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War is an intense armed conflict between states,
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government i ...
s,
societies A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societ ...
, or
paramilitary A paramilitary is an organization whose structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is not part of a country's official or legitimate armed forces. Paramilitary units carr ...
groups such as
mercenaries A mercenary, sometimes also known as a soldier of fortune or hired gun, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, that joins a military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any ...
,
insurgents An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion against authority waged by small, lightly armed bands who practice guerrilla warfare from primarily rural base areas. The key descriptive feature of insurgency is its asymmetric nature: small irreg ...
, and
militia A militia () is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subjects of a state, who may perform military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of r ...
s. It is generally characterized by extreme
violence Violence is the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy. Other definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization's definition of violence as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened o ...
, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular
military forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct ...
. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general.
Total war Total war is a type of warfare that includes any and all civilian-associated resources and infrastructure as legitimate military targets, mobilizes all of the resources of society to fight the war, and gives priority to warfare over non-combat ...
is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive
civilian Civilians under international humanitarian law are "persons who are not members of the armed forces" and they are not "combatants if they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war". It is slightly different from a non-combatant, ...
or other
non-combatant Non-combatant is a term of art in the law of war and international humanitarian law to refer to civilians who are not taking a direct part in hostilities; persons, such as combat medics and military chaplains, who are members of the belligere ...
suffering and
casualties A casualty, as a term in military usage, is a person in military service, combatant or non-combatant, who becomes unavailable for duty due to any of several circumstances, including death, injury, illness, capture or desertion. In civilian usag ...
. While some
war studies War studies, sometimes called polemology, is the multi-disciplinary study of war. It pertains to the military, diplomatic, philosophical, social, political, psychological or economic dimensions of human conflict. The word ''polemology'' derives f ...
scholars consider war a universal and ancestral aspect of
human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental dispositions and characteristics—including ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—that humans are said to have naturally. The term is often used to denote the essence of humankind, or w ...
, others argue it is a result of specific socio-cultural, economic or ecological circumstances.


Etymology

The English word ''war'' derives from the 11th-century
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th c ...
words ''wyrre'' and ''werre'', from Old French ''werre'' (also ''guerre'' as in modern French), in turn from the
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks, a Germanic tribe and their culture ** Frankish language or its modern descendants, Franconian languages * Francia, a post-Roman state in France and Germany * East Francia, the successor state to Francia in Germany ...
*''werra'', ultimately deriving from the
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. Proto-Germanic eventually developed from pre-Proto-Germanic into three Germanic bra ...
*''werzō'' 'mixture, confusion'. The word is related to the
Old Saxon Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language and the earliest recorded form of Low German (spoken nowadays in Northern Germany, the northeastern Netherlands, southern Denmark, the Americas and parts of Eastern Europe). It is ...
''werran'',
Old High German Old High German (OHG; german: Althochdeutsch (Ahd.)) is the earliest stage of the German language, conventionally covering the period from around 750 to 1050. There is no standardised or supra-regional form of German at this period, and Old High ...
''werran'', and the German ''verwirren'', meaning "to confuse", "to perplex", and "to bring into confusion".


