A militia /mɪˈlɪʃə/ is generally an army or some other
fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a
nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military
service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of
regular, full-time military personnel, or historically, members of a
warrior nobility class (e.g., knights or samurai). Generally unable to
hold ground against regular forces, it is common for militias to be
used for aiding regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications,
or irregular warfare, instead of being used in offensive campaigns by
Militia are often limited by local civilian laws to serve
only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this
further reduces their use in long military campaigns.
With the emergence of professional forces (in the form of mercenaries
whose livelihood was military service) during the Renaissance, Western
European militias wilted; later however, they would be revived as part
of Florentine civic humanism, which held that professional militaries
were a result of corruption, and admired the Roman model. The civic
humanist ideal of the militia was spread through Europe by the
Niccolò Machiavelli (According to Hörnqvist, The Prince,
ch. 12 and 13, Discourses on Livy, and The Art of War.)
Beginning in the late 20th century, some militias (in particular
officially recognized and sanctioned militias of a government) act as
professional forces, while still being "part-time" or "on-call"
organizations. For instance, the members of some U.S.
Guard units are considered professional soldiers, as they are trained
to maintain the same standards as their "full-time" (active duty)
Militias thus can be military or paramilitary, depending on the
instance. Some of the contexts in which the term "militia" is used
Forces engaged in defense activity or service, to protect a community,
its territory, property, and laws.
The entire able-bodied population of a community, town, county, or
state, available to be called to arms.
A subset of these who may be legally penalized for failing to respond
to a call-up.
A subset of these who actually respond to a call-up, regardless of
A private, non-government force, not necessarily directly supported or
sanctioned by its government.
An irregular armed force enabling its leader to exercise military,
economic, and political control over a subnational territory within a
sovereign state (See: Warlord).
An official reserve army, composed of citizen soldiers. Called by
various names in different countries, such as the
National Guard, or state defense forces.
The national police forces in several former communist states such as
Soviet Union and the
Warsaw Pact countries, but also in the
non-aligned SFR Yugoslavia. The term was inherited in
Russia and other
former CIS countries, where they are known as militsiya.
France the equivalent term "Milice" has become tainted due to its
use by notorious collaborators with Nazi Germany.
A select militia is composed of a small, non-representative portion of
the population, often politicized.
21 New Zealand
22 North Korea
Russia and the Soviet Union
28 Sri Lanka
33 United Kingdom
33.2 16th and 17th centuries
Militia in the British Empire
33.4 Political issues
33.5 18th century and the Acts of Union
33.5.1 British Militia
33.5.2 Irish militia
33.5.3 Scottish militia
33.6 19th century
33.8 The militiamen
33.9 Modern survivals
33.10 Other British militias
The Troubles and Irish War of Independence
34 United States
34.1 19th century
34.2 20th century
34.3 21st century
34.3.1 Active militias
36 SFR Yugoslavia
37 Civic duty
38 See also
39 Citations and notes
41 Further reading
Militia derives from Latin roots:
miles /miːles/ : soldier
-itia /iːtia/ : a state, activity, quality or condition of
The word militia dates back to at least 1590 when it was recorded in a
book by Sir John Smythe, Certain Discourses
Military with the
meanings: a military force; a body of soldiers and military affairs; a
body of military discipline The word
Militia comes from the word
Military and was commonly used in 1700s-1800s
Buenos Aires, which was by then the capital of the Viceroyalty of the
Río de la Plata, was attacked during the British invasions of the
Río de la Plata. As regular military forces were insufficient to
counter the British attackers,
Santiago de Liniers
Santiago de Liniers drafted all males
in the city capable of bearing arms into the military. These recruits
included the criollo peoples, who ranked low down in the social
hierarchy, as well as some slaves. With these reinforcements, the
British armies were twice defeated. The militias became a strong
factor in the politics of the city afterwards, as a springboard from
which the criollos could manifest their political ambitions. They
were a key element in the success of the May Revolution, which deposed
the Spanish viceroy and began the Argentine War of Independence. A
Mariano Moreno derogated the system of promotions involving
criollos,[clarification needed meaning unclear] allowing instead their
promotion on military merit.
Argentine Civil War
Argentine Civil War was waged by militias again, as both
federalists and unitarians drafted common people into their ranks as
part of ongoing conflicts. These irregular armies were organized at a
provincial level, and assembled as leagues depending on political
pacts. This system had declined by the 1870s, mainly due to the
establishment of the modern Argentine Army, drafted for the Paraguayan
War by President Bartolome Mitre. Provincial militias were
outlawed and decimated by the new army throughout the presidential
terms of Mitre, Sarmiento, Avellaneda and Roca.
Armenian fedayi were Armenian irregular armed bands formed in the late
19th and early 20th century to defend Armenian villages.
Main article: Armenian irregular units
Armenian militia, or fedayi played a major role in the independence of
various Armenian states, including Western Armenia, the First Republic
of Armenia, and the currently de facto independent Republic of
Artsakh. Armenian militia also played a role in the Georgia-Abkhazia
War of 1992–1993.
Colony of New South Wales
Colony of New South Wales Governor
Lachlan Macquarie proposed a
colonial militia but the idea was rejected. Governor Ralph Darling
felt a mounted police force was more efficient than a militia. A
military volunteer movement attracted wide interest during the Crimean
War. Following Federation, the various military reserve forces of
Commonwealth of Australia
Commonwealth of Australia became the Citizen
Military Force (CMF).
A citizens' militia modeled on the
British Home Guard
British Home Guard called the
Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC) was founded by the Returned and Services
Australia (RSL) in 1940 in response to the possibility of a
Japanese invasion of Australia. In the beginning, members didn't have
uniforms and often paraded in business attire. They were given
instruction on guerrilla warfare, and later the private organization
was taken over by the Australian
Government and became part of the
Military Forces (AMF). The government supported the
organization and equipped them with anti-aircraft artillery; however,
they were disbanded by the end of
World War II
World War II due to the fact that
there was no longer a significant threat to national security.
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Republikanischer Schutzbund was an Austrian militia formed in 1923,
one of several militias formed in post-
World War I
World War I Austria.
After World War I, multiple militias formed as soldiers returned home
to their villages, only to find many of them occupied by Slovene and
Yugoslav forces. Especially in the southern province of Carinthia the
Volkswehr (Peoples Defense Force) was formed, to fight the occupant
During the First Republic, similar to the development in Germany,
increasing radicalization of politics led to certain paramilitary
militias associating with certain political parties. The Heimwehr
(German: Home Defense) became affiliated with the Christian Social
Party and the
Republikanischer Schutzbund (German: Republican Defense
League) became affiliated with the Social Democratic Workers' Party of
Austria. Violence increasingly escalated, breaking out during the July
Revolt of 1927 and finally the Austrian Civil War, when the Schutzbund
was defeated by the Heimwehr, police,
Gendarmerie and Austrian Armed
World War II
World War II the
Austrian Armed Forces
Austrian Armed Forces (Bundesheer) were
reestablished as a conscript military force. A basic part of it is the
milita, which is a regular reservists force of the Bundesheer,
comparable to the national guard units of the United States. The
conscript soldiers of the milita have to store their military
equipment at home, to be mobilized quite fast within a few days in
case of emergency. The system was established during the
Cold War and
still exists, but the members of the militia now are volunteers only.
