Ferdinand I of Spain. Although the League was initially successful, friction between Julius and Louis caused it to collapse by 1510; Julius then allied himself with Venice against France. The Veneto-Papal alliance eventually expanded into the Holy League, which drove the French from Italy in 1512; disagreements about the division of the spoils, however, led Venice to abandon the alliance in favor of one with France. Under the leadership of Francis I, who had succeeded Louis to the throne, the French and Venetians would, through their victory at Marignano in 1515, regain the territory they had lost; the treaties of Noyon and Brussels, which ended the war the next year, would essentially return the map of Italy to the status quo of 1508.



Napoléon at the Battle of Austerlitz, by François Pascal Simon

The Battle of Austerlitz was a major engagement in the Napoleonic Wars during the War of the Third Coalition. It was fought on December 2, 1805 about four miles (6.4 km) east of the modern Czech town of Brno, then part of the Austrian Empire. The conflict involved forces of the recently formed First French Empire against the armies of the Russian Empire and the Austrian Empire. After nearly nine hours of fighting, the French troops, commanded by Emperor Napoleon I, managed to score a decisive victory over the Russo-Austrian army, commanded by Czar Alexander I. Despite difficult fighting in many sectors, the battle is often regarded as a tactical masterpiece. Austerlitz effectively brought the Third Coalition to an end.



German troops parade through Warsaw, Poland on October 5, 1939.

The Polish September Campaign was the conquest of Poland by the armies of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small contingent of Slovakian forces during the Second World War. The campaign began on 1 September 1939 following a German-staged attack. This military operation, which saw the first use of Blitzkrieg tactics, marked the start of the Second World War in Europe as the invasion led Poland's allies, the United Kingdom and France, to declare war on Germany on September 3. On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Red Army invaded the eastern regions of Poland. The Soviets were acting in co-operation with Nazi Germany, carrying out their part of the secret appendix of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (the division of Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence). The campaign ended on 6 October 1939, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland.



Sviatoslav's meeting with Emperor John by Klavdiy Lebedev

Sviatoslav I of Kiev was the warrior prince (or konung) of Kievan Rus'. The son of Igor of Kiev and Olga, Sviatoslav is famous for his incessant campaigns in the east and south, which precipitated the collapse of two great powers of Eastern Europe — Khazaria and the First Bulgarian Empire; he also subdued the Volga Bulgars, the Alans, and numerous East Slavic tribes, and at times was allied with the Pechenegs and Magyars. His decade-long reign over Rus was marked by rapid expansion into the Volga River valley, the Pontic steppe and the Balkans. By the end of his short life, Sviatoslav carved out for himself the largest state in Europe, eventually moving his capital from Kiev to Pereyaslavets on the Danube in 969. In contrast with his mother's conversion to Christianity, Sviatoslav remained a staunch pagan all of his life. Due to his abrupt death in combat, Sviatoslav's conquests, for the most part, were not consolidated into a functioning empire, while his failure to establish a stable succession led to civil war among his successors.



Ships unload men and equipment one day after the landings
The Battle of Inchon was a decisive 15-day invasion and battle during the Korean War. The battle began on September 15, 1950, and ended around September 28. During the amphibious operation, U.S. Marines under the command of General Douglas MacArthur secured Inchon and broke North Korean control of the Pusan region through a series of landings in enemy territory. The Battle of Inchon ended a string of victories by the invading North Korean People's Army (NKPA) and began a counterattack by United Nations forces that led to the recapture of Seoul. The northern advance ended when China's People's Liberation Army entered the conflict in support of North Korea, and defeated UN forces at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.



The Algerian Civil War was an armed conflict between the Algerian government and various Islamist rebel groups which began in 1991. It is estimated to have cost over 100,000 lives. The conflict has effectively ended with a government victory, following the surrender of the Islamic Salvation Army and the defeat of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The conflict began in December 1991, when the government cancelled elections after the first round results had shown that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) party would win, citing fears that the FIS would end democracy. Islamist guerrillas rapidly emerged and began an armed campaign against the government and its supporters. They formed themselves into several armed groups, principally the Islamic Armed Movement (MIA), based in the mountains, and the GIA, based in the towns. The guerrillas initially targeted the army and police, but some groups soon started attacking civilians. The MIA and its allies, under attack from both sides, opted for a unilateral ceasefire with the government in 1997, while the GIA was torn apart by splits as various subdivisions objected to its new massacre policy. In 1999, following the election of a new president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a new law gave amnesty to most guerrillas, motivating large numbers to "repent" (as it was termed) and return to normal life. The violence declined substantially, with effective victory for the government.



American soldiers taking up defensive positions in the Ardennes
The Battle of the Bulge was the last major German offensive on the Western Front in World War II. It was intended that the German army would split the Allied line in half, capture Antwerp, sweep north and encircle and destroy four Allied armies, thus forcing them to negotiate for peace. Although unsuccessful, it nevertheless tied down huge amounts of Allied resources, and a slow response to the resulting gap in their lines erased months from their timetable. An alternative analysis is that the offensive allowed the Allies to severely deplete the cream of German army outside the defenses of the West Wall and in poor supply state, greatly easing the assault on Germany afterward. In numerical terms, it is the largest battle the United States Army has ever fought.



