Are You a U.S. War History Expert?



By: Kale Havervold

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by U.S. Department of Defense

About This Quiz

The USA is the owner of the most powerful and well-funded military on the planet. They receive billions of dollars every year, and the U.S armed forces employ millions of people. As you would expect, all of this funding isn't for nothing. Throughout the nearly 250-year history of the USA, their military has been involved in their fair share of conflicts. Whether it be fighting for their independence or helping countries who cannot help themselves, the U.S. military hasn't shied away from war and fighting for what they believe in.

Some wars have been successful, while others not so much. Some have been shorter conflicts that have only lasted months, while others have stretched well over a decade. But how much do you know about the history of wars the USA participated in? Do you know which war was the deadliest for U.S. soldiers? How about how many times the USA has officially declared war?

Whether you want to prove your knowledge of the U.S. military and their history, or just want to learn more on the topic, this is the quiz for you. Without any further ado, head for the trenches and get ready to test your knowledge about the war history of the USA.  

Which future President was a military general during the War of 1812?

Before Andrew Jackson became the President of the USA in 1829 until 1837, he was a general in the War of 1812. In addition to that, he also served in the Congress, in both houses.


What is the Medal of Honor?

Many military awards and decorations can be awarded to soldiers for a job well done or to recognize an achievement. However, none are more prestigious than the Medal of Honor, which is typically awarded by the President of the USA. Here, United States Navy submarine sailor Henry Breault receives the Medal of Honor from President Calvin Coolidge.


Despite its silly name, this conflict was no joke. Where did the "Banana Wars" take place?

The Banana Wars were when the American military occupations and interventions that took place throughout the Caribbean and Central America. These numerous small conflicts went from 1898 to 1934.


The annexation of which state ultimately led to the Mexican-American War?

In 1845, Texas went through annexation and was brought into the United States of America. With this not being formally recognized by the Mexican government, a war began between Mexico and the USA, which went from 1846 to 1848.


This state was the first to secede from the Union, which ultimately led to the Civil War. Which state was it?

The very first state to secede from the Union was South Carolina; they did so on December 20th, 1860. The Civil War began when secessionist forces attacked a military fort in South Carolina.


The Cold War was a conflict mainly between the U.S. and which other nation?

The Cold War took place across many decades between the USA and the Soviet Union. While no military campaigns directly took place, the war cost millions of lives and a ton of money on both sides.


Who was the Commander of the Continental Army and helped organize the efforts of the colonies to fight against Great Britain?

In addition to being the first-ever President of the USA, George Washington was also the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. The role was originally created to coordinate the war efforts of the Thirteen Colonies.


When was the "Department of Defense" actually given that name?

In 1947, a unified National Military Establishment was founded. However, after only two years, it was renamed the Department of Defense. Currently, the department is the largest employer on the planet.


Which war was deadliest for U.S soldiers, costing hundreds of thousands of American lives?

While is wasn't the largest war in terms of scale, no war cost more American lives than the Civil War. This makes sense, as the fighting took place on U.S soil and only involved Americans. In total, 620,000-750,000 Americans died as a result of the war.


Which catastrophic and unforgettable event eventually led to the War on Terror?

The War on Terror began as soon as Al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Centers and other landmarks on September 11th, 2001. In total, nearly 3,000 civilians died, which makes it the most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history.


Which branch of the military is controlled by the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense?

When it comes to the military branches of the USA, nearly all of them are part of the Department of Defense. The only exception is the Coast Guard, which is instead a part of the Department of Homeland Security.


Which actual day was the U.S. Army founded on?

The Army of the USA has been around for a very long time. It was founded way back on June 14th, 1775, which means it was around before the USA officially gained independence. The Army is headquartered at the Pentagon in Virginia.


How many times has conscription (aka the draft) been used in U.S. history to recruit soldiers?

The draft (or conscription) is when people are required to enlist in the armed services. The USA has only used conscription in five different battles or conflicts and doesn't utilize it anymore.


How many American colonies were there ahead of the American Revolution?

The American Revolution was essentially a colonial revolt in which the Thirteen Colonies of the USA defeated the British. This victory allowed the United States of American to gain independence.


This very important building in Washington D.C. was burned down in the War of 1812 before eventually being rebuilt. Which building are we talking about?

During the War of 1812, the British and their allies carried out a huge attack on Washington DC. During the attack, many different buildings were burned down, including the White House, which was then called the Presidential Mansion.


When did direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War end?

The Vietnam war lasted almost 20 years and left multiple millions of people dead. While the war didn't officially end until 1975, the USA ended its involvement in the war a few years sooner in 1973.


