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30 Countries With Largest Active Military Reserve

I thought this was a bit harder to guess than countries with the largest standing armies. There are some surprising inclusions and surprising omissions here.
Quiz by kalbahamut
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First submittedFebruary 10, 2013
Last updatedApril 27, 2016
Times taken3,721
Rating4.30
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Reservists
Country
5,040,000
Vietnam
4,500,000
North Korea
2,900,000
South Korea
2,485,000
Russia
2,300,000
China
2,280,000
Bangladesh
2,143,000
India
1,800,000
Iran
1,800,000
Brazil
1,657,000
Taiwan
Reservists
Country
1,100,000
USA
1,100,000
Ukraine
950,000
Singapore
800,000
Egypt
630,000
Israel
570,000
Syria
528,500
Iraq
515,000
Pakistan
515,000
Poland
438,000
Venezuela
Reservists
Country
430,000
Philippines
400,000
Algeria
400,000
Indonesia
378,000
Kazakhstan
357,000
Finland
302,500
Bulgaria
300,000
Azerbaijan
296,300
Malaysia
290,000
Belarus
280,700
Lebanon
+1
level 40
Mar 13, 2013
Silly me. Shoulda got Taiwan. Singapore too. Actually surprised Switzerland didn't make the list. They have a pretty elaborate national service. Also... crazy trivia of the day... every residential property is supposed to have a nuclear shelter. Also... where's Australia???? You've got an agenda!!! *Oz says laughing to himself*
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level 77
Mar 14, 2013
::chuckle:: prove it, friend. And I'll admit to it. I clearly demonstrated yours. Anyway, Switzerland is #38 so... pretty high up the list considering they are such a small nation with a small population and a policy of neutrality when it comes to war. Australia is #49. Australia's active military reserve of under 30,000 men actually places them 5th from last, excluding countries that have no reserve at all. But, I think that makes sense, given Australia's relatively small population and the low odds of either a) an invasion or b) the need to rapidly mobilize some military force above and beyond their regular army. If you look at all the rest of the countries on the list they all have a high chance of either a or b- either having hostile and well armed neighbors or being involved in international politics in a military capacity. Australia's relatively peaceful/unentangled foreign policy and geographic isolation make a large reserve unnecessary.
+1
level 77
Mar 14, 2013
Thanks for taking the quiz! :D and for commenting, as well.
+2
level 40
Mar 16, 2013
You're welcome! I wouldn't say Australia was relatively peaceful. It's just that none of the wars we get involved in have anything to do with us. And with these other countries on the list... I'd add that the tendency of some of the countries on the list to repeatedly invade/bomb the crap out of other countries is another factor. Also, if the US spend soooooo much on its military and has such a large reserve... how come in movies they always have to rely on a bunch of rag-tag high schoolers?!? Explain that one.
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level 77
Mar 17, 2013
1. Fair point. 2. Yes, I mentioned a proactive foreign policy (bombing the crap out of others). 3. movies are stupid. Especially Red Dawn if that's what you're referring to. That one was "wicked retarded."
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level 35
Nov 5, 2013
What is a "military reserve" even? I didn't so well I thought I meant like how big the military/army was until I saw that one said 8 million. I guessed China, Russia, Usa, THEN North Korea and it is the one with 8 mill. Im confused plz explain. Im not hating, in fact I love this quiz. Just not sure what this means. I know pretty much ANYTHING else about army/military
+2
level 77
Nov 5, 2013
Active military reserve are civilians who have some training with the military and usually do some exercises on weekends here and there... they are no classified as active duty, they are not stationed anywhere or doing tours... they are only there to be called up in the case of the country being engaged in total war... like in the case of North Korea... the have 1.1 million active military personnel (which is huge). These are the men and women who are in uniforms every day when they go to work, they march in parades and go on maneuvers regularly and patrol the DMZ with South Korea. But then if the country was ever invaded by South Korea or the USA or China... then that force would could be supplemented with 8 million reservists. These people would be called up by the North Korean military to join the 1.1 million regulars. The same could happen if North Korea decided to invade South Korea- it would need all the manpower it could get.
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level 77
Nov 5, 2013
just google "military reserve force" and you'll find a wikipedia page about this. Or look up the US Army Reserve if you want to find the page on the American equivalent.
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level 77
Nov 5, 2013
Some countries also have "inactive reserve"... these are military personnel that have retired, or been discharged from the service or moved to the private sector, or else just have their names on file with the military for some reason and have at the past received some nominal level of training but are not at the top of any list to be called on. The USA calls their an "individual ready reserve." Iran's is huge. But again, they would only be called up in the case of a dire emergency. And then only if the active reserve force was insufficient.
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level 35
Nov 6, 2013
Ok thanks for the explanation dude. :D
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level 35
Mar 3, 2014
Woah. Finland. You don't need that much!
+2
level 77
Mar 4, 2014
If you want to know why Finland has a large military reserve just turn on the news and see what's happening in Ukraine right now.
+2
level 46
Jul 13, 2014
You should also take a map and a book of history and you find out why its necessery...
+1
level 48
Apr 2, 2014
Oh wow! I've spent a lot of time in Asia so I wasn't surprised to see Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Malaysia on the list — those were actually among the first I guessed. But I was shocked to see the number next to North Korea! I know they had a large military reserve but I didn't realize it was that huge. Very very interesting!
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level 42
Nov 29, 2014
I am surprised there's no UK an Germany on the list. They usually have pretty high standards for everything.
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level 77
Nov 29, 2014
Both countries have pretty competent and sophisticated armed services, but their reserves are not very large I think because of the reasons I gave above, being a) invasion is unlikely (neither have hostile well-armed neighbors, and the UK is surrounded by water), and b) there's not much need to rapidly mobilize a large fighting force above and beyond their regular army. Both countries are involved in foreign policy and UN police actions etc, but their regular armies are adequate for their level of involvement.
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level 35
Feb 27, 2015
I am just wondering, what is the source? wiki or GFP?
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level 77
Feb 27, 2015
I think I got this from GFP but haven't updated it in two years.
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level 29
Apr 30, 2016
Great quiz. Not actually important knowledge, but interesting. Countries, their absence really surprised me: Turkey, Nigeria, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Colombia and Japan. Countries, their presence surprised me even more: Singapore, Bulgaria, Lebanon and Finland. Anyway the last two are perfectly understandable, just surprising, cause their armies are low and weak. Vietnam shocked me with higher reserve than North Korea, anyway still understandable because of China´s aggressiveness.
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level 77
May 1, 2016
North Korea used to have a reserve of over 8 million.
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level 58
Apr 26, 2018
Similairly, check out my 50 most powerful military nations here
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level 34
May 20, 2018
Please accept Kazakstan for Kazakhstan.
+1
level 54
Jun 17, 2019
If 1/10 finns is armed with a sniper rifle (in the army). They will be the country impossible to invade. Winter war. So they dont need reserves i think.