Capture of Jerusalem in 1099
The First Crusade was a crusade launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II to regain control of the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Christian Holy Land from Muslims. What started as a minor call for aid quickly turned into a wholesale migration and conquest of territory outside of Europe. Both knights and peasants from many different nations of western Europe, with little central leadership, travelled overland and by sea towards Jerusalem and captured the city in July 1099, establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the other Crusader states. Although these gains lasted for fewer than 200 years, the Crusade was a major turning point in the expansion of Western power, and was the only crusade out of the many that followed to achieve its stated goal.



JMW Turner's 'Battle of Trafalgar' shows the last three letters of this famous signal
"England expects that every man will do his duty" was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his ship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) was about to commence. Trafalgar was the decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. It gave the United Kingdom control of the seas, removing all possibility of a French invasion and conquest of Britain. The phrase has become extremely well-known in Britain as a result of Lord Nelson's fame and the importance of the Battle of Trafalgar in British history. The phrase is known so widely in Britain that it has entered the British popular consciousness. Today "England expects…", as an abbreviated version of the phrase, is often adapted for use in the media, especially in relation to the expectations for the victory of English sporting teams.



Isaac Brock was a British major-general and administrator, who served in various parts of the Empire for nearly thirty years, serving in the Caribbean, Denmark, and elsewhere. During that time he challenged duelists, nearly died from fever, was injured in battle, faced both desertions and near mutinies, and also had the privilege of serving alongside Lord Nelson. However, he is best remembered for his actions while assigned to the Canadian colonies. Brock was assigned to Canada in 1802, eventually reaching the rank of Major-General. In this capacity, he was responsible for defending Canada from the United States during the War of 1812. While many in Canada and in England believed war could be averted, Brock began preparing the army, the militia, and the populace for what was to come. Thus, when war broke out, Canada was prepared, and quick victories at Fort Mackinac and in the Battle of Detroit crippled American invasion efforts, securing Brock's reputation as a brilliant leader and strategist. His death in the Battle of Queenston Heights was a crushing blow to British leadership. Brock's efforts earned him accolades, a knighthood, and the moniker "The Hero of Upper Canada".



Section of the Krag-Petersson
The Krag-Petersson rifle was the first repeating rifle adopted by the armed forces of Norway, and one of the first repeating arms adopted anywhere in the world. Developed by Ole Herman Johannes Krag, the action of the Krag-Petersson was uniquely actuated by the oversized hammer. Another distinguishing feature is that the cartridge rising from the magazine is not seated automatically, but has to be pushed into the breech of the rifle. Testing by the Norwegian military revealed that the Krag-Peterssen was a robust, accurate and quick firing weapon, and the Royal Norwegian Navy adopted the rifle in 1876. The rifle was also extensively tested by other nations, but not adopted. After being phased out around 1900, the remaining rifles were sold off to civilians, and often extensively rebuilt. Today it is so difficult to find one in original condition that the Krag-Petersson has been described as "the rifle everybody has heard about, but hardly anybody has ever seen". It was the first rifle designed by Ole H. J. Krag that was adopted by an armed force.



Battle Between the Monitor and Merrimac, by Kurz and Allison
The Battle of Hampton Roads was a naval battle of the American Civil War, taking place from March 8, 1862 to March 9, 1862, off Sewell's Point, a narrow place near the mouth of Hampton Roads, Virginia. As the war started, Union forces evacuating Norfolk burned the ships left behind. One was raised by the Confederates, renamed the CSS Virginia, and plated with iron—making it the first modern ironclad warship. On March 8, 1862, it sailed into Hampton Roads off Sewell's Point to challenge the blockading Union ships there, destroying several of them. The next day, it was engaged by the USS Monitor, a newly built Union ironclad. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, it is chiefly significant in naval history as the first battle between two powered ironclad warships, which came to be known as ironclads. Prior to then, warships were made primarily of wood. After the battle, ships and naval warfare changed dramatically, as nations around the world raced to convert their fleets to iron.



March of protesters on 25 October
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Neo-Stalinist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from October 23 until November 10, 1956. It began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building. The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. Thousands organized into militias, battling the State police force and Soviet troops. The new government formally disbanded the State police force, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. On November 4, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest using artillery and air strikes, killing thousands of civilians. Organized resistance ceased by 10 November 1956, and mass arrests began. An estimated 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. By January 1957 the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. Soviet actions alienated many Western Marxists, yet strengthened Soviet control over Eastern Europe, cultivating the perception that communism was both irreversible and monolithic. Public discussion about this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for over 30 years, but since the thaw of the 1980s it has been a subject of intense study and debate.



A Medal of Honor from the late 19th century

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. It is awarded "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, in actual combat against an armed enemy force." Three different medals currently exist for each of the major branches of the U.S. armed forces: one each for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Since the beginning of World War II, only 851 have been awarded, 525 of them posthumously. The rare soldier who wears the Medal of Honor is accorded special privileges that include higher pay, preference for their children at the U.S. military academies, and the respect and admiration of all other service-people. It is an informal rule that Medal of Honor recipients, regardless of rank, are saluted by all other service members, including the Commander-in-Chief. The Army Medal of Honor was first awarded during the American Civil War and was last officially awarded to Paul Ray Smith for action that occurred during the Iraq War in 2003.