History

The earliest evidence of
prehistoric warfare Prehistoric warfare refers to war that occurred between societies without recorded history. The existence — and even the definition — of war in humanity's hypothetical state of nature has been a controversial topic in the history of ideas at ...
is a
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek: μέσος, ''mesos'' 'middle' + λίθος, ''lithos'' 'stone') or Middle Stone Age is the Old World archaeological period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synonymousl ...
cemetery in
Jebel Sahaba Jebel Sahaba ( ar, جَبَل ٱلصَّحَابَة, Jabal Aṣ-Ṣaḥābah, lit=Mountain of the Companions; also Site 117) is a prehistoric cemetery site in the Nile Valley (now submerged in Lake Nasser), near the northern border of Sudan wit ...
, which has been determined to be approximately 14,000 years old. About forty-five percent of the skeletons there displayed signs of violent death.Keeley, Lawrence H: ''War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage''. p. 37. Since the rise of the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, United States * ''Our S ...
some 5,000 years ago, military activity has occurred over much of the globe. The advent of
gunpowder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur, carbon (in the form of charcoal) and potassium nitrate (saltpeter). ...
and the acceleration of technological advances led to modern warfare. According to Conway W. Henderson, "One source claims that 14,500 wars have taken place between 3500 BC and the late 20th century, costing 3.5 billion lives, leaving only 300 years of peace (Beer 1981: 20)." An unfavorable review of this estimate mentions the following regarding one of the proponents of this estimate: "In addition, perhaps feeling that the war casualties figure was improbably high, he changed 'approximately 3,640,000,000 human beings have been killed by war or the diseases produced by war' to 'approximately 1,240,000,000 human beings...&c.'" The lower figure is more plausible, but could still be on the high side considering that the 100 deadliest acts of mass violence between 480 BC and 2002 AD (wars and other man-made disasters with at least 300,000 and up to 66 million victims) claimed about 455 million human lives in total. Primitive warfare is estimated to have accounted for 15.1% of deaths and claimed 400 million victims. Added to the aforementioned figure of 1,240 million between 3500 BC and the late 20th century, this would mean a total of 1,640,000,000 people killed by war (including deaths from famine and disease caused by war) throughout the history and pre-history of mankind. For comparison, an estimated 1,680,000,000 people died from infectious diseases in the 20th century. In '' War Before Civilization'',
Lawrence H. Keeley Lawrence H. Keeley (August 24, 1948 – October 11, 2017) was an American archaeologist best known for pioneering the field of microwear analysis of lithics. He is also known for his 1996 book, ''War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peace ...
, a professor at the
University of Illinois The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I, Illinois, University of Illinois, or UIUC) is a public land-grant research university in Illinois in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana. It is the flagship institution of the Universi ...
, says approximately 90–95% of known societies throughout history engaged in at least occasional warfare, and many fought constantly. Keeley describes several styles of primitive combat such as small raids, large raids, and massacres. All of these forms of warfare were used by primitive societies, a finding supported by other researchers. Keeley explains that early war raids were not well organized, as the participants did not have any formal training. Scarcity of resources meant defensive works were not a cost-effective way to protect the society against enemy raids.Keeley, Lawrence H: ''War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage''. p. 55.
William Rubinstein William D. Rubinstein (born 12 August 1946) is a historian and author. His best-known work, ''Men of Property: The Very Wealthy in Britain Since the Industrial Revolution'', charts the rise of the ' super rich', a class he sees as expanding ex ...
wrote "Pre-literate societies, even those organised in a relatively advanced way, were renowned for their studied cruelty...'archaeology yields evidence of prehistoric massacres more severe than any recounted in ethnography .e., after the coming of the Europeans'" In Western Europe, since the late 18th century, more than 150 conflicts and about 600 battles have taken place.World War One – A New Kind of War , Part II
, From ''14 – 18 Understanding the Great War'', by Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, Annette Becker
During the 20th century, war resulted in a dramatic intensification of the pace of social changes, and was a crucial catalyst for the emergence of the political Left as a force to be reckoned with.: "War in this century became an essential precondition for the emergence of a numerically powerful Left, moving it from the margins to the very center of European politics during 1917–18 and of all world affairs after 1941". In 1947, in view of the rapidly increasingly destructive consequences of modern warfare, and with a particular concern for the consequences and costs of the newly developed
atom bomb A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission (fission bomb) or a combination of fission and fusion reactions (thermonuclear bomb), producing a nuclear explosion. Both bomb ...
,
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most influential physicists of all time. Einstein is best known for developing the theory ...
famously stated, "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Nuclear Age Peace Foundation paper
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the founder of the People's Republic of China (P ...
urged the socialist camp not to fear
nuclear war Nuclear warfare, also known as atomic warfare, is a theoretical military conflict or prepared political strategy that deploys nuclear weaponry. Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction; in contrast to conventional warfare, nuclear ...
with the United States since, even if "half of mankind died, the other half would remain while imperialism would be razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist." A distinctive feature of war since 1945 is that combat has largely been a matter of civil wars and insurgencies. The major exceptions were the
Korean War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Korean War , partof = the Cold War and the Korean conflict , image = Korean War Montage 2.png , image_size = 300px , caption = Clockwise from top:{ ...
, the
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military confrontation between India and Pakistan that occurred during the Bangladesh Liberation War in East Pakistan from 3 December 1971 until the Pakistani capitulation in Dhaka on 16 Decemb ...
, the
Iran–Iraq War The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Iraq that lasted from September 1980 to August 1988. It began with the Iraqi invasion of Iran and lasted for almost eight years, until the acceptance of United Nations Security Counci ...
, the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
, the
Eritrean–Ethiopian War The Eritrean–Ethiopian War, also known as the Badme War, was a major armed conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea that took place from May 1998 to June 2000. The war has its origins in a territorial dispute between the two states. After Eritr ...
, and the
Russo-Ukrainian War The Russo-Ukrainian War; uk, російсько-українська війна, rosiisko-ukrainska viina. has been ongoing between Russia (alongside Russian separatists in Ukraine) and Ukraine since February 2014. Following Ukraine's Re ...
. The
Human Security Report 2005 The ''Human Security Report 2005'' is a report outlining declining world trends of global violence from the early 1990s to 2003. The study reported major worldwide declines in the number of armed conflicts, genocides, military coups, and internatio ...
documented a significant decline in the number and severity of armed conflicts since the end of the
Cold War The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term '' cold war'' is used because t ...
in the early 1990s. However, the evidence examined in the 2008 edition of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management's "Peace and Conflict" study indicated the overall decline in conflicts had stalled.


