1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data (From an exercise-section in a chapter on Lagrange's theorem:) Let G be a finite abelian group and let m be the least common multiple of the order of its elements. Prove that G contains an element of order m. 3. The attempt at a solution We have x^m = e for all x in G. By Lagrange's theorem we have that every order of every element in G is a divisor of |G|. Thus if we could show that m = |G| we would arrive at the desired conclusion. This is however impossible because there are examples of finite Abelian groups for which this property doesn't hold. We do know that |G| is a multiple of all orders of all elements of G, and hence that m <= |G| and m divides |G|. A second approach is letting O be the maximal order of all the elements of G, and then prove that the order of every element of G divides O. A third approach could be to form some kind of a minimal 'basis' for the group of elements b1, ..., bk. Then, every element of G can be written as a product of powers of the elements in the basis. However, in general, the representation nor the basis seems to be unique. None of the three approaches has brought me any progress so far. Is there one I am missing? I also took a glance at the chapter on finitely generated abelian groups. It looks as if it could be of some use with this problem, but it's ten chapters ahead, so I don't think it is necessary to use it. Any hint in the right direction will be appreciated.