Red officers on their horses during the Finnish Civil War

The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The war was fought from January 27, 1918 to May 15, 1918, between the forces called the "Reds" led by the People's Deputation of Finland under the control of the Finnish Social Democrats, and the forces called the "Whites", led by the Senate of Vaasa representing the Senate of Finland formed by the bourgeois parties. The defeat in World War I and the February and October revolutions in 1917 caused a total collapse of the Russian Empire; and the destruction of the mother country resulted in a corresponding breakdown of Finnish society during 1917. As there were no generally accepted police and army forces to keep order in Finland after March 1917, the left and right began building security groups of their own, leading to the emergence of two independent armed military troops, the White and Red Guards. The Whites were the victors in the war that followed. The Civil War remains the most controversial and emotionally loaded event in the history of modern Finland. Approximately 37,000 people died during the conflict, including casualties at the war fronts, and deaths from political terror campaigns and high prison camp mortality. The turmoil destroyed the economy, split the political apparatus, and divided the Finnish nation for many years.



An American paratrooper demonstrates removal of an S-mine
The German S-mine (Schrapnellmine) is the best-known version of a class of mines known as bounding mines, which when triggered launch into the air to about waist height and then explode, propelling shrapnel horizontally at lethal speeds. The S-mine was an anti-personnel landmine developed by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and used extensively by German forces during World War II. It was designed to be used in open areas and to attack unshielded infantry. Two versions were produced, designated by the year of their first production: the SMi-35 and SMi-44. There are only minor differences between the two models (TM-E 30-451, 1945). The S-mine entered production in 1935 and served as a key part of the defensive strategy of the Third Reich. Until production ceased with the defeat of Germany in 1945, Germany produced over 1.93 million S-mines. These mines were responsible for inflicting heavy casualties and slowing, or even repelling, drives into German-held territory throughout the war. The design was lethal, successful and much imitated, and remains one of the definitive weapons of World War II.



The U.S. cruiser Quincy on fire and sinking

The Battle of Savo Island took place August 8–August 9, 1942, and was a naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II, between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval forces. The battle was the first of five major naval engagements of the Guadalcanal campaign. In the battle, a Japanese warship task force surprised and routed the Allied naval force, sinking one Australian and three American cruisers, while taking only moderate damage in return. The Japanese force consisted of seven cruisers and one destroyer, commanded by Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa. In response to Allied amphibious landings in the eastern Solomon Islands, Mikawa brought his task force down "the Slot" to attack the Allied amphibious fleet and its screening force. The screening force consisted of eight cruisers and fifteen destroyers, commanded by British Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley, but only five cruisers and seven destroyers were actually involved in the battle. As a result of the defeat, the remaining Allied warships and the amphibious force withdrew from the Solomon Islands. This temporarily conceded control of the seas around Guadalcanal to the Japanese. Allied ground forces had landed on Guadalcanal and nearby islands only the day before. The withdrawal of the fleet left them in a precarious situation, with barely enough supplies, equipment, and food to hold their beachhead.



Bust of Pericles after Cresilas, Altes Museum, Berlin
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens in the city's Golden Age (specifically, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars). He was descended, through his mother, from the Alcmaeonid family. Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 BC to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century. Pericles promoted the arts and literature; this was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation of being the educational and cultural centre of the ancient Greek world. He started an ambitious project that built most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis (including the Parthenon). This program beautified the city, exhibited its glory, and gave work to the people. Furthermore, Pericles fostered the Athenian democracy, to such an extent that critics call him a populist.



Bagramyan in 1938

Hovhannes Bagramyan was a Soviet Armenian military commander and Marshal of the Soviet Union. During World War II, Bagramyan became the first non-Slavic military officer to become a commander of a Front. Bagramyan's previous experience in military planning as a chief of staff officer allowed him to distinguish himself as a capable commander during the war in the early stages of the Soviet counter-offensives against Nazi Germany. He was given his first command of a unit in 1942 and in November 1943, received his most prestigious command as the head of the First Baltic Front. As head of the Baltic Front, he participated in the offensives which moved westwards to push German forces out of the occupied Soviet Union and the recapturing of the Baltic republics. After the war, he served as a deputy member of the Supreme Soviets of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic and Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and was a regular attendant of the Party Congresses. In 1952, he became a candidate for entry into the Central Committee and, in 1961, was inducted as a full member. For his contributions during the war, he was widely regarded as a national hero in the Soviet Union, and continues to hold such esteemed status among many Armenians today.



The Battle of Vigo Bay, October 12, 1702

The War of the Spanish Succession was a major European armed conflict that arose in 1701 after the death of the last Spanish Habsburg king, Charles II. The war proceeded for over a decade, and was marked by the military leadership of notable generals such as the Duc de Villars and the Duke of Berwick for France, the Duke of Marlborough for England, and Prince Eugene of Savoy for the Austrians. The war was concluded by the treaties of Utrecht (1713) and Rastatt (1714). As a result, Philip V remained King of Spain, but was removed from the French line of succession, thereby averting a union of France and Spain. The Austrians gained most of the Spanish territories in Italy and the Netherlands. As a result, France's hegemony over continental Europe was ended, and the idea of a balance of power became a part of the international order due to its mention in the Treaty of Utrecht.



The invasion plans for Operation Olympic
Operation Downfall was the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan at the end of World War II, but was ultimately never used. It was scheduled to occur in two parts — Operation Olympic, the invasion of Kyūshū, set to begin in November, 1945; and later Operation Coronet, the invasion of Honshū near Tokyo, scheduled for the spring of 1946. Kyūshū was to be invaded at three points — Miyazaki beach, Ariake beach, and Kushikino beach. Southern Kyūshū would become a staging ground for operation Coronet, and would give the Allies a valuable airbase from which to operate. Following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet declaration of war against Japan, the Japanese surrendered and the operation was cancelled.



The Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment's bayonet charge during the Korean War.

The military history of Puerto Rico dates back to the 16th century when Spanish conquistadors battled against the native Taínos and continues to the present-day. It was ruled by the Spanish Empire for four centuries, during which the Puerto Ricans defended the island against invasions from the British, French and Dutch. The island was seized by the United States during the Spanish–American War, and Spain officially ceded it under the terms of the 1898 Treaty of Paris which ended the War. Now a United States territory, as citizens of the United States, Puerto Ricans have participated in every major conflict in which the United States has been involved from World War I onward.



Hoplites in combat
The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek military conflict between Sparta and four allied states, Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos, which were initially backed by Persia. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which both Thebes and Sparta intervened. The deeper cause, however, was hostility towards Sparta provoked by that city's unilateral domination of Greek politics in the nine years after the end of the Peloponnesian War. The war was fought on two fronts, on land near Corinth and Thebes and at sea in the Aegean. On land, the Spartans achieved several early successes in major battles, but were unable to capitalize on their advantage, and the fighting soon became stalemated. At sea, the Spartan fleet was decisively defeated by a Persian fleet early in the war, an event which effectively ended Sparta's attempts to become a naval power. Taking advantage of this fact, Athens launched several naval campaigns in the later years of the war, recapturing a number of islands that had been part of the original Athenian Empire during the 5th century BC. Alarmed by these Athenian successes, the Persians stopped backing the allies and began supporting Sparta. This defection forced the allies to seek peace. The Peace of Antalcidas, commonly known as the King's Peace, was signed in 387 BC, ending the war.



The Webley Mk IV

The Webley Revolver was, in various marks, the standard-issue service pistol for the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the British Empire, and the Commonwealth from 1887 until 1963. The Webley is a top-break revolver with automatic extraction; breaking the revolver open for reloading also operates the extractor, removing the spent cartridges from the cylinder. The Webley Mk I service revolver was adopted in 1887, but it was a later version—the Mk IV—which rose to prominence during the Boer War of 1899–1902. The Mk VI, introduced in 1915 during World War I, is perhaps the best-known model. Webley service revolvers are among the most powerful top-break revolvers ever produced, firing the .455 Webley cartridge. Although the .455 calibre Webley is no longer in military service, the .38/200 Webley Mk IV variant is still sporadically in use as a police sidearm in a number of countries.



Beatty's flagship Lion burning after being hit by a salvo
The Battle of Jutland was the largest naval battle of World War I, and the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war. It was fought on 31 May–1 June 1916, in the North Sea near Jutland. The combatants were the Kaiserliche Marine's High Seas Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer, and the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The Germans planned to lure Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty's battlecruiser squadrons into the path of the main German battle fleet and so destroy them. But the British had learned from signal intercepts that a major fleet operation was in prospect, and on 30 May Jellicoe sailed with the Grand Fleet to rendezvous with Beatty. On the afternoon of 31 May, Beatty and Hipper encountered each other, and in a running battle Hipper drew the British into the path of the High Seas Fleet. Fourteen British and eleven German ships were sunk with great loss of life. Both sides claimed victory. The British had lost more ships and many more sailors, but Scheer's plan of destroying Beatty's squadrons had failed. For the remainder of the war, the German High Seas Fleet stayed in port. and never again contested control of the seas. Instead, the German Navy turned its efforts and resources to unrestricted submarine warfare.



Blitzkrieg was an operational-level military doctrine which employed mobile forces attacking with speed and surprise to prevent an enemy from organising a coherent defence. Conceived in the years after World War I, it grew out of the earlier doctrine of "Fire and Infiltration". It was used by the German Wehrmacht in World War II. Operations early in the war—the invasions of Poland, France, and the Soviet Union—were highly effective, owing to surprise, enemy unpreparedness and superior German military doctrines. Methods of blitzkrieg operations centered on using manoeuvre rather than attrition to defeat an opponent. The blitzkrieg thus first and foremost required a concentration of armoured assets at a focal point, closely supported by mobile infantry, artillery and close air support assets. These tactics required the development of specialised support vehicles, new methods of communication, new tactics, and the presence of a decentralised command structure. Broadly speaking, blitzkrieg operations required the development of mechanised infantry, self-propelled artillery and engineering assets that could maintain the rate of advance of the tanks. In combat, blitzkrieg forced slower defending forces into defensive pockets that were encircled and then destroyed by following German infantry.



A Type 2 AK-47
The AK-47 is a gas-operated assault rifle designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, produced by Russian manufacturer Izhmash and used in many Eastern bloc nations during the Cold War. It was adopted and standardized in 1947. Compared with the auto-loading rifles used in World War II, the AK-47 was generally more compact, with a shorter range, a smaller 7.62 × 39 mm cartridge, and was capable of selective fire. It was one of the first true assault rifles and remains the most widely used. The AK-47 and its numerous variants and descendants have been produced in greater numbers than any other assault rifle and are in production to this day.



The Missouri, following the 1980s refit

USS Missouri (BB-63) ("Mighty Mo" or "Big Mo") is a U.S. Navy battleship, and was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state of Missouri. Among the Iowa-class battleships, Missouri is the final battleship to be built by the United States, and was the site of the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. Missouri was ordered on 12 June 1940 and her keel was laid at the New York Navy Yard in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on 6 January 1941.