Types of warfare

*
Asymmetric warfare Asymmetric warfare (or asymmetric engagement) is the term given to describe a type of war between belligerents whose relative military power, strategy or tactics differ significantly. This is typically a war between a standing, professional arm ...
is a conflict between
belligerent A belligerent is an individual, group, country, or other entity that acts in a hostile manner, such as engaging in combat. The term comes from the Latin ''bellum gerere'' ("to wage war"). Unlike the use of ''belligerent'' as an adjective meaning ...
s of drastically different levels of military capability or size. *
Biological warfare Biological warfare, also known as germ warfare, is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, insects, and fungi with the intent to kill, harm or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. ...
, or germ warfare, is the use of weaponized biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. *
Chemical warfare Chemical warfare (CW) involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare, biological warfare and radiological warfare, which together make up CBRN, the military acrony ...
involves the use of weaponized chemicals in combat. Poison gas as a
chemical weapon A chemical weapon (CW) is a specialized munition that uses chemicals formulated to inflict death or harm on humans. According to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), this can be any chemical compound intended as ...
was principally used during World War I, and resulted in over a million estimated casualties, including more than 100,000 civilians. * Cold warfare is an intense international rivalry without direct military conflict, but with a sustained threat of it, including high levels of military preparations, expenditures, and development, and may involve active conflicts by indirect means, such as
economic warfare Economic warfare or economic war is an economic strategy utilized by belligerent nations with the goal of weakening the economy of other states. This is primarily achieved by the use of economic blockades. Ravaging the crops of the enemy is a cl ...
,
political warfare Political warfare is the use of political means to compel an opponent to do one's will, based on hostile intent. The term political describes the calculated interaction between a government and a target audience, including another state's govern ...
,
covert operation A covert operation is a military operation intended to conceal the identity of (or allow plausible deniability by) the party that instigated the operation. Covert operations should not be confused with clandestine operations, which are performed ...
s,
espionage Espionage, spying, or intelligence gathering is the act of obtaining secret or confidential information (intelligence) from non-disclosed sources or divulging of the same without the permission of the holder of the information for a tangibl ...
,
cyberwarfare Cyberwarfare is the use of cyber attacks against an enemy state, causing comparable harm to actual warfare and/or disrupting vital computer systems. Some intended outcomes could be espionage, sabotage, propaganda, manipulation or economic wa ...
, or
proxy war A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actors, one or both of which act at the instigation or on behalf of other parties that are not directly involved in the hostilities. In order for a conflict to be considered a pr ...
s. *
Conventional warfare Conventional warfare is a form of warfare conducted by using conventional weapons and battlefield tactics between two or more states in open confrontation. The forces on each side are well-defined and fight by using weapons that target primar ...
is declared war between states in which nuclear,
biological Biology is the scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying themes that tie it together as a single, coherent field. For instance, all organisms are made up of cells that process hereditary i ...
, or
chemical weapons A chemical weapon (CW) is a specialized munition that uses chemicals formulated to inflict death or harm on humans. According to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), this can be any chemical compound intended as ...
are not used or see limited deployment. *
Cyberwarfare Cyberwarfare is the use of cyber attacks against an enemy state, causing comparable harm to actual warfare and/or disrupting vital computer systems. Some intended outcomes could be espionage, sabotage, propaganda, manipulation or economic wa ...
involves the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation's information systems. *
Insurgency An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion against authority waged by small, lightly armed bands who practice guerrilla warfare from primarily rural base areas. The key descriptive feature of insurgency is its asymmetric nature: small irreg ...
is a rebellion against authority, when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents (lawful combatants). An insurgency can be fought via
counterinsurgency Counterinsurgency (COIN) is "the totality of actions aimed at defeating irregular forces". The Oxford English Dictionary defines counterinsurgency as any "military or political action taken against the activities of guerrillas or revolutionari ...
, and may also be opposed by measures to protect the population, and by political and economic actions of various kinds aimed at undermining the insurgents' claims against the incumbent regime. *
Information warfare Information warfare (IW) (as different from cyber warfare that attacks computers, software, and command control systems) is a concept involving the battlespace use and management of information and communication technology (ICT) in pursuit of a ...
is the application of destructive force on a large scale against information assets and systems, against the
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as programs. These prog ...
s and networks that support the four critical infrastructures (the power grid, communications, financial, and transportation). *
Nuclear warfare Nuclear warfare, also known as atomic warfare, is a theoretical military conflict or prepared political strategy that deploys nuclear weaponry. Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction; in contrast to conventional warfare, nuclear ...
is warfare in which
nuclear weapon A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission (fission bomb) or a combination of fission and fusion reactions (thermonuclear bomb), producing a nuclear explosion. Both bomb ...
s are the primary, or a major, method of achieving capitulation. *
Total war Total war is a type of warfare that includes any and all civilian-associated resources and infrastructure as legitimate military targets, mobilizes all of the resources of society to fight the war, and gives priority to warfare over non-combat ...
is warfare by any means possible, disregarding the
laws of war The law of war is the component of international law that regulates the conditions for initiating war ('' jus ad bellum'') and the conduct of warring parties (''jus in bello''). Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territ ...
, placing no limits on legitimate military targets, using
weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used to deter, threaten, inflict physical damage, harm, or kill. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, ...
s and
tactics Tactic(s) or Tactical may refer to: * Tactic (method), a conceptual action implemented as one or more specific tasks ** Military tactics, the disposition and maneuver of units on a particular sea or battlefield ** Chess tactics In chess, a ta ...
resulting in significant
civilian casualties Civilian casualties occur when civilians are killed or injured by non-civilians, mostly law enforcement officers, military personnel, rebel group forces, or terrorists. Under the law of war, it refers to civilians who perish or suffer wounds as ...
, or demanding a
war effort In politics and military planning, a war effort is a coordinated mobilization of society's resources—both industrial and human—towards the support of a military force. Depending on the militarization of the culture, the relative siz ...
requiring significant sacrifices by the friendly civilian population. *
Unconventional warfare Unconventional warfare (UW) is broadly defined as "military and quasi-military operations other than conventional warfare" and may use covert forces, subversion, or guerrilla warfare. This is typically done to avoid escalation into conventional w ...
, the opposite of conventional warfare, is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing conflict.


Aims

Entities contemplating going to war and entities considering whether to end a war may formulate ''war aims'' as an evaluation/propaganda tool. War aims may stand as a proxy for national-military resolve.


Definition

Fried defines war aims as "the desired territorial, economic, military or other benefits expected following successful conclusion of a war".


Classification

Tangible/intangible aims: * Tangible war aims may involve (for example) the acquisition of territory (as in the German goal of
Lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Imperi ...
in the first half of the 20th century) or the recognition of economic concessions (as in the
Anglo-Dutch Wars The Anglo–Dutch Wars ( nl, Engels–Nederlandse Oorlogen) were a series of conflicts mainly fought between the Dutch Republic and England (later Great Britain) from mid-17th to late 18th century. The first three wars occurred in the seco ...
). * Intangible war aims – like the accumulation of credibility or reputation – may have more tangible expression ("conquest restores prestige, annexation increases power"). Explicit/implicit aims: * Explicit war aims may involve published policy decisions. * Implicit war aims can take the form of minutes of discussion, memoranda and instructions. Positive/negative aims: * "Positive war aims" cover tangible outcomes. * "Negative war aims" forestall or prevent undesired outcomes. War aims can change in the course of conflict and may eventually morph into "peace conditions" – the minimal conditions under which a state may cease to wage a particular war.


Effects


Military and civilian casualties in recent human history

Throughout the course of human history, the average number of people dying from war has fluctuated relatively little, being about 1 to 10 people dying per 100,000. However, major wars over shorter periods have resulted in much higher casualty rates, with 100-200 casualties per 100,000 over a few years. While conventional wisdom holds that casualties have increased in recent times due to technological improvements in warfare, this is not generally true. For instance, the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, lasting from 1618 to 1648. Fought primarily in Central Europe, an estimated 4.5 to 8 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of batt ...
(1618–1648) had about the same number of casualties per capita as World War I, although it was higher during World War II (WWII). That said, overall the number of casualties from war has not significantly increased in recent times. Quite to the contrary, on a global scale the time since WWII has been unusually peaceful.


