Vintage photos of the military show how it has evolved – Lifestyle

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Throughout history, many brave individuals have been a part of the military, and have played pivotal roles in shaping society.

But while armies are as old as time, they too have changed over the years.

Take a look at these vintage photos of soldiers to see how much the military has evolved.

Militaries have existed since ancient times: The first war ever recorded took place in Mesopotamia in 2700 BCE.


Militaries have existed since ancient times: The first war ever recorded took place in Mesopotamia in 2700 BCE.play

Militaries have existed since ancient times: The first war ever recorded took place in Mesopotamia in 2700 BCE.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Source: The Ancient History Encyclopedia

Despite the saying “all is fair in love and war,” warfare usually abides by a certain etiquette.


Despite the saying "all is fair in love and war," warfare usually abides by a certain etiquette.play

Despite the saying “all is fair in love and war,” warfare usually abides by a certain etiquette.

(Reinhold Thiele/Thiele/Getty Images)

The Greeks and Romans had customary laws of war which the Western military tradition took inspiration from, such as war being openly declared and with legitimate cause, pledged word being kept, and a truce being given to the defeated so that they could recover and honor their dead.

The French Revolution brought about the idea of conscription.


The French Revolution brought about the idea of conscription.play

The French Revolution brought about the idea of conscription.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

While the idea of drafting able-bodied men may date back to Egypt in the 27th century BCE, the nationwide system most closely resembling that of today was introduced in France during the French Revolution, and institutionalized by Napoleon after he became emperor in 1803.

Suddenly, militaries were no longer limited by the amount of soldiers they had, but by their country’s population of able-bodied men.


Suddenly, militaries were no longer limited by the amount of soldiers they had, but by their country's population of able-bodied men.play

Suddenly, militaries were no longer limited by the amount of soldiers they had, but by their country’s population of able-bodied men.

(General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

Countries around the world still have conscription, and in some cases, military service is even getting reintroduced. Per BBC, Georgia reinstated military service in 2017, Lithuania reinstated conscription in 2016, and last year Sweden voted to reintroduce conscription as well.

France drafted its men during WWI, and eventually other European countries and the US followed suit.


France drafted its men during WWI, and eventually other European countries and the US followed suit.play

France drafted its men during WWI, and eventually other European countries and the US followed suit.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1917, US Congress passed the Selective Service Act, which called for all men ages 21 to 30 in the 48 states plus Washington DC. In 1918, this expanded to include men from the ages of 18 to 45, and from Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

The United States military is made up of the Navy, National Guard, Coast Guard, Marines, Army and, most recently, the Air Force.


The United States military is made up of the Navy, National Guard, Coast Guard, Marines, Army and, most recently, the Air Force.play

The United States military is made up of the Navy, National Guard, Coast Guard, Marines, Army and, most recently, the Air Force.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Army, Navy and Marines were founded in 1775. The Coast Guard wasn’t formed until 1790, and the Air Force wasn’t formed until 1947.

When the US joined WWI, it had to get creative with how it trained its men, due to mass shortages of planes and weapons.


When the US joined WWI, it had to get creative with how it trained its men, due to mass shortages of planes and weapons.play

When the US joined WWI, it had to get creative with how it trained its men, due to mass shortages of planes and weapons.

(Keystone/Getty Images)

Pilots had to be trained with makeshift cockpits and imaginary guns.

Over 4.7 million men and women served in the US forces during World War I.


Over 4.7 million men and women served in the US forces during World War I.play

Over 4.7 million men and women served in the US forces during World War I.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The US tried to stay out of WWI, but joined after Germany re-launched submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships in 1917, after having pledged not to, and tried to get Mexico to turn against the US.

With these huge new militaries came unthinkable death counts — there were an estimated 37 million casualties reported during World War I.


With these huge new militaries came unthinkable death counts — there were an estimated 37 million casualties reported during World War I.play

With these huge new militaries came unthinkable death counts — there were an estimated 37 million casualties reported during World War I.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica.

People called it “the war to end all wars.”


People called it "the war to end all wars."play

People called it “the war to end all wars.”

(Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

In 1914, H.G. Wells wrote a series of essays called “The War That Will End War,” which advocated for peace and the disarmament of the German Empire. As the book rose in popularity, the title soon became both a slogan and rallying cry.

The battles were grim — here, French soldiers wear makeshift gas masks in the trenches during the second battle of Ypres in 1915.