See also: Republikanischer Schutzbund, Heimwehr, Bundesheer
Main article: Canadian militia
Canadian units of the War of 1812 and Colonial militia in
Depiction of a mortally wounded
Issac Brock urging the York Volunteers
forward during the Battle of Queenston Heights. The York Volunteers
were a part-time militia unit in the War of 1812.
In Canada the title "Militia" historically referred to the land
component of the armed forces, both regular (full-time) and reserve.
The earliest Canadian militias date from the beginning of the French
colonial period. In New France, King Louis XIV created a compulsory
militia of settlers in every parish that supported French authorities
in the defence and expansion of the colony.
Following the British conquest of New
France in 1760, local militia
units supported British
Army regiments stationed in British North
America. In addition to the Canadian militia, British regiments were
also supported by locally raised regulars (including the 40th Regiment
of Foot, and the 100th (Prince of Wales's Royal Canadian) Regiment of
Fencibles regiments. These regiments were raised through
ordinary modes of recruiting, as opposed to being raised by ballot
like the militia. Most militia units were only activated in time of
war, but remained inactive in between. The battle honours awarded to
these colonial militia regiments are perpetuated by modern regiments
within the Canadian Army.
Defence of the Canadas long relied on a contingent of British
soldiers, as well as support from the Royal Navy. However, the Crimean
War saw the diversion of a significant amount of British soldiers from
British North America. Fearing possible incursions from the United
Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada
Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada passed the
Militia Act of 1855, creating the Active Militia. The Active
Militia, later referred to as the
Permanent Active Militia (PAM), was
created as a full-time professional army, although it continued to use
the label militia. After PAM's formation, the remaining sedentary
militia regiments were collectively referred to as the Non-Permanent
Prior to Canadian Confederation, the colonies that made up the
Maritimes, and Newfoundland maintained their own militias independent
of the Canadian Militia. From 1853 to 1871, the Colony of
Vancouver Island (and the succeeding Colony of British Columbia)
periodically raised and disbanded militia units. These units were
raised for specific purposes, or in response to a specific threat,
real or perceived.
Uniforms of the
Canadian Militia in 1898. The force included the
Permanent Active Militia, a full-time professional land force which
became the Canadian
Army in 1940.
After the Treaty of Washington was signed between the Americans and
British, nearly all remaining British soldiers were withdrawn from
Canada in November 1871. The departure of the majority of British
forces in Canada made the
Canadian militia the only major land forces
available in Canada. In 1940, both components of the militia, PAM and
NPAM were reorganized, and renamed the Canadian Army. NPAM was
integrated into the Canadian
Army as the Army's Primary Reserve.
Militia is still used from then to the present day to refer
to the part-time army reserve component of the Canadian Forces.
Militia troops usually train one night a week and every
other weekend of the month, except in the summer. Summertime training
may consist of courses, individual call-outs, or concentrations (unit
and formation training of one to two weeks' duration). In addition,
Primary Reserve members are increasingly used for voluntary service as
augmentation to the regular force overseas—usually
NATO or United
Nations missions. Most Canadian cities and counties have one or more
In addition to the various colonial militia units, and the regiments
of the Canadian militia, in 1942, the Army's Pacific Command created
the Pacific Coast
Militia Rangers. Intended to function similarly to
the United Kingdom's Home Guard, the Rangers were a secondary defence
force, defending the coast of
British Columbia and
potential Japanese attack. The Rangers were disbanded in September
1945, shortly after the conclusion of World War II. The legacy of the
Militia Rangers is perpetuated by the Canadian Rangers,
a component of the
Primary Reserve that provides a military presence
in areas where it would not be economically or practically viable to
Army units - most notably northern Canada.
Main article: Chinese
China's current militia falls under the leadership of the Communist
Party of China (CPC), and forms part of the Chinese armed forces.
Under the command of the military organs, it undertakes such jobs as
war preparation services, security and defense operational tasks and
assistance in maintaining social order and public security.
Historically, militias of varying levels of ability have existed in
China, organized on a village and clan level, especially during
periods of instability and in areas subject to pirate and bandit
attack. When the British attempted to take control of the New
Territories in 1898, they were resisted by the local militias which
had been formed for mutual defence against pirate raids. Although
ultimately defeated, the militias' dogged resistance convinced the
British to make concessions to the indigenous inhabitants allowing
them to preserve inheritance, property and marriage rights and customs
throughout most of the period of the British rule.
Military of Cuba
Cuba has three militia organizations: The Territorial Troops Militia
(Milicias de Tropas Territoriales) of about one million people (half
women), the Youth Labor
Army (Ejército Juvenil del Trabajo)
devoted to agricultural production, and a naval militia. Formerly,
there existed the
National Revolutionary Militias (Milicias Nacionales
Revolucionarias), which was formed after the
Cuban Revolution and
initially consisted of 200,000 men who helped the 25,000 strong
standing army defeat counter-revolutionary guerillas.
A joint patrol between
Arizona National Guard
Arizona National Guard and the Danish Home
Guard during the Golden Coyote training exercise.
Danish Home Guard
Danish Home Guard (Danish: Hjemmeværnet) (HJV) is the fourth
service of the Danish military. It was formerly concerned only with
the defence of Danish territory but, since 2008, it has also supported
Danish international military efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.
There are five branches:
Army Home Guard, Naval Home Guard, Air Force
Police Home Guard, and Infrastructure Home Guard.
Militia played a major role in repelling the Swedish
The assault on Copenhagen
The assault on Copenhagen in 1659.
Main article: Omakaitse
Omakaitse (Home Guard) was an organisation formed by the local
Estonia on the basis of the
Estonian Defence League
Estonian Defence League and
the forest brothers resistance movement active on the Eastern Front
between 3 July 1941 and 17 September 1944. This
arrangement was unique in the context of the war as in Latvia, which
otherwise shared a common fate with Estonia, there was no organisation
of this kind.
Members of the White Guard after the Battle of Varkaus. The White
Guard was a voluntary militia that fought for the Whites in the
Finnish Civil War.
See also: White Guard (Finland)
While Finland employs conscription, they don't have separate militia
units: all units are organized by and under the command of the Finnish
Defence Forces. All men belong to the reserve until age 50 or 60
depending on rank, and may be called up in case of mobilization. Each
reservist is assigned a position in a unit to be activated. However,
since 2004, the FDF does have territorial forces, organized along the
lines of regular infantry formations, which are composed of
volunteers. Furthermore, long-range patrol units (sissi troops, a type
of special forces) are assigned to local troops.