Largest by death toll

The deadliest war in history, in terms of the cumulative number of deaths since its start, is World War II, from 1939 to 1945, with 60–85 million deaths, followed by the
Mongol conquests The Mongol invasions and conquests took place during the 13th and 14th centuries, creating history's largest contiguous empire: the Mongol Empire ( 1206-1368), which by 1300 covered large parts of Eurasia. Historians regard the Mongol devastatio ...
at up to 60 million. As concerns a belligerent's losses in proportion to its prewar population, the most destructive war in
modern history The term modern period or modern era (sometimes also called modern history or modern times) is the period of history that succeeds the Middle Ages (which ended approximately 1500 AD). This terminology is a historical periodization that is appli ...
may have been the
Paraguayan War The Paraguayan War, also known as the War of the Triple Alliance, was a South American war that lasted from 1864 to 1870. It was fought between Paraguay and the Treaty of the Triple Alliance, Triple Alliance of Argentina, the Empire of Brazil, an ...
(see
Paraguayan War casualties The number of people who died in the Paraguayan War (1864–1870) is unknown. Widely diverging estimates have been made. "Determining the size of Paraguay's population has always been an exercise in frustration." However, there is a widespread im ...
). In 2013 war resulted in 31,000 deaths, down from 72,000 deaths in 1990. In 2003,
Richard Smalley Richard Errett Smalley (June 6, 1943 – October 28, 2005) was an American chemist who was the Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy at Rice University. In 1996, along with Robert Curl, also a professor of ...
identified war as the sixth biggest problem (of ten) facing humanity for the next fifty years. War usually results in significant deterioration of infrastructure and the ecosystem, a decrease in social spending,
famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, natural disasters, crop failure, population imbalance, widespread poverty, an economic catastrophe or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompani ...
, large-scale emigration from the war zone, and often the mistreatment of
prisoners of war A prisoner of war (POW) is a person who is held captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1610. Belligerents hold prisoners of w ...
or civilians. For instance, of the nine million people who were on the territory of the
Byelorussian SSR The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR, or Byelorussian SSR; be, Беларуская Савецкая Сацыялістычная Рэспубліка, Bielaruskaja Savieckaja Sacyjalistyčnaja Respublika; russian: Белор� ...
in 1941, some 1.6 million were killed by the Germans in actions away from battlefields, including about 700,000 prisoners of war, 500,000 Jews, and 320,000 people counted as partisans (the vast majority of whom were unarmed civilians). Another byproduct of some wars is the prevalence of
propaganda Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to influence or persuade an audience to further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded ...
by some or all parties in the conflict, and increased revenues by weapons manufacturers. Three of the ten most costly wars, in terms of loss of life, have been waged in the last century. These are the two World Wars, followed by the
Second Sino-Japanese War The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) or War of Resistance (Chinese term) was a military conflict that was primarily waged between the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. The war made up the Chinese ...
(which is sometimes considered part of World War II, or as overlapping). Most of the others involved China or neighboring peoples. The death toll of World War II, being over 60 million, surpasses all other war-death-tolls.McFarlane, Alan: ''The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap'', Blackwell 2003, , – cited b
White


On military personnel

Military personnel Military personnel are members of the state's armed forces. Their roles, pay, and obligations differ according to their military branch (army, navy, marines, air force, space force, and coast guard), rank (officer, non-commissioned officer, or e ...
subject to combat in war often suffer mental and physical injuries, including depression,
posttraumatic stress disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental and behavioral disorder that can develop because of exposure to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, child abuse, domestic violence, or other threats on ...
, disease, injury, and death. Swank and Marchand's World War II study found that after sixty days of continuous combat, 98% of all surviving military personnel will become psychiatric casualties. Psychiatric casualties manifest themselves in fatigue cases, confusional states, conversion hysteria, anxiety, obsessional and compulsive states, and character disorders. Additionally, it has been estimated anywhere from 18% to 54% of Vietnam war veterans suffered from
posttraumatic stress disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental and behavioral disorder that can develop because of exposure to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, child abuse, domestic violence, or other threats on ...
. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white American males aged 13 to 43 died in the
American Civil War The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 26, 1865; also known by other names) was a civil war in the United States. It was fought between the Union ("the North") and the Confederacy ("the South"), the latter formed by states ...
, including about 6% in the North and approximately 18% in the South. The war remains the deadliest conflict in American history, resulting in the deaths of 620,000 military personnel.
United States military casualties of war The following is a tabulation of United States military casualties of war. Overview Note: "Total casualties" includes wounded, combat and non-combat deaths but not missing in action. "Deaths – other" includes all non-combat deaths including thos ...
since 1775 have totaled over two million. Of the 60 million European military personnel who were mobilized in World War I, 8 million were killed, 7 million were permanently disabled, and 15 million were seriously injured. During
Napoleon Napoleon Bonaparte ; it, Napoleone Bonaparte, ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader wh ...
's retreat from Moscow, more French military personnel died of
typhus Typhus, also known as typhus fever, is a group of infectious diseases that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, and a rash. Typically these begin one to two weeks after exposure. ...
than were killed by the Russians. Of the 450,000 soldiers who crossed the
Neman The Neman, Nioman, Nemunas or MemelTo bankside nations of the present: Lithuanian: be, Нёман, , ; russian: Неман, ''Neman''; past: ger, Memel (where touching Prussia only, otherwise Nieman); lv, Nemuna; et, Neemen; pl, Niemen; ...
on 25 June 1812, less than 40,000 returned. More military personnel were killed from 1500 to 1914 by typhus than from military action.War and Pestilence
''TIME''.
In addition, if it were not for modern medical advances there would be thousands more dead from disease and infection. For instance, during the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) was a global conflict that involved most of the European Great Powers, and was fought primarily in Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. Other concurrent conflicts include the French and Indian War (1754– ...
, the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against ...
reported it conscripted 184,899 sailors, of whom 133,708 (72%) died of disease or were 'missing'. It is estimated that between 1985 and 1994, 378,000 people per year died due to war.


On civilians

Most wars have resulted in significant loss of life, along with destruction of infrastructure and resources (which may lead to
famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, natural disasters, crop failure, population imbalance, widespread poverty, an economic catastrophe or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompani ...
, disease, and death in the
civilian Civilians under international humanitarian law are "persons who are not members of the armed forces" and they are not "combatants if they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war". It is slightly different from a non-combatant, ...
population Population typically refers to the number of people in a single area, whether it be a city or town, region, country, continent, or the world. Governments typically quantify the size of the resident population within their jurisdiction using a ...
). During the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, lasting from 1618 to 1648. Fought primarily in Central Europe, an estimated 4.5 to 8 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of batt ...
in Europe, the population of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire was a political entity in Western, Central, and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. From the accession of Otto I in 962 ...
was reduced by 15 to 40 percent. Civilians in war zones may also be subject to war atrocities such as
genocide Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part. Raphael Lemkin coined the term in 1944, combining the Greek word (, "race, people") with the Lati ...
, while survivors may suffer the psychological aftereffects of witnessing the destruction of war. War also results in lower quality of life and worse health outcomes. A medium-sized conflict with about 2,500 battle deaths reduces civilian life expectancy by one year and increases
infant mortality Infant mortality is the death of young children under the age of 1. This death toll is measured by the infant mortality rate (IMR), which is the probability of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births. The under-five morta ...
by 10% and
malnutrition Malnutrition occurs when an organism gets too few or too many nutrients, resulting in health problems. Specifically, it is "a deficiency, excess, or imbalance of energy, protein and other nutrients" which adversely affects the body's tissues ...
by 3.3%. Additionally, about 1.8% of the population loses access to
drinking water Drinking water is water that is used in drink or food preparation; potable water is water that is safe to be used as drinking water. The amount of drinking water required to maintain good health varies, and depends on physical activity level, ...
. Most estimates of
World War II casualties World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. An estimated total of 70–85 million people perished, or about 3% of the 2.3 billion (est.) people on Earth in 1940. Deaths directly caused by the war (including military and ci ...
indicate around 60 million people died, 40 million of whom were civilians. Deaths in the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
were around 27 million. Since a high proportion of those killed were young men who had not yet fathered any children, population growth in the postwar Soviet Union was much lower than it otherwise would have been.