The battles were grim — here, French soldiers wear makeshift gas masks in the trenches during the second battle of Ypres in 1915.play

The battles were grim — here, French soldiers wear makeshift gas masks in the trenches during the second battle of Ypres in 1915.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Germany, at the time of WWI, had one of the world’s most advanced chemical industries, and attempted to weaponize this as early as 1914.

Ypres, Belgium, was the site of the very first chemical attack on April 22, 1915

This photo shows wounded American soldiers by an ambulance in France.


This photo shows wounded American soldiers by an ambulance in France.play

This photo shows wounded American soldiers by an ambulance in France.

(Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The US saw 323,018 casualties in WWI.

But there were some moments of unity — here, a German soldier gives a wounded Russian a drink from his flask.


But there were some moments of unity — here, a German soldier gives a wounded Russian a drink from his flask.play

But there were some moments of unity — here, a German soldier gives a wounded Russian a drink from his flask.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Here, US soldiers enjoy a small break after arriving in Liverpool in 1918.


Here, US soldiers enjoy a small break after arriving in Liverpool in 1918.play

Here, US soldiers enjoy a small break after arriving in Liverpool in 1918.

(A. R. Coster/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Liverpool was home to a rest camp for American troops. According to Lewis Lukens, the Acting Ambassador to the United Kingdom, “A YMCA hut was set up on Lord Street. The American Hospital in Mossley Hill saw regular musical entertainment, and baseball games took place at Port Sunlight. Later, American public holidays were celebrated on Merseyside. In fact, between April 1917 and September 1918, more than 800,000 American men and women passed through the city of Liverpool — by far the busiest port in the UK to receive US troops and supporters.”

When WWI ended in 1918, soldiers were finally able to return to their normal lives.


When WWI ended in 1918, soldiers were finally able to return to their normal lives.play

When WWI ended in 1918, soldiers were finally able to return to their normal lives.

(Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

However, World War II brought even more civilians into combat — more than 12% of the US population served in World War II.


However, World War II brought even more civilians into combat — more than 12% of the US population served in World War II.play

However, World War II brought even more civilians into combat — more than 12% of the US population served in World War II.

(Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Since the end of the Vietnam War, America has employed an all-volunteer force.

They trained rigorously in preparation — a formal fitness test was introduced by the US Army in 1942.


They trained rigorously in preparation — a formal fitness test was introduced by the US Army in 1942.play

They trained rigorously in preparation — a formal fitness test was introduced by the US Army in 1942.

(George W. Hales/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

It included push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, a 300 yard run and squat jumps.

World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history.


World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history.play

World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history.

(Keystone/Getty Images)

World War II involved more than 30 countries and lasted for six years. An estimated 85 million people were killed.

See the percentage of a country’s population that died during WWII here.

After six years, it finally drew to an end — here, US soldiers hold a captured Nazi flag in a French village in 1944.


After six years, it finally drew to an end — here, US soldiers hold a captured Nazi flag in a French village in 1944.play

After six years, it finally drew to an end — here, US soldiers hold a captured Nazi flag in a French village in 1944.

(Keystone/Getty Images)

The number of people serving in the US armed forces has since dropped — now, less than 0.5% of the population serves.


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(Keystone/Getty Images)

In 1973, the US decided to end the citizen-soldier tradition and instead establish a large, professional all-volunteer force. Today, only 0.5% of the population serves.

The military’s size varies from country to country.


The military's size varies from country to country.play

The military’s size varies from country to country.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The US is the world’s most powerful military, according to firepower, but trails behind countries like South Korea, North Korea, India, China, and Russia in terms of size.

Some countries require military service from all its citizens, others don’t.


Some countries require military service from all its citizens, others don't.play

Some countries require military service from all its citizens, others don’t.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Countries around the world still have military service, like Brazil, Turkey, Sweden, and Israel, to name a few.

Technological advancement also varies.


Technological advancement also varies.play

Technological advancement also varies.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Israel is often regarded as having the most technologically advanced military today.

The United States is believed to be the world’s most powerful military in terms of firepower.


The United States is believed to be the world's most powerful military in terms of firepower.play

The United States is believed to be the world’s most powerful military in terms of firepower.

(Keystone/Getty Images)

Its defense spending is the highest in the world.

But no matter where or when they served, the sacrifices soldiers have made have changed the course of history.


But no matter where or when they served, the sacrifices soldiers have made have changed the course of history.play

But no matter where or when they served, the sacrifices soldiers have made have changed the course of history.

(Brandt/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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