In history, before Finland became independent, two types of local
militias existed: the White Guards and Red Guards, which were
non-socialists and socialists, respectively. In the Finnish Civil War
(1918) the White Guards founded the White Army, which was victorious
over the Red Guards. White Guards continued their existence as a
volunteer militia until the Second World War. In some cases their
activity found overt political expression as in the Mäntsälä
rebellion. However, in 1934 separate wartime White Guard units were
dissolved and in the Second World War they served at the front,
dispersed in regular units. They were dissolved as a condition of
peace after the Continuation War.
The first notable militia in French history was the resistance of the
Gauls to invasion by the Romans until they were defeated by Julius
Caesar. Centuries later,
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc organized and led a militia
until her capture and execution in 1431. This settled the succession
to the French crown and laid the basis for the formation of the modern
nation of France. During the
French Revolution the term levée en
masse came into use. At the time of the Franco-Prussian War, the
Parisian National Guard, which had been founded during the time of the
French Revolution, engaged the Prussian
Army and later rebelled
against the Versailles
Army under Marshal McMahon.
Under German occupation during World War II, a militia usually called
French Resistance emerged to conduct a guerrilla war of attrition
against German forces and prepare the way for the
Invasion of France. The Resistance militia were opposed by the
collaborationist French Militia—the paramilitary police force of the
German puppet state of Vichy.
The earliest reports of Germanic militias was the system of hundreds
described in 98 AD by the Roman historian
Tacitus as the centeni. They
were similar in nature to the Anglo-Saxon fyrd.
Lützow Free Corps
Lützow Free Corps during the Napoleonic Wars. During the
Napoleonic Wars, the
Freikorps referred to volunteer forces that
fought against the French.
Freikorps (German for "Free Corps") was originally applied to
voluntary armies. The first freikorps were recruited by Frederick II
of Prussia during the Seven Years' War. These troops were regarded as
unreliable by regular armies, so they were mainly used as sentries and
for minor duties. During the Napoleonic occupation, organizations such
as the Lutzow
Freikorps fought against the occupiers and later joined
the allied forces as regular soldiers.
However, after 1918, the term was used for nationalist paramilitary
organizations that sprang up around
Germany as soldiers returned in
defeat from World War I. They were one of the many Weimar paramilitary
groups active during that time. They received considerable support
from Gustav Noske, the German Defence Minister who used them to crush
Spartakist League with enormous violence, including the murders of
Karl Liebknecht and
Rosa Luxemburg on January 15, 1919. Militia
were also used to put down the
Bavarian Soviet Republic
Bavarian Soviet Republic in 1919. They
were officially "disbanded" in 1920, resulting in the ill-fated Kapp
Putsch in March 1920. The Einwohnerwehr, active in
Germany from 1919
to 1921 was a paramilitary citizens' militia consisting of hundreds of
thousands of mostly former servicemen. Formed by the Prussian
Ministry of the Interior on April 15, 1919, to allow citizens to
protect themselves from looters, armed gangs, and revolutionaries, the
Einwohnerwehr was under the command of the local Reichswehr regiments,
which supplied its guns. In 1921, the Berlin government dissolved the
Einwohnerwehr. Many of its members went on to join the Nazi Party.
Volkssturm was a national militia formed by
Nazi Germany in the
last months of World War II.
In 1921 the
Nazi Party created the
Sturmabteilung (SA; Storm
Detachment; Brownshirts), which was the first paramilitary wing of the
Nazi Party and served as a Nazi militia whose initial assignment was
to protect Nazi leaders at rallies and assemblies. The SA also took
part in street battles against the forces of rival political parties
and violent actions against Jews. From the SA sprung the Schutzstaffel
(SS; Protective Squadron) which grew to become one of the largest and
most powerful groups in Nazi Germany, which Reichsführer-SS Heinrich
Himmler (the leader of the SS from 1929) envisioned as an elite group
of guards. The Waffen-SS, the military branch of the SS, became a de
facto fourth branch of the Wehrmacht.
In 1944–1945, as
World War II
World War II came to a close in Europe, the German
high command deployed increasing numbers of
Volkssturm units to combat
duties. These regiments were composed of men, women and children too
old, young or otherwise unfit for service in the
Regular Army). Their primary role was assisting the army with
fortification duties and digging anti-tank ditches. As the shortage of
manpower became severe, they were used as front line infantry, most
often in urban settings. Due to the physical state of members, almost
non-existent training and shortage of weapons, there was not much the
Volkssturm could do except act like shields for regular army units.
However, armed with Panzerfausts and deeply entrenched, a unit of
Volkssturm could cause serious trouble for Soviet
Salwa Judum (meaning "Peace March" or "Purification Hunt" in Gondi
language) is a militia active in the
Chhattisgarh state of India.
Main article: Basij
Basij militia founded by
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in November
1980 is composed of 10,000 regular soldiers. It ultimately draws
from about 11 million members, and is subordinate to the
Army of the
Guardians of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
Peshmerga fighters, 1969. The
Peshmerga are a militia in Iraqi
Main article: Private militias in Iraq
Several armed militia groups are presently active in Iraq. The Mehdi
Army is a sectarian armed force created by the Iraqi Shi'a cleric
Muqtada al-Sadr in June 2003. The
Badr Organization is based in and
around Karbala. The Anbar Salvation Council is a Sunni armed group in
Iraq formed by members of baathist and nationalist elements to fight
Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Kurdish militia, the peshmerga, is estimated to
number upwards of 500,000.
The Awakening Councils or "concerned citizens" are emerging to defend
their neighborhoods against insurgents of every kind, functioning as a
form of vigilante "militia" similar to the model of militia in the
The earliest historical record of militia is found in the Old
Testament and particularly the Book of Judges. In modern times, the
Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is often described as a heavily armed
militia, not a full-fledged army, since it is legally and publicly
viewed as a defensive force only, and since it relies heavily on the
reserve duty of Israeli citizens who are annually called to service
for set periods of time, rather than on professional, full-time
soldiers. Israeli settlements in frontier areas such as the
Galilee, Negev, Judea and Samaria rely on armed militia teams for
their security . National service conscripts can also serve in the
Police (commonly known by its
Hebrew abbreviation Magav
which means border guard in Hebrew), which is a paramilitary branch of
Police rather than the IDF.
Members of the
Latvian National Guard
Latvian National Guard during a training exercise. The
Guard was created in 1991 as a voluntary military self-defense force.
Main articles: Aizsargi, Latvian national partisans, and Latvian
See also: Post-civil war violence in Libya, 2011 Libyan Civil War, and
Libya Shield 1
Since the fall of Gaddafi's rule of Libya in the aftermath of the
Libyan Civil War, rebel groups that have contributed to the revolution
splintered into self-organized militia movements and have been
involved in a feud for control of each city. Since the revolution,
reports of clashes and violence by militia groups have been
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June
The Free-Colored Militia, interracial militias of New Spain, Colonial
Member of the Armed Constabulary shot during the New Zealand wars. The
Constabulary's was a law enforcement agency and a militia until it was
reoriented into a police force in 1886.