Economic

Once a war has ended, losing nations are sometimes required to pay
war reparations War reparations are compensation payments made after a war by one side to the other. They are intended to cover damage or injury inflicted during a war. History Making one party pay a war indemnity is a common practice with a long history. R ...
to the victorious nations. In certain cases, land is ceded to the victorious nations. For example, the territory of Alsace-Lorraine has been traded between France and Germany on three different occasions. Typically, war becomes intertwined with the economy and many wars are partially or entirely based on economic reasons. Following World War II, consensus opinion for many years amongst economists and historians was that war can stimulate a country's economy as evidenced by the U.S's emergence from the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
, though modern economic analysis has thrown significant doubt on these views. In most cases, such as the wars of Louis XIV, the Franco-Prussian War, and World War I, warfare primarily results in damage to the economy of the countries involved. For example, Russia's involvement in World War I took such a toll on the Russian economy that it almost collapsed and greatly contributed to the start of the
Russian Revolution of 1917 The Russian Revolution was a period of political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire which began during the First World War. This period saw Russia abolish its monarchy and adopt a socialist form of government ...
.


World War II

World War II was the most financially costly conflict in history; its belligerents cumulatively spent about a trillion U.S. dollars on the
war effort In politics and military planning, a war effort is a coordinated mobilization of society's resources—both industrial and human—towards the support of a military force. Depending on the militarization of the culture, the relative siz ...
(as adjusted to 1940 prices). The
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
of the 1930s ended as nations increased their production of war materials. By the end of the war, 70% of European industrial infrastructure was destroyed. Property damage in the Soviet Union inflicted by the Axis invasion was estimated at a value of 679 billion rubles. The combined damage consisted of complete or partial destruction of 1,710 cities and towns, 70,000 villages/hamlets, 2,508 church buildings, 31,850 industrial establishments, of railroad, 4100 railroad stations, 40,000 hospitals, 84,000 schools, and 43,000 public libraries.


Theories of motivation

There are many theories about the motivations for war, but no consensus about which are most common.
Carl von Clausewitz Carl Philipp Gottfried (or Gottlieb) von Clausewitz (; 1 June 1780 – 16 November 1831) was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the "moral", in modern terms meaning psychological, and political aspects of waging war. His mos ...
said, 'Every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions.'


Psychoanalytic

Dutch
psychoanalyst PsychoanalysisFrom Greek: + . is a set of theories and therapeutic techniques"What is psychoanalysis? Of course, one is supposed to answer that it is many things — a theory, a research method, a therapy, a body of knowledge. In what might ...
Joost Meerloo Joost Abraham Maurits Meerloo (March 14, 1903 – November 17, 1976) was a Dutch/American Doctor of Medicine and psychoanalyst. He authored ''Rape of the Mind'', an analysis of brainwashing techniques and thought control in totalitarian states. B ...
held that, "War is often...a mass discharge of accumulated internal rage (where)...the inner fears of mankind are discharged in mass destruction." , A. M. Meerloo, M.D. ''The Rape of the Mind'' (2009) p. 134, Progressive Press, Other psychoanalysts such as E.F.M. Durban and
John Bowlby Edward John Mostyn Bowlby, CBE, FBA, FRCP, FRCPsych (; 26 February 1907 – 2 September 1990) was a British psychologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, notable for his interest in child development and for his pioneering work in attachm ...
have argued human beings are inherently violent. This aggressiveness is fueled by
displacement Displacement may refer to: Physical sciences Mathematics and Physics * Displacement (geometry), is the difference between the final and initial position of a point trajectory (for instance, the center of mass of a moving object). The actual path ...
and projection where a person transfers his or her grievances into bias and hatred against other races,
religions Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally relates humanity to supernatural, t ...
,
nations A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as language, history, ethnicity, culture and/or society. A nation is thus the collective identity of a group of people understood as defined by tho ...
or
ideologies An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group of persons, especially those held for reasons that are not purely epistemic, in which "practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones." Formerly applied prim ...
. By this theory, the nation state preserves order in the local society while creating an outlet for aggression through warfare. The Italian psychoanalyst Franco Fornari, a follower of
Melanie Klein Melanie Klein (née Reizes; 30 March 1882 – 22 September 1960) was an Austrian-British author and psychoanalyst known for her work in child analysis. She was the primary figure in the development of object relations theory. Klein suggested th ...
, thought war was the paranoid or projective "elaboration" of mourning. Fornari thought war and violence develop out of our "love need": our wish to preserve and defend the sacred object to which we are attached, namely our early mother and our fusion with her. For the adult, nations are the sacred objects that generate warfare. Fornari focused upon sacrifice as the essence of war: the astonishing willingness of human beings to die for their country, to give over their bodies to their nation. Despite Fornari's theory that man's altruistic desire for self-sacrifice for a noble cause is a contributing factor towards war, few wars have originated from a desire for war among the general populace. Far more often the general population has been reluctantly drawn into war by its rulers. One psychological theory that looks at the leaders is advanced by Maurice Walsh. He argues the general populace is more neutral towards war and wars occur when leaders with a psychologically abnormal disregard for human life are placed into power. War is caused by leaders who seek war such as
Napoleon Napoleon Bonaparte ; it, Napoleone Bonaparte, ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader wh ...
and
Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 until Death of Adolf Hitler, his death in 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the le ...
. Such leaders most often come to power in times of crisis when the populace opts for a decisive leader, who then leads the nation to war.