During her career Missouri saw action in World War II during the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa, and shelled the Japanese home islands of Hokkaidō and Honshū. After World War II she returned to the United States before being called up and dispatched to fight in the Korean War. Upon her return to the United States she was decommissioned into the United States Navy reserve fleets, better known as the "Mothball Fleet" in 1955. She was reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and participated in the 1991 Gulf War.

Missouri was decommissioned a final time on 31 March 1992, having received a total of eleven battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf. She was maintained on the Naval Vessel Register until January 1995, when her name was struck. In 1998 she was donated to the Missouri Memorial Association, and is presently a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.



Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is an iconic photograph taken on February 23, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the Flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The photograph was instantly popular, being reprinted in hundreds of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images in history, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time. Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank) did not survive the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) became suddenly famous. The photograph was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the USMC War Memorial, located just outside Washington, D.C..



The Yom Kippur War was fought from October 6 (the day of Yom Kippur) to October 26, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Egypt and Syria. The War began with a surprise joint attack by Egypt and Syria into the Sinai and Golan Heights, respectively, which had been captured by Israel six years earlier during the Six-Day War. The Egyptians and Syrians advanced during the first 24–48 hours, after which momentum began to swing in Israel's favor. By the second week of the war, the Syrians had been pushed entirely out of the Golan Heights. In the Sinai to the south, the Israelis had struck at the "hinge" between two invading Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal (where the old cease-fire line had been), and cut off an entire Egyptian army just as a United Nations cease-fire came into effect. The war had far-reaching implications for many nations. The Arab world, which had been humiliated by the lopsided defeat of the Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian alliance during the Six-Day War, felt psychologically vindicated by its string of victories early in the conflict. This vindication paved the way for the peace process that followed, as well as liberalizations such as Egypt's infitah policy. The Camp David Accords which came soon after led to normalized relations between Egypt and Israel—the first time any Arab country had recognized the Israeli state. Egypt, which had already been drifting away from the Soviet Union, then left the Soviet sphere of influence almost entirely.



Polish boy scouts fighting in the uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was an armed struggle during the Second World War by the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) to liberate Warsaw from German occupation and Nazi rule. It started on August 1, 1944 as a part of a nationwide uprising, Operation Tempest. The Polish troops resisted the German-led forces until October 2. An estimated 85% of the city was destroyed during the urban guerrilla war and after the end of hostilities. The Uprising started at a crucial point in the war as the Soviet army was approaching Warsaw. Although the Soviet army was within a few hundred metres of the city from September 16 onward, the link between the uprising and the advancing army was never made. This failure and the reasons behind it have been a matter of controversy ever since.



Drawing of Swedish soldiers belonging to the "new" allotment system and wearing uniforms of the 1830s.
The Swedish allotment system was a system used in Sweden for keeping a trained army at all times. The oldest variant of the system came into use in around 1640, and in 1682 an updated system was introduced. Both systems relied on estates and farms that provided housing, salary and some military equipment for a soldier or horseman. In exchange, all other men in households providing soldiers escaped conscription, and households providing a horseman gained a large tax reduction. The system provided a well-trained, fast-mobilized and relatively cheap army that had large success on the battlefields of Europe during the 17th century, but the system also took its toll on the population. The allotment system was not replaced until the early 1900s, when the Swedish Armed Forces started using a conscription system.



The military history of France represents a massive panorama of conflicts and struggles extending for more than 2,000 years over areas encompassing modern France, Europe, and European territorial possessions overseas. Gallo-Roman conflict predominated from 400 BCE to 50 BCE, with the Romans emerging victorious in the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar. After the decline of the Roman Empire, a Germanic tribe known as the Franks took control of Gaul by defeating competing tribes. In the eighteenth century, global competition with Great Britain led to defeat in the French and Indian War, where France lost its North American holdings and India, but consolation came in the form of the American Revolutionary War, where massive French aid led to America's independence. Internal political upheaval eventually led to 23 years of nearly continuous war in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. France reached the zenith of its power during this period, but by 1815 it had been restored to its pre-Revolutionary borders. Following defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Franco-German rivalry reasserted itself again in World War I, this time France emerging as the winner. Tensions over the Versailles Treaty led to the Second World War, where it was humiliated in the Battle of France. The Allies eventually emerged victorious over the Germans, however, and France was given an occupation zone in Germany. Today, French military intervention is most often seen in its former colonies and with its NATO allies in hot spots around the world.



Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's renouncement of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes in its post-World War II Constitution of Japan. The origins of the Imperial Japanese Navy trace back to early interactions with states on the Asian continent at the beginning of the medieval period, and reached a peak of activity during the 16th and 17th centuries at a time of cultural exchange with European powers during the Age of Discovery. After two centuries of stagnation during the country's ensuing seclusion policy under the shoguns of the Edo period, Japan's navy was comparatively backward when the country was forced open to trade by American intervention in 1854. This eventually led to the Meiji Restoration, a period of frantic modernization and industrialization accompanied by the re-ascendance of the emperor. The navy's history of successes, sometimes against much more powerful foes as in the 1895 Sino-Japanese war and the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, ended with almost complete annihilation in 1945 against the United States Navy and other ally naval powers, and official dissolution at the end of the conflict.