Main article: New Zealand Defence Force
Treaty of Waitangi
Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 until 1844 small detachments of
British Imperial troops based in New Zealand were the only military.
This changed as a result of the Flagstaff War, with the colonial
government passing a
Militia Act on 25 March 1845.
were formed in Auckland, Wellington, New Plymouth, and Nelson. Service
in the militia was compulsory.
Many localized militia saw service, together with British Imperial
troops, during the New Zealand land wars. In the late nineteenth
century a system of local Volunteer militias evolved throughout the
country. These were semi-trained but uniformed and administered by a
small number of regular "Imperial" officers. The militia units
were disbanded and reformed as the Territorial
Army in 1911.
Worker-Peasant Red Guards
Worker-Peasant Red Guards is a North Korean paramilitary
organization organized on a provincial/town/city/ village level.
Members of the Norwegian Home Guard.
Main article: Norwegian Home Guard
Militias have played an important role supporting Pakistan's Military
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 when Pakistan, with the support
of militias, was able to gain control of the region which is now known
as Azad Kashmir. Pakistan found the militias volunteering to
participate in the
Indo-Pakistani war of 1965
Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 and the Indo-Pakistani
war of 1971 quite useful as well.
Currently Pakistani citizens forming militias from the Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa province are participating in the 'war on terror'.
Article XVI, Section 4 of the
Philippines Constitution states: "The
Armed Forces of the Philippines shall be composed of a citizen armed
force which shall undergo military training and serve as may be
provided by law."
Portugal had a long tradition in the use of militias for national
defense. Between the 12th and 16th centuries, the municipal militias
– composed of spearmen, pikemen, horsemen, slingers, javelineers,
archers, crossbowmen and later arquebusiers – constituted the main
component of the Portuguese Royal Army, together with smaller military
forces from the King, the military orders and the feudal lords.
After some failed previous attempts, in 1570 King Sebastian of
Portugal created the Ordenanças, a centrally managed military
territorial organization that would replace the municipal militias and
became the basis of a national army. After 60 years of foreign
domination (1580–1640), the
Ordenanças were reorganized for the
Portuguese Restoration War. The Portuguese
Army was then organized in
three lines, with the 2nd and 3rd being militia forces. The
Ordenanças became the 3rd line and acted both as a territorial draft
organization for the 1st and 2nd line troops and as a kind of home
guard for local defense. The 2nd line was made of the auxiliary
troops, also militia units with the role of regional defense. In the
end of the 18th century, the auxiliary troops were renamed "Militias".
In the Peninsular War, the
Militia regiments and the
had an important role in the defense of the country against the
Napoleonic invader army. Still in the 19th century, the
also had an important role in the Liberal Wars, with the majority of
those troops fighting on the side of King Miguel. Besides the regular
militias, a number of volunteer militia units were formed to fight on
both sides of the war.
With the establishment of the constitutional regime, the old Militias
Ordenanças were replaced by a single national militia force, the
National Guard. However, the National Guard revealed itself an
ineffective and undisciplined force. Their units became highly
politicized, being involved in a number of conspiracies and coups. The
National Guard having less and less confidence from the authorities,
became extinct in 1847, terminating a long tradition of national
militias in Portugal.
During the 20th century, some experiments with militia type forces
were made. From 1911 to 1926, the Portuguese
Army was organized as a
militia army. Also, in 1936, the Estado Novo regime created the
Portuguese Legion as a political volunteer militia, dedicated to the
fight against the enemies of country and of the social order. From
World War II, the Portuguese Legion assumed the responsibility for
civil defense, this becoming its main role during the Cold War, until
its extinction in 1974.
Russia and the Soviet Union
Saint Petersburg militia from Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
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Neither the Russian Empire, nor the
Soviet Union ever had an organised
force that could be equated to a militia. Instead a form of
organisation that predated the Russian state was used during national
Narodnoe Opolcheniye (People's Regimentation). More
comparable to the English Fyrd, it was a popular voluntary joining of
the local полк polk, or a regiment, though it had no regular
established strength or officers, these usually elected from prominent
local citizens. Although these spontaneously created popular forces
had participated in several major wars of the Russian Empire,
including in combat, they were not obligated to serve for more than
one year, and notably departed for home during the 1813 campaign in
Germany. On only one occasion, during the military history of the
Soviet Union, the
Narodnoe Opolcheniye was incorporated into the
regular forces of the Red Army, notably in Leningrad and Moscow.
Russia and former Communist Bloc nations was
specifically used to refer to the civilian police force, and should
not be confused with the conventional western definition of militia.
The term, as used in this context, dated from post-revolutionary
Russia in late 1917 and was intended to draw a distinction between the
new Soviet law enforcement agencies and the disbanded Tsarist police.
In some of these states militia was renamed back to police such as
Ukraine while in the other states it remains such as Belarus. In
Russia it was renamed to
Police (in Russian: Полиция,
Politsiya) in March 2011.
The first militias formed in
Sri Lanka were by Lankan Kings, who
raised militia armies for their military campaigns both within and
outside the island. This was due to the reason that the Kings never
maintained a standing army instead had a
Royal Guard during peace time
and formed a militia in wartime.
When the Portuguese who were the first colonial power to dominate the
island raised local militias under the command of local leaders known
as Mudaliyars. These militias took part in the many Portuguese
campaigns against the Lankan Kings. The Dutch continued to employ
these militias but due to their unreliability tended to favor
employing Swiss and Malay mercenaries in their campaigns in the
Sri Lanka Civil Security Force is a paramilitary militia tasked to
serve as an auxiliary to the
Sri Lanka Police.
British Empire then ousted the Dutch from the coastal areas of the
country, and sought to conquer the independent Kandyan Kingdom. In
1802, the British became the first foreign power to raise a regular
unit of Sinhalese with British officers, which was named the 2nd
Ceylon Regiment, also known as the
Sepoy Corps. It fought alongside
British troops in the Kandyan wars. After the
Matale Rebellion led by
Puran Appu in 1848, in which a number of Sinhalese recruits defected
to the side of the rebels, the recruitment of Sinhalese to the British
forces was temporarily halted and the Ceylon Regiments disbanded.
In 1861, the
Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers were raised as a
militia, but soon became a military reserve force. This became the
Ceylon Defence Force in 1910 and consisted of militia units. These
Colombo Town Guard and the Town Guard
Artillery formed during
the two world wars.
With the escalation of the Sri Lankan Civil War, local villagers under
threat of attack were formed into localized militia to protect their
families and homes. According to the Sri Lankan
militias were formed after "massacres done by the LTTE" and in the
early 1990s they were reformed as the Sri Lankan Home Guard. In 2007
the Home Guard became the
Sri Lanka Civil Security Force. In 2008,
the government called for the formation of nearly 15,000 civil defence
committees at the village level for additional protection.