Evolutionary

Several theories concern the evolutionary origins of warfare. There are two main schools: One sees organized warfare as emerging in or after the Mesolithic as a result of complex social organization and greater population density and
competition Competition is a rivalry where two or more parties strive for a common goal which cannot be shared: where one's gain is the other's loss (an example of which is a zero-sum game). Competition can arise between entities such as organisms, indiv ...
over resources; the other sees human warfare as a more ancient practice derived from common animal tendencies, such as territoriality and sexual competition. The latter school argues that since warlike behavior patterns are found in many primate species such as
chimpanzee The chimpanzee (''Pan troglodytes''), also known as simply the chimp, is a species of great ape native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa. It has four confirmed subspecies and a fifth proposed subspecies. When its close relative the ...
s, Analysis of chimpanzee war behavior as well as in many ant species, Scholarly comparisons between human and ant wars group conflict may be a general feature of animal social behavior. Some proponents of the idea argue that war, while innate, has been intensified greatly by developments of technology and social organization such as weaponry and states. Psychologist and linguist
Steven Pinker Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, psycholinguist, popular science author, and public intellectual. He is an advocate of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. P ...
argued that war-related behaviors may have been naturally selected in the ancestral environment due to the benefits of victory. He also argued that in order to have credible
deterrence Deterrence may refer to: * Deterrence theory, a theory of war, especially regarding nuclear weapons * Deterrence (penology), a theory of justice * Deterrence (psychology), a psychological theory * ''Deterrence'' (film), a 1999 drama starring K ...
against other groups (as well as on an individual level), it was important to have a reputation for retaliation, causing humans to develop instincts for
revenge Revenge is committing a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance, be it real or perceived. Francis Bacon described revenge as a kind of "wild justice" that "does... offend the law ndputteth the law out of office." Pr ...
as well as for protecting a group's (or an individual's) reputation ("
honor Honour (British English) or honor (American English; see spelling differences) is the idea of a bond between an individual and a society as a quality of a person that is both of social teaching and of personal ethos, that manifests itself as a ...
"). Crofoot and Wrangham have argued that warfare, if defined as group interactions in which "coalitions attempt to aggressively dominate or kill members of other groups", is a characteristic of most human societies. Those in which it has been lacking "tend to be societies that were politically dominated by their neighbors".''Mind the Gap: Tracing the Origins of Human Universals'' By Peter M. Kappeler, Joan B. Silk, 2009, Chapter 8, "Intergroup Aggression in Primates and Humans; The Case for a Unified Theory", Margaret C. Crofoot and Richard W. Wrangham
Ashley Montagu Montague Francis Ashley-Montagu (June 28, 1905November 26, 1999) — born Israel Ehrenberg — was a British-American anthropologist who popularized the study of topics such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development. He ...
strongly denied universalistic instinctual arguments, arguing that social factors and childhood socialization are important in determining the nature and presence of warfare. Thus, he argues, warfare is not a universal human occurrence and appears to have been a historical invention, associated with certain types of human societies. Montagu's argument is supported by ethnographic research conducted in societies where the concept of aggression seems to be entirely absent, e.g. the
Chewong Cheq Wong (Ceq Wong, Chewong) is an Austroasiatic language spoken in the Malay Peninsula. It belongs to the Northern subbranch of the Aslian languages The Aslian languages () are the southernmost branch of Austroasiatic languages spoken on ...
and Semai of the Malay peninsula. Bobbi S. Low has observed correlation between warfare and education, noting societies where warfare is commonplace encourage their children to be more aggressive.


Economic

War can be seen as a growth of economic competition in a competitive international system. In this view wars begin as a pursuit of markets for natural resources and for wealth. War has also been linked to
economic development In the economics study of the public sector, economic and social development is the process by which the economic well-being and quality of life of a nation, region, local community, or an individual are improved according to targeted goals and o ...
by economic historians and development economists studying
state-building State-building as a specific term in social sciences and humanities, refers to political and historical processes of creation, institutional consolidation, stabilization and sustainable development of states, from the earliest emergence of stateh ...
and
fiscal capacity Fiscal capacity is the ability of the state to extract revenues to provide public goods and carry out other functions of the state, given an administrative, fiscal accounting structure. In economics and political science, fiscal capacity may be refe ...
. While this theory has been applied to many conflicts, such counter arguments become less valid as the increasing mobility of capital and information level the distributions of wealth worldwide, or when considering that it is relative, not absolute, wealth differences that may fuel wars. There are those on the extreme
right Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical the ...
of the political spectrum who provide support, fascists in particular, by asserting a natural right of a strong nation to whatever the weak cannot hold by force. Some centrist, capitalist, world leaders, including Presidents of the United States and U.S. Generals, expressed support for an economic view of war.


Marxist

The Marxist theory of war is quasi-economic in that it states all modern wars are caused by competition for resources and markets between great (
imperialist Imperialism is the state policy, practice, or advocacy of extending power and dominion, especially by direct territorial acquisition or by gaining political and economic control of other areas, often through employing hard power (economic and ...
) powers, claiming these wars are a natural result of
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, private pr ...
. Marxist economists
Karl Kautsky Karl Johann Kautsky (; ; 16 October 1854 – 17 October 1938) was a Czech-Austrian philosopher, journalist, and Marxist theorist. Kautsky was one of the most authoritative promulgators of orthodox Marxism after the death of Friedrich Engels in ...
,
Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg (; ; pl, Róża Luksemburg or ; 5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Polish and naturalised-German revolutionary socialist, Marxist philosopher and anti-war activist. Successively, she was a member of the Proletariat part ...
,
Rudolf Hilferding Rudolf Hilferding (10 August 1877 – 11 February 1941) was an Austrian-born Marxist economist, socialist theorist,International Institute of Social History, ''Rodolf Hilferding Papers''. http://www.iisg.nl/archives/en/files/h/10751012.php poli ...
and
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known as Vladimir Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1 ...
theorized that
imperialism Imperialism is the state policy, practice, or advocacy of extending power and dominion, especially by direct territorial acquisition or by gaining political and economic control of other areas, often through employing hard power (economic and ...
was the result of capitalist countries needing new markets. Expansion of the
means of production The means of production is a term which describes land, labor and capital that can be used to produce products (such as goods or services); however, the term can also refer to anything that is used to produce products. It can also be used as an ...
is only possible if there is a corresponding growth in
consumer demand In economics, demand is the quantity of a good that consumers are willing and able to purchase at various prices during a given time. The relationship between price and quantity demand is also called the demand curve. Demand for a specific item ...
. Since the workers in a
capitalist economy Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, private pr ...
would be unable to fill the demand, producers must expand into non-capitalist markets to find consumers for their goods, hence driving imperialism.