An Iranian depiction of the Muslim pursuit following the battle
The Battle of Badr was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Muhammad's war against his Quraish opponents in Mecca. The battle has been passed down in Islamic history as a decisive victory ascribed to either divine intervention or the genius of Muhammad. Although it is one of the few battles mentioned by name in the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an, virtually all contemporary knowledge of the battle at Badr comes from traditional Islamic accounts, both hadiths and biographies of Muhammad, written down decades after the battle. Prior to the battle, the Muslims and Meccans had fought several smaller skirmishes in late 623 and early 624, as the Muslim ghazawāt plundering raids grew increasingly commonplace, but this was their first large-scale battle. Muhammad was leading a raiding party against a caravan when he was surprised by a much larger Quraishi army. Advancing to a strong defensive position, Muhammad's well-disciplined men managed to shatter the Meccan lines, killing several important leaders including Muhammad's chief opponent, Amr ibn Hishām. For the early Muslims, the battle was extremely significant because it was the first sign that they might eventually overcome their enemies in Mecca, one of the richest and most powerful pagan cities in pre-Islamic Arabia.



Cross section of the Jarmann M1884
The Norwegian Jarmann M1884 was a bolt action repeating rifle firing a 10.15 mm black powder cartridge in an 8-round, tubular magazine. It was among the earliest repeating rifles to be adopted in the world. Its adoption, and subsequent modifications, turned the Norwegian Army from a fighting force armed with single-shot black powder weapons into a force armed with modern repeating weapons firing smokeless ammunition. Several thousands were manufactured to equip both Norwegian and Swedish forces in the 1880s. The design is unique, and is the brainchild of Norwegian engineer Jacob Smith Jarmann. After the design had been phased out of the Norwegian Army, a number of the weapons were rebuilt as harpoon guns.



Polish defenses near Milosna
The Polish–Soviet War was the war that determined the borders between two nascent states in post-World War I Europe. This armed struggle was a result of conflicting attempts — by Poland, whose statehood had just been re-established after her being partitioned in the late 18th century, to secure territories which she had lost in partitions or earlier — and by Soviets who aimed to take control of the same territories that had since then been part of Imperial Russia until their occupation by Germany during World War I. Both states claimed victory in the war: the Poles claimed a successful defense of their state, while the Soviets claimed a repulse of the Polish Kiev Offensive, which was sometimes viewed as part of foreign interventions in the Russian Civil War.



Closeup of a Krag-Jørgensen receiver

The Krag-Jørgensen is a repeating bolt action rifle designed by the Norwegians Ole Herman Johannes Krag and Erik Jørgensen in the late 19th century. It was adopted as a standard arm by Denmark, the United States and Norway. The most distinctive feature of the Krag-Jørgensen action was its magazine. While other rifles of its era used a box magazine, the magazine of the Krag-Jørgensen was integral with the receiver, featuring an opening on the right hand side with a hinged cover. The cartridges were inserted through the side opening, and were pushed up, around, and into the action by a spring follower. This presented both advantages and disadvantages compared with the standard top-loading "box" magazine; among other things, using a "stripper clip" to reload was impossible. At the same time, unlike a top-loading magazine, the Krag-Jørgensen's magazine could be topped up without opening the rifle's bolt. Today, the Krag-Jørgensen is a popular collector's rifle, and is valued by shooters for its smooth action.



Portrait of the tsar from the Tetraevangelia of Ivan Alexander

Ivan Alexander ruled as Emperor (Tsar) of Bulgaria from 1331 to 1371, during the Second Bulgarian Empire. The date of his birth is unknown. He died on February 17, 1371. The long reign of Ivan Alexander is considered a transitional period in Bulgarian medieval history. Ivan Alexander began his rule by dealing with internal problems and external threats from Bulgaria's neighbours, the Byzantine Empire and Serbia, as well as leading his empire into a period of economic recovery and cultural and religious renaissance. However, the emperor was later unable to cope with the mounting incursions of Ottoman forces, Hungarian invasions from the northwest and the Black Death. In an ill-fated attempt to combat these problems, he divided the country between his two sons, thus forcing it to face the imminent Ottoman conquest weakened and divided.



The Second Battle of Smolensk was a major World War II Red Army offensive in western Russia, staged almost simultaneously with the Battle of the Lower Dnieper. The two-month offensive led by Generals Andrei Yeremenko and Vasily Sokolovsky was aimed at clearing the German presence from the Smolensk and Bryansk regions. Smolensk had been under German occupation since the first Battle of Smolensk in 1941. Despite an impressive German defense setup, the Red Army was able to stage several breakthroughs, liberating several major cities, including Smolensk and Roslavl, and moving into occupied Belorussia. Although playing a major military role in its own right, the Smolensk Operation was also important for its effect on the Battle of Dnieper. It has been estimated that as many as 55 German divisions were committed to counter the Smolensk Operation—divisions that were critically needed to prevent Soviet troops from crossing the Dnieper River in the south. Additionally, the operation allowed the Red Army to repulse German forces definitively from the Smolensk landbridge, historically the most important approach for an attack on Moscow from the west.