In 2004, the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam claimed have establish a
voluntary "Tamil Eelam auxiliary force". According to the LTTE's then
head of police, the force was to be assigned to tasks such as
rehabilitation, construction, forest conservation and agriculture, but
would also be used to battle the Sri Lankan military if the need
arose. In early 2009 it ceased to exist with the military
defeat of the
LTTE at the hands of the
Sri Lanka Armed Forces.
Janjaweed militiaman. The
Janjaweed are a militia operating
Sudan and eastern Chad.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June
Janjaweed militia consists of armed
Arab Muslims fighting for the
Khartoum against non-Arab Muslim "rebels". They are
active in the
Darfur region of western
Sudan and also in eastern Chad.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch these partisans are responsible for
abuses including war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic
As of 2012, the
Swedish Home Guard
Swedish Home Guard consists of 22,000 organized into
40 light infantry battalions of 300–700 Guardsmen. These battalions
are then organised into companies, usually one for every municipality.
The main task of the battalions is to guard vital military and
civilian installations throughout the country.
In 2001, the Rapid Response units numbered around 5,000 soldiers of
the total of 42,000. As of 2014, the majority of the force, 17,000 out
of 22,000 soldiers will be in Rapid Response units. The decrease in
number of troops comes with an equal increase in quality and modern
equipment. These units are motorized and are ready to be mobilized
more often, than other Home Guard units. Rapid response units have
more combat tasks compared to the rest of the Home Guard, including
escort duties. Some battalions located near the coast also have marine
companies equipped with Combat Boat 90. A few battalions have recently
set up 'specialized' companies to evaluate the possibility to add new
abilities to the Home Guard. These are at the time of writing eight
reconnaissance/intelligence companies, four CBRN-platoons, a movcon
platoon, an engineer platoon, and a military police unit.
Main article: Conscription in Switzerland
One of the best known and ancient militias is the Swiss Armed Forces.
Switzerland has long maintained, proportionally, the second largest
military force in the world, with about half the proportional amount
of reserve forces of the Israeli Defense Forces, a militia of some 33%
of the total population. The "militia principle" of public duties is
central to Swiss political culture.
Article 58.1 of the April 18, 1999, Federal Constitution of the
Swiss Confederation (official, French version) provides that
Switzerland has an army. It is primarily organised according to the
principle of a militia." However, under the country's militia system,
professional soldiers constitute about 5 percent of military
personnel. In 1995, the number of soldiers was reduced to 400,000
(including reservists, amounting to some 5.6% of the population) and
again in 2004, to 200,000 (including 80,000 reservists, or 2.5% of the
population). However, the Swiss
Militia continues to consist of most
of the adult male population (with voluntary participation by women)
who are required to keep an assault rifle at home and to periodically
engage in combat and marksmanship training. The militia clauses of
the Swiss Federal Constitution are contained in Art. 59, where it is
referred to as "military service" (German: Militärdienst; French:
service militaire; Italian: servizio militare; Romansh: servetsch
Main article: National Defense Force (Syria)
The Syrian National Defense Force was formed out of pro-government
militias. They receive their salaries and their military equipment
from the government and as of 2013 numbers around
100,000. The force acts in an infantry role, directly fighting
against rebels on the ground and running counter-insurgency operations
in coordination with the army which provides them with logistical and
artillery support. Unlike the Syrian Army, NDF soldiers are allowed to
take loot from battlefields, which can then be sold on for extra
Militia (English) and
Militia (United Kingdom)
The obligation to serve in the militia in England derives from a
common law tradition, and dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. The
tradition was that all able-bodied males were liable to be called out
to serve in one of two organisations. These were the posse comitatus,
an ad hoc assembly called together by a law officer to apprehend
lawbreakers, and the fyrd, a military body intended to preserve
internal order or defend the locality against an invader. The latter
developed into the militia, and was usually embodied by a royal
warrant. Service in each organisation involved different levels of
16th and 17th centuries
With the decay of the feudal system and the military revolution of the
16th century, the militia began to become an important institution in
English life. It was organised on the basis of the shire county, and
was one of the responsibilities of the Lord Lieutenant, a royal
official (usually a trusted nobleman). Each of the county hundreds was
likewise the responsibility of a Deputy Lieutenant, who relayed orders
to the justices of the peace or magistrates. Every parish furnished a
quota of eligible men, whose names were recorded on muster rolls.
Likewise, each household was assessed for the purpose of finding
weapons, armour, horses, or their financial equivalent, according to
their status. The militia was supposed to be mustered for training
purposes from time to time, but this was rarely done. The militia
regiments were consequently ill-prepared for an emergency, and could
not be relied upon to serve outside their own counties. This state of
affairs concerned many people. Consequently, an elite force was
created, composed of members of the militia who were prepared to meet
regularly for military training and exercise. These were formed into
trained band regiments, particularly in the City of London, where the
Artillery Ground was used for training. The trained bands performed an
important role in the
English Civil War
English Civil War on the side of parliament, in
marching to raise the siege of
Gloucester (5 September 1643). Except
for the London trained bands, both sides in the Civil War made little
use of the militia, preferring to recruit their armies by other
Militia in the British Empire
Militia (British Dominions and Crown Colonies)
Captain John Smith's 1624 map of the Somers Isles (Bermuda), showing
St. George's Town and related fortifications, including the Castle
Islands Fortifications with their garrisons of militiamen
As successful English settlement of North America began to take place
in 1607 in the face of the hostile intentions of the powerful Spanish,
and of the native populations, it became immediately necessary to
raise militia amongst the settlers. The militia in Jamestown saw
constant action against the
Powhatan Federation and other native
polities. In the
Virginia Company's other outpost, Bermuda,
fortification began immediately in 1612. A Spanish attack in 1614 was
repulsed by two shots fired from the incomplete Castle Islands
Fortifications manned by Bermudian Militiamen. In the Nineteenth
Bermuda would become Britain's Gibraltar of the
West, heavily fortified by a Regular
Army garrison to protect the
Royal Navy's headquarters and dockyard in the Western Atlantic.
In the 17th Century, however, Bermuda's defence was left entirely in
the hands of the Militia. In addition to requiring all male civilians
to train and serve in the militia of their Parish, the Bermudian
Militia included a standing body of trained artillerymen to garrison
the numerous fortifications which ringed New London (St. George's).