Demographic

Demographic theories can be grouped into two classes, Malthusian and youth bulge theories:


Malthusian

Malthusian theories see expanding population and scarce resources as a source of violent conflict. Pope Urban II in 1095, on the eve of the
First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Islamic ru ...
, advocating Crusade as a solution to European overpopulation, said: This is one of the earliest expressions of what has come to be called the Malthusian theory of war, in which wars are caused by expanding populations and limited resources.
Thomas Malthus Thomas Robert Malthus (; 13/14 February 1766 – 29 December 1834) was an English cleric, scholar and influential economist in the fields of political economy and demography. In his 1798 book ''An Essay on the Principle of Population'', Malt ...
(1766–1834) wrote that populations always increase until they are limited by war, disease, or
famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, natural disasters, crop failure, population imbalance, widespread poverty, an economic catastrophe or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompani ...
. The violent
herder–farmer conflicts in Nigeria Herder–farmer conflicts in Nigeria are a series of disputes over land resources across Nigeria between mostly Muslim Fulani herders and mostly Christian non-Fulani farmers. They have been especially prominent in the Middle Belt (North Central) s ...
,
Mali Mali (; ), officially the Republic of Mali,, , ff, 𞤈𞤫𞤲𞥆𞤣𞤢𞥄𞤲𞤣𞤭 𞤃𞤢𞥄𞤤𞤭, Renndaandi Maali, italics=no, ar, جمهورية مالي, Jumhūriyyāt Mālī is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali ...
,
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān, officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It shares borders with the Central African Republic ...
and other countries in the
Sahel The Sahel (; ar, ساحل ' , "coast, shore") is a region in North Africa. It is defined as the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south. Having a hot semi-arid cli ...
region have been exacerbated by
land degradation Land degradation is a process in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by a combination of human-induced processes acting upon the land. It is viewed as any change or disturbance to the land perceived to be deleterious ...
and population growth.


Youth bulge

According to Heinsohn, who proposed
youth bulge A population pyramid (age structure diagram) or "age-sex pyramid" is a graphical illustration of the distribution of a population (typically that of a country or region of the world) by age groups and sex; it typically takes the shape of a pyramid ...
theory in its most generalized form, a youth bulge occurs when 30 to 40 percent of the males of a nation belong to the "fighting age" cohorts from 15 to 29 years of age. It will follow periods with
total fertility rate The total fertility rate (TFR) of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if: # she were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates (ASFRs) through her lifetime # she were t ...
s as high as 4–8 children per woman with a 15–29-year delay. Heinsohn saw both past "Christianist" European colonialism and imperialism, as well as today's Islamist civil unrest and terrorism as results of high birth rates producing youth bulges. Among prominent historical events that have been attributed to youth bulges are the role played by the historically large youth cohorts in the rebellion and revolution waves of early modern Europe, including the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in November 1799. Many of its ideas are consider ...
of 1789, and the effect of economic depression upon the largest German youth cohorts ever in explaining the rise of
Nazism Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the far-right totalitarian political ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in N ...
in Germany in the 1930s. The 1994
Rwandan genocide The Rwandan genocide occurred between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War. During this period of around 100 days, members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, as well as some moderate Hutu and Twa, were killed by armed Hutu ...
has also been analyzed as following a massive youth bulge. Youth bulge theory has been subjected to statistical analysis by the World Bank, Population Action International, and the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. Youth bulge theories have been criticized as leading to racial, gender and age discrimination.


Cultural

Geoffrey Parker argues that what distinguishes the "Western way of war" based in Western Europe chiefly allows historians to explain its extraordinary success in conquering most of the world after 1500:
The Western way of war rests upon five principal foundations: technology, discipline, a highly aggressive military tradition, a remarkable capacity to innovate and to respond rapidly to the innovation of others and—from about 1500 onward—a unique system of war finance. The combination of all five provided a formula for military success....The outcome of wars has been determined less by technology, then by better war plans, the achievement of surprise, greater economic strength, and above all superior discipline.
Parker argues that Western armies were stronger because they emphasized discipline, that is, "the ability of a formation to stand fast in the face of the enemy, where they're attacking or being attacked, without giving way to the natural impulse of fear and panic." Discipline came from drills and marching in formation, target practice, and creating small "artificial kinship groups: such as the company and the platoon, to enhance psychological cohesion and combat efficiency.


Rationalist

Rationalism In philosophy, rationalism is the epistemological view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification".Lacey, A.R. (1996), ''A Dictionary of Philosophy'' ...
is an
international relations theory International relations theory is the study of international relations (IR) from a theoretical perspective. It seeks to explain causal and constitutive effects in international politics. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories as ...
or framework. Rationalism (and
Neorealism (international relations) Neorealism or structural realism is a theory of international relations that emphasizes the role of power politics in international relations, sees competition and conflict as enduring features and sees limited potential for cooperation. The ana ...
) operate under the assumption that states or international actors are rational, seek the best possible outcomes for themselves, and desire to avoid the costs of war. Under one
game theory Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interactions among rational agents. Myerson, Roger B. (1991). ''Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict,'' Harvard University Press, p.&nbs1 Chapter-preview links, ppvii–xi It has applic ...
approach, rationalist theories posit all actors can bargain, would be better off if war did not occur, and likewise seek to understand why war nonetheless reoccurs. Under another rationalist game theory without bargaining, the
peace war game Peace war game is an iterated game originally played in academic groups and by computer simulation for years to study possible strategies of cooperation and aggression. As peace makers became richer over time it became clear that making war had gr ...
, optimal strategies can still be found that depend upon number of iterations played. In "Rationalist Explanations for War",
James Fearon James D. Fearon (born 1963) is the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Political Science at Stanford University; he is known for his work on the theory of civil wars, international bargaining, war's inefficiency puzzle, audience costs, an ...
examined three rationalist explanations for why some countries engage in war: * Issue indivisibilities * Incentives to misrepresent or
information asymmetry In contract theory and economics, information asymmetry deals with the study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other. Information asymmetry creates an imbalance of power in transactions, which can ...
* Commitment problems "Issue indivisibility" occurs when the two parties cannot avoid war by bargaining, because the thing over which they are fighting cannot be shared between them, but only owned entirely by one side or the other. "
Information asymmetry In contract theory and economics, information asymmetry deals with the study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other. Information asymmetry creates an imbalance of power in transactions, which can ...
with incentives to misrepresent" occurs when two countries have secrets about their individual capabilities, and do not agree on either: who would win a war between them, or the magnitude of state's victory or loss. For instance,
Geoffrey Blainey Geoffrey Norman Blainey (born 11 March 1930) is an Australian historian, academic, best selling author and commentator. He is noted for having written authoritative texts on the economic and social history of Australia, including '' The Tyranny ...
argues that war is a result of miscalculation of strength. He cites historical examples of war and demonstrates, "war is usually the outcome of a diplomatic crisis which cannot be solved because both sides have conflicting estimates of their bargaining power." Thirdly, bargaining may fail due to the states' inability to make credible commitments. Within the rationalist tradition, some theorists have suggested that individuals engaged in war suffer a normal level of
cognitive bias A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own "subjective reality" from their perception of the input. An individual's construction of reality, not the objective input, ...
, but are still "as rational as you and me". According to philosopher
Iain King Iain Benjamin King is a British writer. King was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013 Birthday Honours, for services to governance in Libya, Afghanistan and Kosovo. He is a Scholar at the Modern War Institute, ...
, "Most instigators of conflict overrate their chances of success, while most participants underrate their chances of injury...." King asserts that "Most catastrophic military decisions are rooted in
GroupThink Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Cohesiveness, or the desire for cohesiven ...
" which is faulty, but still rational. The rationalist theory focused around bargaining is currently under debate. The Iraq War proved to be an anomaly that undercuts the validity of applying rationalist theory to some wars.