The breech end of two Kammerlader rifles
The Kammerlader was the first Norwegian breech loading rifle, and among the very first breech loaders adopted for use by an armed force anywhere in the world. A single shot, black powder rifle, the kammerlader was operated with a crank mounted on the side of the receiver. This made it much quicker and easier to load than the weapons previously used. Kammerladers quickly gained a reputation for being fast and accurate rifles, and would have been a deadly weapon against massed ranks of infantry. The kammerladers were phased out as more modern rifles were approved for use. They were either modified for rimfire cartridges, sold off to civilians or melted for scrap. Rifles sold to civilians were often modified for use as shotguns or hunting weapons. Today it is hard to find an unmodified kammerlader, and collectors often pay high prices for them.



Witold Pilecki was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, founder of the resistance movement Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) and member of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). During World War II he was the only person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. While there, he organized inmate resistance and as early as 1940 informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's camp atrocities. He escaped from Auschwitz in 1943 and took part in the Warsaw Uprising (August-October 1944). Pilecki was executed in 1948 by communist authorities.



Chinese representatives inspecting a Junkers aircraft, 1933
During the period from 1911 to 1941, Sino-German cooperation was often close, culminating in an alliance between the Republic of China and Germany. Close cooperation dating back to the 1920s was instrumental in modernizing the industry and the armed forces of the Republic of China, especially in the period immediately preceding the Second Sino-Japanese War. Succeeding the Qing Dynasty in 1912, the Republic of China was fraught with factional warlordism from the inside and foreign incursions from the outside. The Northern Expedition of 1928 nominally unified China for the first time under Kuomintang control, yet Imperial Japan emerged as the greatest foreign threat. The urgent need for China to modernize its military and national defense industry, coupled with Germany's need for a stable supply of raw materials, put the two countries on the road of close relations from the late 1920s to the late 1930s. Although the period of intense cooperation was relatively short, lasting only from the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933 to the start of the war with Japan in 1937, it had a profound effect on the modernization efforts of China, as well as her capability to resist the Japanese in the war.



The north face of the Shrine
The Shrine of Remembrance, located in St Kilda Road, Melbourne, is one of the largest war memorials in Australia. It was built as a memorial to the 114,000 men and women of Victoria who served in World War I, but soon came to be seen as Australia's major memorial to all the 60,000 Australians who died in that war. It now serves as a memorial for all Australians who served in war, and is the site of annual observances of ANZAC Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November). Around the Sanctuary walls is a frieze of 12 carved panels depicting the armed services at work and in action during World War I. The Sanctuary is surrounded by a narrow walkway called the Ambulatory. Along the Ambulatory are 42 bronze caskets containing hand-written, illuminated Books of Remembrance with the names of every Victorian who enlisted for active service with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) or Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in World War I or died in camp prior to embarkation.



Conrad III of Germany personally led the crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe, called in 1145 in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year. Edessa was the first of the Crusader states to have been founded during the First Crusade, and was the first to fall. The Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugenius III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe and were separately defeated by the Seljuk Turks. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and in 1148 participated in an ill-advised attack on Damascus. The crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a great victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately lead to the fall of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century. The only success came on the opposite end of the Mediterranean, where English crusaders, on the way by ship to the Holy Land, fortuitously stopped and helped capture Lisbon in 1147.



Stanislaw Koniecpolski

Stanisław Koniecpolski was a Polish nobleman (szlachcic), magnate, official (starost and castellan) and hetman - second highest military commander of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Koniecpolski lived a life that involved almost constant warfare and during his military career he won many victories. Before he reached the age of 20, he had fought in the Dimitriads and the Moldavian Magnate Wars, where he was taken captive by the forces of Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Cecora in 1620. When released in 1623 he soon defeated Ottoman vassals the Tatars in 1624. With inferior forces he fought Swedish forces of Gustav Adolphus to a stalemate in Prussia during the second phase of the Polish–Swedish War (1626–29). He defeated a major Turkish invasion at Kamieniec Podolski in Ukraine in 1634 and during his life led many other successful campaigns against the rebellious Cossacks and invading Tatars. He is considered to be one of the most skilled and famous military commanders in the history of Poland and Lithuania.



USS Wisconsin at sea, circa 1990
USS Wisconsin is an Iowa-class battleship, and is the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. She was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and launched on December 7, 1943. During her career Wisconsin served in World War II, where she shelled Japanese fortifications at Ulithi and Leyte Gulf, and screened U.S. aircraft carriers as they conducted air raids against enemy positions. During the Korean War she shelled North Korean targets in support of UN and South Korean ground operations, after which she was decommissioned into the United States Navy reserve fleets, better known as the mothball fleet. She was reactivated and modernized in 1986 as part of the "600-ship Navy" plan, and participated in the 1991 Gulf War. Wisconsin was last decommissioned in September 1991 and currently functions as a museum ship at the Nauticus National Maritime Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Wisconsin was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 2006 and is currently awaiting donation for use as a museum ship.



Joan of Arc, c. 1485
Joan of Arc is a national heroine of France and a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She had visions, believed to be from God, which led to the liberation of her homeland from English dominance in the Hundred Years' War. The then-uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the disregard of veteran commanders and ended the siege in only nine days. Several more swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Rheims and settled the disputed succession to the throne. The renewed French confidence outlasted Joan of Arc's own brief career. She refused to leave the field when she was wounded during an attempt to recapture Paris that fall. Hampered by court intrigues, she led only minor companies from then on, and fell prisoner during a skirmish near Compiègne the following spring. A politically-motivated trial convicted her of heresy. The English regent, John, Duke of Bedford, had her burnt at the stake in Rouen. Pope Callixtus III reopened Joan's case; a new finding overturned the original conviction. Her piety to the end impressed the retrial court. Pope Benedict XV canonized her on 16 May 1920.