Which horrific and shocking attack was the main reason for the USA entering into the Second World War?

World War II began back in 1939, but the USA didn't find its way into the war until December 7th, 1941. On that date, Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor and took over 2,000 American lives.


When did the American Revolutionary War end and the USA was finally declared independent?

The Revolutionary War is one of the most critical battles in U.S. history. It declared independence for the USA, and the war began on April 19th, 1775, to September 3rd, 1783, when a treaty was signed to end it.


Which city did General William Tecumseh Sherman offer to Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas gift in 1864?

In a telegram sent from General Sherman on December 22nd 1864 to Abraham Lincoln, Sherman offered him a city as a Christmas gift. The city was Savannah, Georgia, which is the oldest city in the state.


Which modern beauty technique used by people all over the world was largely developed during World War I?

While plastic surgery of some types has been happening for thousands of years, the development of modern techniques began during World War I. It was used to care for soldiers who had major facial injuries.


Though he did so illegally, what age was the youngest American that served in World War II?

While the military has a minimum age of 18 to join and serve, some people younger than that have managed to fool them. The youngest of them all was Calvin Graham, shown here, who actually enlisted at the age of 12.


Who was the first-ever U.S. Secretary of Defense, a position that commands the U.S. military?

The Secretary of Defense position was first introduced in 1947, and the inaugural Secretary of Defense was James Forrestal. He was a very successful politician and a very skilled administrator.


How many branches are there in the American military that fight for our country?

The U.S. military and armed forces are made up of five different branches. They are the Army, the Air Force, the Marines, the Navy and the Coast Guard. Each is a separate subdivision with different duties and training.


When did the first woman enlist in the U.S. military?

While there are now a ton of women serving in the U.S. military, this wasn't always the case. Loretta Walsh became the very first woman to serve in the military in a role other than a nurse, and that was way back in 1917.


The U.S. has been in many conflicts, but how many times have they actually and formally declared war on another country?

That's right, the USA has only formally declared war 11 times in five different wars. The first time they declared was 1812, and the last time they did so was back in 1942 as a part of World War II.


Including famine, disease and the fighting itself, how many people died in World War II?

Of all the wars and conflicts on the planet, none have been as deadly as World War II. The war cost the lives of between 70-85 million people around the world. At the time, that was about 3% of the entire world's population.


What eventually caused the USA to officially enter World War I?

Before (and during the early stages of) World War I, the USA had wanted to stay out of military conflicts. However, after a growing fear of German aggression, the USA decided to enter World War I in late 1917.


How many Americans died in the Korean War, which spanned both North and South Korea?

The Korean War was a violent battle that took place in North and South Korea in the early 1950s. About 3 million of people died in the war, including just over 36,000 U.S. military members.


What 1930s laws were made to limit U.S. involvement in future wars?

There was growing turmoil in Europe and Asia throughout the 1930s that ultimately led to World War II. The USA developed the Neutrality Acts of 1930 to ensure that they didn't become involved in foreign conflicts, but it was short-lived. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, shown here, the acts were largely repealed.


What is the highest possible rank in the U.S. Army that only two people have ever held?

There are many different ranks in the U.S. Army, each with a different level of seniority. There is no higher rank than the General of the Armies. As mentioned, only two different people have held this rank: George Washington and John J. Pershing.


How many American Presidents also served in the military at some point in their lives?

The USA has had a total of 44 men serve as president, and a little over half of them have served in the military, like Ulysses S. Grant, shown here. Most have served in either the Army or the Navy, with many since World War II being Navy veterans.


What year were women officially allowed, by law, to serve as permanent and full members of the U.S. military?

While women have been involved in wars for a while, they were either nurses, cooks or other non-combat positions, or they had to pretend to be men. But in 1948, women were given permanent status as regular soldiers.


Which incredibly violent terrorist organization has the USA been at war with since it rose to prominence in 2014?

Over the past few years, ISIS has been one of the largest terrorist threats on the planet. It has been responsible for many large and violent attacks across the planet and has killed numerous individuals. The ISIS flag shown here is also used by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Boko Haram.


How many Americans valiantly fought and served their country in World War II?

The sheer size and participation in World War II are what make it one of the most massive and famous conflicts in world history. The USA contributed to that when they had over 16,000,000 people serve in the war.


In its history as a nation, how many years has the USA been at war?

The USA is nearly 250 years old and has been at war for over 220 of those years. This means the country has only been at peace for a small minority of the time it has officially been a country.


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