This standing body was created by recruiting volunteers, and by
sentencing criminals to serve as punishment. The Bermudian militiamen
were called out on numerous occasions of war, and, on one notable
occasion, to quell rioting privateers. The 1707 Acts of Union made
Bermudian and other English militiamen British. The
Militia in Bermuda
came to include a Troop of Horse (mounted infantry) and served
alongside volunteers and (from 1701) a small body of regulars. The
Militia faded away after the American
War of 1812
War of 1812 when the Parliament
Bermuda declined to renew the
Militia Act. This resulted from the
build-up of the regular army
Bermuda Garrison along with Bermuda's
development as the headquarters and dockyard of the North America and
West Indies Station of the Royal Navy, which made the militia seem
excess to need. Vast sums of the Imperial defence expenditure were
lavished on fortifying
Bermuda during the Nineteenth Century and the
Government cajoled, implored, begged, and threatened the
colonial legislature for 80 years before it raised a militia and
volunteer units (in 1894 and 1894 respectively). Although the militia
had historically been an infantry force, many units in Britain had
been re-tasked as militia artillery from the 1850s onward due to the
increased importance of the coastal artillery defences and the new
militia unit in
Bermuda followed suit. Titled the
Artillery, it was badged and uniformed as part of the Royal Artillery,
and tasked with the garrison artillery role, manning coastal
batteries. As in Britain, recruitment was of volunteers who engaged
for terms of service, whereas the
Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps was
organised on the same lines as volunteer rifle corps in Britain.
Recruitment to the BVRC was restricted to whites, but the BMA
recruited primarily coloured (those who were not entirely of European
heritage) other ranks, though its officers were all white until 1953.
Neither unit was reorganised in 1908 when the Militia, Volunteer Force
Yeomanry in Britain merged into the Territorial Force, but the
BVRC was re-organised as a territorial in 1921 and the BMA in 1926.
The BVRC name was not modified to
Bermuda Rifles until 1951, however,
Artillery (and from 1939 the
Infantry) continued to be titled as militia until amalgamated with the
Bermuda Rifles in 1965 to form the
In British India, a special class of militia was established in 1907.
This took the form of the Frontier Corps, which consisted of locally
recruited full-time auxiliaries under British officers. Their role
combined the functions of tribal police and border guards deployed
along the North-West Frontier. Regional units included the Zhob
Militia, the Kurram Militia, and the Chagai Militia. After 1946 the
Frontier Corps became part of the modern Pakistan Army.
Glorious Revolution in 1688 the Crown and Parliament were in
strong disagreement. The
English Civil War
English Civil War left a rather unusual
military legacy. Both Whigs and
Tories distrusted the creation of a
large standing army not under civilian control. The former feared that
it would be used as an instrument of royal tyranny. The latter had
memories of the New Model
Army and the anti-monarchical social and
political revolution that it brought about. Both preferred a small
standing army under civilian control for defensive deterrence and to
prosecute foreign wars, a large navy as the first line of national
defence, and a militia composed of their neighbours as additional
defence and to preserve domestic order.
English Bill of Rights
English Bill of Rights (1689) declared, amongst
other things: "that the raising or keeping a standing army within the
kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is
against law..." and "that the subjects which are Protestants may have
arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by
law." This implies that they are fitted to serve in the militia, which
was intended to serve as a counterweight to the standing army and
preserve civil liberties against the use of the army by a tyrannical
monarch or government.
The Crown still (in the British constitution) controls the use of the
army. This ensures that officers and enlisted men swear an oath to a
politically neutral head of state, and not to a politician. While the
funding of the standing army subsists on annual financial votes by
parliament, the Mutiny Act, superseded by the
Army Act, and now the
Armed Forces Act is also renewed on an annual basis by
Parliament. If it lapses, the legal basis for
enforcing discipline disappears, and soldiers lose their legal
indemnity for acts committed under orders.
With the creation of the British Empire, militias were also raised in
the colonies, where little support could be provided by regular
forces. Overseas militias were first raised in Jamestown, Virginia,
and in Bermuda, where the
Militia followed over the next two
centuriesa similar trajectory to that in Britain.
18th century and the Acts of Union
In 1707 the Acts of Union united the
Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England with the
Kingdom of Scotland. The Scottish navy was incorporated into the Royal
Navy. The Scottish military (as opposed to naval) forces merged with
the English, with pre-existing regular Scottish regiments maintaining
their identities, though command of the new British
Army was from
England. How this affected militias either side of the border is
Militia (Great Britain) and
Militia (United Kingdom)
A review of the Northampton Militia. Formed in 1763, it men were
selected by ballot to serve for a period of time.
Militia Act of 1757 created a more professional force. Better
records were kept, and the men were selected by ballot to serve for
longer periods; specific provision was made for members of the
Religious Society of Friends, Quakers, to be exempted, as
conscientious objectors, from compulsory enlistment in the militia.
Proper uniforms and better weapons were provided, and the force was
'embodied' from time to time for training sessions.
The militia was widely embodied at various times during the French and
Napoleonic Wars. It served at several vulnerable locations, and was
particularly stationed on the South Coast and in Ireland. A number of
camps were held at Brighton, where the militia regiments were reviewed
by the Prince Regent. (This is the origin of the song "Brighton
Camp".) The militia could not be compelled to serve overseas, but it
was seen as a training reserve for the army, as bounties were offered
to men who opted to 'exchange' from the militia to the regular army.
The Parliament of
Ireland passed an act in 1715 raising regiments of
militia in each county and county corporate. Membership was restricted
to Protestants between the ages of 16 and 60. In 1793, during the
Napoleonic Wars, the Irish militia were reorganised to form
thirty-seven county and city regiments. While officers of the
reorganised force were Protestant, membership of the other ranks was
now made available to members of all denominations.
In the late 17th century came calls for the resurrection of militia in
Scotland that had the understated aim of protecting the rights of
Scots from English oppression. The 1757
Militia Act did not apply
in Scotland. The old traditional system continued, so that militia
regiments only existed in some places. This was resented by some and
Militia Club, soon to become the Poker Club, was formed to promote
the raising of a Scottish militia. This and several other Edinburgh
clubs became the crucible of the Scottish Enlightenment. The Militia
Act 1797 empowered Scottish Lord Lieutenants to raise and command
militia regiments in each of the "Counties, Stewartries, Cities, and
Places" under their jurisdiction.
The Prince of Wales reviewing the Norfolk Militia, 1872. By the
mid-19th century, the militia had become a volunteer force.
Although muster rolls were prepared as late as 1820, the element of
compulsion was abandoned, and the militia transformed into a volunteer
force, revived by the
Militia Act of 1852. It was intended to be seen
as an alternative to the army. Men would volunteer and undertake basic
training for several months at an army depot. Thereafter, they would
return to civilian life, but report for regular periods of military
training (usually on the weapons ranges) and an annual two-week
training camp. In return, they would receive military pay and a
financial retainer, a useful addition to their civilian wage. Of
course, many saw the annual camp as the equivalent of a paid holiday.