Attalus I ruled Pergamon, a Greek city-state in present-day Turkey, from 241 BCE to 197 BCE. He was the second cousin and the adoptive son of Eumenes I, whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king. He won an important victory over the Galatians, newly arrived Celtic tribes from Thrace, who had been, for more than a generation, plundering and exacting tribute throughout most of Asia Minor without any serious check. This victory, celebrated by the triumphal monument at Pergamon, famous for its Dying Gaul, and the liberation from the Gallic "terror" which it represented, earned for Attalus the name of "Soter," and the title of "king." A courageous and capable general and loyal ally of Rome, he played a significant role in the first and second Macedonian Wars, waged against Philip V of Macedon. He conducted numerous naval operations, harassing Macedonian interests throughout the Aegean, winning honors, collecting spoils, and gaining for Pergamon possession of the Greek islands of Aegina during the first war, and Andros during the second, twice narrowly escaping capture at the hands of Philip. He died in 197 BCE, shortly before the end of the second war, at the age of 72, having suffered an apparent stroke while addressing a Boeotian war council some months before.



Thrasybulus receiving an olive crown for his campaign against the Thirty Tyrants
Thrasybulus was an Athenian general and democratic leader. In 411 BC, in the wake of an oligarchic coup at Athens, the pro-democracy sailors at Samos elected him as a general, making him a primary leader of the successful democratic resistance to that coup. As general, he was responsible for recalling the controversial nobleman Alcibiades from exile, and the two worked together extensively over the next several years. In 411 and 410, Thrasybulus commanded several critical Athenian naval victories, along with Alcibiades and others. After Athens' defeat in the Peloponnesian War, Thrasybulus led the democratic resistance to the new oligarchic government, known as the Thirty Tyrants, that the victorious Spartans imposed on Athens. In 404 BC, he commanded a small force of exiles that invaded Attica and, in successive battles, defeated first a Spartan garrison and then the forces of the oligarchics. In the wake of these victories, democracy was reestablished in Athens. As a leader of this revived democracy in the 4th century BC, Thrasybulus advocated a policy of resistance to Sparta and sought to restore Athens' imperial power. He was killed in 388 BC while leading an Athenian naval force in the Corinthian War.



Epaminondas
Epaminondas was a Theban general and statesman who transformed Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek geopolitics. In the process he broke Spartan military power with his victory at Leuctra and liberated the Messenian helotsPeloponnesian Greeks who had been enslaved under Spartan rule for some 200 years. Epaminondas reshaped the political map of Greece, fragmented old alliances, created new ones, and supervised the construction of entire cities. He was militarily influential as well; he invented several major battlefield tactics. Cicero once called him "the first man of Greece", but Epaminondas has fallen into relative obscurity in modern times. The changes he wrought on the Greek political order did not long outlive him, as the cycle of shifting hegemonies and alliances continued unabated. Just 27 years after his death, a recalcitrant Thebes was obliterated by Alexander the Great. Thus Epaminondas—who had been praised in his time as an idealist and liberator—is today largely remembered for a decade (371 to 362 BC) of campaigning that sapped the strength of the great land powers of Greece and paved the way for the Macedonian conquest.



Władysław Sikorski during World War II
Władysław Sikorski was a Polish military and political leader. Before World War I, he became a founder and member of several underground organizations that promoted the cause of Polish independence]]. He fought with distinction during the Polish–Soviet War, in which he played a prominent role in the decisive Battle of Warsaw. During World War II he became Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, and a staunch advocate of the Polish cause on the diplomatic scene. He supported the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Soviet Union, which had been severed after the Soviet alliance with Germany in the 1939 invasion of Poland. In April 1943, however, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin broke off Soviet–Polish diplomatic relations following Sikorski's request that the International Red Cross investigate the Katyn massacre. In July 1943, Sikorski was killed in a plane crash into the sea immediately on takeoff from Gibraltar. The exact circumstances of his death remain in dispute, which has given rise to ongoing conspiracy theories.



A stained glass window showing the death of Penda of Mercia
Penda was a 7th-century King of Mercia, a kingdom in what is today the English Midlands. A pagan at a time when Christianity was taking hold in many of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Penda participated in the defeat of the powerful Northumbrian king Edwin at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in 633; nine years later, he defeated and killed Edwin's eventual successor, Oswald, at the Battle of Maserfield. From this point he was probably the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon rulers of the time; he defeated the East Angles, drove the king of Wessex into exile for three years, and continued to wage war against the Bernicians of Northumbria. Thirteen years after Maserfield, he suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of the Winwaed in the course of a final campaign against the Bernicians and was killed.



The Kargil War was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in Kashmir. The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control, which serves as the de facto border between the two nations. The Indian Army, supported by the air force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced a Pakistani withdrawal across the Line of Control. The war is one of the most recent examples of high altitude warfare, in mountainous terrain, and posed significant logistics problems for the combating sides. This was the first ground war between the two nuclear armed countries. (India and Pakistan both test-detonated fission devices in May 1998, though the first Indian nuclear test was conducted in 1974.) The conflict led to heightened tensions between the two nations and increased defense spending on the part of India. In Pakistan, the aftermath caused instability to the government and the economy, and on October 12, 1999, a coup d'etat by the military placed army chief Pervez Musharraf in power.