The militia thus appealed to agricultural labourers, colliers and the
like, men in casual occupations, who could leave their civilian job
and pick it up again. Until 1852 the militia were an entirely infantry
force, but from that year a number of county infantry regiments were
converted to artillery and new ones raised. In 1877 the militia of
Anglesey and Monmouthshire were converted to engineers. Under the
reforms, introduced by
Secretary of State for War
Secretary of State for War
Hugh Childers in
1881, the remaining militia infantry regiments were redesignated as
numbered battalions of regiments of the line, ranking after the two
regular battalions. Typically, an English, Welsh or Scottish regiment
would have two militia battalions (the 3rd and 4th) and Irish
regiments three (numbered 3rd–5th).
The militia must not be confused with the volunteer units created in a
wave of enthusiasm in the second half of the nineteenth century. In
contrast with the Volunteer Force, and the similar
they were considered rather plebeian.
Recruitment poster for the British Territorial
Army during World War
II. The reserve force was formed after the militias were reorganized
The militia was transformed into the
Special Reserve by the military
reforms of Haldane in the reforming post 1906 Liberal government. In
1908 the militia infantry battalions were redesignated as "reserve"
and a number were amalgamated or disbanded. Numbered Territorial Force
battalions, ranking after the
Special Reserve, were formed from the
volunteer units at the same time. Altogether, 101 infantry battalions,
33 artillery regiments and two engineer regiments of special
reservists were formed. Upon mobilisation, the special reserve
units would be formed at the depot and continue training while
guarding vulnerable points in Britain. The special reserve units
remained in Britain throughout the First World War, but their rank and
file did not, since the object of the special reserve was to supply
drafts of replacements for the overseas units of the regiment. The
original militiamen soon disappeared, and the battalions simply became
training units. The
Special Reserve reverted to its militia
designation in 1921, then to Supplementary Reserve in 1924, though the
units were effectively placed in "suspended animation" until disbanded
The name was briefly revived in the
Military Training Act 1939, in the
aftermath of the Munich Crisis. Leslie Hore-Belisha, Secretary of
State for War, wished to introduce a limited form of conscription, not
known in peacetime Britain since the militia of the early 19th century
and previously. It was thought that calling the conscripts
'militiamen' would make this more acceptable, as it would render them
distinct from the rest of the army. Only single men aged 20 up to the
day before their 22nd birthday were to be conscripted, for six months
full-time training before discharge into the reserve (with a free suit
of civilian clothing). Although the first intake was called up in late
July 1939, the declaration of war on 3 September entailed
implementation of full-time conscription for all men aged 18–41,
superseding the militia, never to be revived.
An officer of the Royal
Militia of the Island of Jersey. The unit is
one of two regiments in the Territorial
Army that maintain their
Three units still maintain their militia designation in the British
Army, two in the Territorial
Army and one in the
Army Cadet Force.
These are the
Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers
Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (formed in 1539),
the Jersey Field Squadron (The Royal
Militia Island of Jersey) (formed
in 1337), and the Royal Alderney
Militia (created in the 13th century
and reformed in 1984). Additionally, the
Atholl Highlanders are a
ceremonial infantry militia maintained by the Duke of Atholl—they
are the only legal private army in Europe.
Other British militias
Various other part-time, home defence organisations have been raised
during times of crisis or perceived threat, although without the word
"militia" in their title. These have included:
Volunteer Corps, part of the British anti-invasion preparations of
Fencibles, part of the British anti-invasion preparations of
Sea Fencibles, a volunteer coastal defence force in the Napoleonic
Yeomanry, volunteer cavalry initially raised in the Napoleonic Wars
Volunteer Force, from 1857 to 1908
Volunteer Training Corps, 1914 to 1918
National Defence Companies, 1936 to 1939
Home Guard, initially Local Defence Volunteers, 1940 to 1944 and 1951
Ulster Defence Regiment, 1970 to 1992
Home Service Force, 1982 to 1992
The Troubles and Irish War of Independence
The Troubles and Irish War of Independence
The various non-state paramilitary groups involved in the 20th-century
conflicts in Northern
Ireland and the island of Ireland, such as the
various Irish Republican
Army groups and loyalist paramilitaries,
could also be described as militias and are occasionally referred to
Ulster Defence Regiment
Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was a locally raised professional
militia instituted by an
Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament in December 1969, becoming
operational on 1 April 1970. Created as a non-partisan force to defend
Ireland "against armed attack or sabotage", it eventually
peaked at 11 battalions with 7,559 men and women. 197 soldiers of the
UDR, including four women, were killed as active servicemen, with a
further 61 killed after leaving the regiment, mostly by the
Provisional Irish Republican Army. As a result of defence cuts it was
eventually reduced to 7 battalions before being amalgamated with the
Royal Irish Rangers
Royal Irish Rangers in 1992 to form the "Home Service Battalions" of
the Royal Irish Regiment.
Militia (United States)
The history of militia in the
United States dates from the colonial
era, such as in the American Revolutionary War. Based on the
English system, colonial militias were drawn from the body of adult
male citizens of a community, town, or local region. Because there was
no standing English
Army before the English Civil War, and
subsequently the English
Army and later the British
Army had few
regulars garrisoning North America, colonial militia served a vital
role in local conflicts, particularly in the French and Indian Wars.
Before shooting began in the American War of Independence, American
revolutionaries took control of the militia system, reinvigorating
training and excluding men with Loyalist inclinations. Regulation
of the militia was codified by the
Second Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress with
the Articles of Confederation. The revolutionaries also created a
full-time regular army—the Continental Army—but because of
manpower shortages the militia provided short-term support to the
regulars in the field throughout the war.
Depiction of American militiamen firing at British infantry during the
Battle of Guilford Courthouse
Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781.
In colonial era Anglo-American usage, militia service was
distinguished from military service in that the latter was normally a
commitment for a fixed period of time of at least a year, for a
salary, whereas militia was only to meet a threat, or prepare to meet
a threat, for periods of time expected to be short.
were normally expected to provide their own weapons, equipment, or
supplies, although they may later be compensated for losses or
expenditures. A related concept is the jury, which can be regarded
as a specialized form of militia convened to render a verdict in a
court proceeding (known as a petit jury or trial jury) or to
investigate a public matter and render a presentment or indictment
With the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and Article 1 Section 8 of
United States Constitution, control of the army and the power to
direct the militia of the states was concurrently delegated to the
federal Congress. The
Militia Clauses gave Congress authority for
"organizing, arming, and disciplining" the militia, and "governing
such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United
States", with the States retaining authority to appoint officers and
to impose the training specified by Congress. Proponents describe a
key element in the concept of "militia" was that to be "genuine" it
not be a "select militia", composed of an unrepresentative subset of
the population. This was an argument presented in the ratification
The first legislation on the subject was the
Militia Act of 1792
Militia Act of 1792 which
provided, in part:
That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the
respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of
eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is
herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in
the militia, ... every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall,
within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or
Uniformed American militiamen during the American Civil War.
During the nineteenth century, each of the states maintained its
militia differently, some more than others. American militia saw
action in the various Indian Wars, the War of 1812, the American Civil
War, and the Spanish–American War. Sometimes militia units were
found to be unprepared, ill-supplied, and unwilling. Prior
to the Civil War, militia units were sometimes used by southern states
for slave control. Formed in 1860, Republican Party-affiliated Wide
Awakes clubs were quick to take action to defend persons against
southern slave-hunters. In California, the militia carried out
campaigns against bandits and against the Indians at the direction of
its Governor between 1850 and 1866. During Reconstruction after the
Civil War, Republican state governments had militias composed almost
entirely of freed slaves and populist whites. Their deployment to
maintain order in the former Confederate states caused increased
resentment among many Southern whites.
After the American Civil War, secret groups like the
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan and
Knights of the White Camellia
Knights of the White Camellia arose quickly across the South, reaching
a peak in the late 1860s. Even more significant in terms of effect
were private militias: paramilitary organizations that formed starting
in 1874, including the
White League in Louisiana, which quickly formed
chapters in other states; the Red Shirts in
Mississippi in 1875, and
with force in[clarification needed]
South Carolina and North Carolina;
and other "white line" militias and rifle clubs.
In contrast to the KKK, these paramilitary organizations were open;
members were often well known in their communities. Nevertheless, they
used force, intimidation, and violence, including murder, to push out
Republican officeholders, break up organizing, and suppress freedmen's
voting and civil rights. The paramilitary groups were described as
"the military arm of the Democratic Party" and were instrumental in
helping secure Democratic victories in the South in the elections of
Militia organizations in the United States
Members of the
National Guard of the United States
National Guard of the United States undergoing
self-defense training. The force was created in 1903 as an organized
Militia Act of 1903
Militia Act of 1903 divided what had been the militia into what it
termed the "organized" militia, created from portions of the former
state guards to become state National Guard units, and the
"unorganized" militia consisting of all males from ages 17 to 45, with
the exception of certain officials and others, which is codified in 10
U.S.C. § 311. Some states, such as Texas, California, and
Ohio, created separate state defense forces for assistance in local
emergencies. Congress later established a system of "dual
enlistment" for the National Guard, so that anyone who enlisted in the
National Guard also enlisted in the U.S. Army. When the U.S. Air
Force was established as an independent service in 1947, the National
Guard was further divided into the
Army National Guard and the Air
National Guard. Under this construct, the 1933 defense act's "dual
enlistment" facet was further amended so that enlisted soldiers and
commissioned officers in the
Army National Guard were also enlisted or
commissioned in the Reserve Component of the U.S. Army. Enlisted
airmen and commissioned officers in the
Air National Guard
Air National Guard were also
enlisted or commissioned in the Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the
U.S. Air Force.
Privately organized citizen militia-related groups blossomed in the
mid-1990s, which collectively became known as the constitutional
militia movement. The supporters have not been affiliated with any
government organization, although many have been military and law
enforcement veterans.[need quotation to verify]
In its original sense, militia meant "the state, quality, condition,
or activity of being a fighter or warrior." It can be thought of as
"combatant activity", "the fighter frame of mind", "the militant
mode", "the soldierly status", or "the warrior way". In this
latter usage, a militia is a body of private persons who respond to an
emergency threat to public safety, usually one that requires an armed
response, but which can also include ordinary law enforcement or
disaster responses. The act of bringing to bear arms contextually
changes the status of the person, from peaceful citizen, to warrior
citizen. The militia is the sum total of persons undergoing this
change of state. Persons have been said to engage in militia in
response to a "call up" by any person aware of the emergent threat
requiring the response, and thence to be in "called up" status until
the emergency is past. There is no minimum size to militia, and a
solitary act of defense, including self-defense, can be thought of as
one person calling up himself to defend the community, represented by
himself or others, and to enforce the law.[need quotation to
verify] See citizen's arrest and hue and cry.
In the 2008 decision of the Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v.
Heller, the de jure definition of "militia" as used in United States
jurisprudence was discussed. The Court's opinion made explicit, in its
obiter dicta, that the term "militia," as used in colonial times in
this originalist decision, included both the federally organized
militia and the citizen-organized militias of the several States: "...
the 'militia' in colonial America consisted of a subset of 'the
people'—those who were male, able-bodied, and within a certain age
range" (7) ... Although the militia consists of all able-bodied men,
the federally-organized militia may consist of a subset of
State defense forces
Basic orientation for the Texas State Guard. The Guard is a state
defense force, military units under the sole authority of the state
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The most important previous activity of the Texas
Militia was the
Texas Revolution in 1836. Texans declared independence from Mexico
while they were defeated during the Battle of the Alamo, in March
1836. On April 21, 1836, led by Sam Houston, the
Militia attacked the
Army at their camp, in the
Battle of San Jacinto
Battle of San Jacinto near the
present city of Houston. Following the war, some militia units
reorganized into what was later to be known as the Texas Rangers,
which was a private, volunteer effort for several years before
becoming an official organization. After Texas joined the Union of the
United States in 1845, Texas militia units participated in the
In 1861 Texas joined the other
Confederate States in seceding from the
Union, and Texas militias played a role in the American Civil War,
until it ended in 1865. Texas militiamen joined Theodore Roosevelt's
Rough Riders, a volunteer militia, and fought with him during the
Spanish–American War in 1898. Some of the training of the Rough
Riders took place in San Pedro Park, in the north central part of San
Antonio near the present site of San Antonio College. When a muster of
Militia proposed to train there on April 19, 1994, they were
threatened with arrest, even though the charter of San Pedro Park
forbids exclusion of activities of that kind. This threat led to a
change of the meeting site. Like many other American states, Texas
maintains a recognized State Militia, the Texas State Guard.
Militia (Dân quân) is a part of Vietnam's armed forces.
The Forces are organized in communes, wards and townships and are put
under commune-level military commands. Vietnam
Militia has two
Militia (nòng cốt) and General
rãi). The term of service in the core militia is 4 years.
Main article: Territorial Defense Forces (Yugoslavia)
Beside the federal Yugoslav People's Army, each constituent republic
of the former
SFR Yugoslavia had its own Territorial Defense Forces.
The Non-Aligned Yugoslavia was concerned about an eventual aggression
from any of the superpowers, especially by the
Warsaw Pact after the
Prague Spring, so the Territorial Defense Forces were formed as an
integral part of the total war military doctrine called Total National
Defense. Those forces corresponded to military reserve forces,
paramilitary or militia, the latter, in the military meaning of the
term (like military formation). It should not be confused with the
Milicija which was a term for a police.
Militia Information Service (MIS), an Australian not-for-profit
organization, asserts that membership in the militia is a civic duty
that helps to deter crime, tyranny, and crimes against humanity like
genocide. The MIS urges all competent, law-abiding adults to "obtain a
military type rifle and pistol like those commonly used by soldiers in
their nation's armed forces and use them regularly (target shooting,
hunting, etc.) in order to become proficient with them."
Violent non-state actor
Citations and notes
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