Political science

The statistical analysis of war was pioneered by Lewis Fry Richardson following World War I. More recent databases of wars and armed conflict have been assembled by the
Correlates of War The Correlates of War project is an academic study of the history of warfare. It was started in 1963 at the University of Michigan by political scientist J. David Singer. Concerned with collecting data about the history of wars and conflict among s ...
Project, Peter Brecke and the
Uppsala Conflict Data Program The Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) is a data collection program on organized violence, based at Uppsala University in Sweden. The UCDP is a leading provider of data on organized violence and armed conflict, and it is the oldest ongoing data ...
. The following subsections consider causes of war from system, societal, and individual levels of analysis. This kind of division was first proposed by
Kenneth Waltz Kenneth Neal Waltz (; June 8, 1924 – May 12, 2013) was an American political scientist who was a member of the faculty at both the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University and one of the most prominent scholars in the field of ...
in ''
Man, the State, and War ''Man, the State, and War'' is a 1959 book on international relations by realist academic Kenneth Waltz. The book is influential within the field of international relations theory for establishing the three 'images of analysis' used to explain ...
'' and has been often used by political scientists since then.


System-level

There are several different
international relations theory International relations theory is the study of international relations (IR) from a theoretical perspective. It seeks to explain causal and constitutive effects in international politics. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories as ...
schools. Supporters of
realism in international relations Realism is one of the dominant schools of thought in international relations theory, theoretically formalising the Realpolitik statesmanship of early modern Europe. Although a highly diverse body of thought, it is unified by the belief that wor ...
argue that the motivation of states is the quest for security, and conflicts can arise from the inability to distinguish defense from offense, which is called the
security dilemma In international relations, the security dilemma (also referred to as the spiral model) is when the increase in one state's security (such as increasing its military strength) leads other states to fear for their own security (because they do not k ...
. Within the realist school as represented by scholars such as
Henry Kissinger Henry Alfred Kissinger (; ; born Heinz Alfred Kissinger, May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presid ...
and
Hans Morgenthau Hans Joachim Morgenthau (February 17, 1904 – July 19, 1980) was a German-American jurist and political scientist who was one of the major 20th-century figures in the study of international relations. Morgenthau's works belong to the tradition o ...
, and the neorealist school represented by scholars such as
Kenneth Waltz Kenneth Neal Waltz (; June 8, 1924 – May 12, 2013) was an American political scientist who was a member of the faculty at both the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University and one of the most prominent scholars in the field of ...
and
John Mearsheimer John Joseph Mearsheimer (; born December 14, 1947) is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought. He is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the Univers ...
, two main sub-theories are: # Balance of power theory: States have the goal of preventing a single state from becoming a hegemon, and war is the result of the would-be hegemon's persistent attempts at power acquisition. In this view, an international system with more equal distribution of power is more stable, and "movements toward unipolarity are destabilizing." However, evidence has shown power polarity is not actually a major factor in the occurrence of wars. #
Power transition theory Power transition theory is a theory about the nature of war, in relation to the power in international relations. The theory was first published in 1958 by its creator, A.F.K. Organski, in his textbook, ''World Politics'' (1958). Overview Accord ...
: Hegemons impose stabilizing conditions on the world order, but they eventually decline, and war occurs when a declining hegemon is challenged by another rising power or aims to preemptively suppress them. On this view, unlike for balance-of-power theory, wars become ''more'' probable when power is more equally distributed. This "power preponderance" hypothesis has empirical support. The two theories are not mutually exclusive and may be used to explain disparate events according to the circumstance.
Liberalism Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on the rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed, political equality and equality before the law."political rationalism, hostility to autocracy, cultural distaste for ...
as it relates to international relations emphasizes factors such as trade, and its role in disincentivizing conflict which will damage economic relations. Realists respond that military force may sometimes be at least as effective as trade at achieving economic benefits, especially historically if not as much today. Furthermore, trade relations which result in a high level of dependency may escalate tensions and lead to conflict. Empirical data on the relationship of trade to peace are mixed, and moreover, some evidence suggests countries at war don't necessarily trade less with each other.


Societal-level

* Diversionary theory, also known as the "scapegoat hypothesis", suggests the politically powerful may use war to as a diversion or to rally domestic popular support. This is supported by literature showing out-group hostility enhances in-group bonding, and a significant domestic "rally effect" has been demonstrated when conflicts begin. However, studies examining the increased use of force as a function of need for internal political support are more mixed. U.S. war-time presidential popularity surveys taken during the presidencies of several recent U.S. leaders have supported diversionary theory. More recently studies (Lebow 2008, Lindemann 2010) demonstrated that striving for self-esteem (i.e. virile self images), and recognition as a Great Power or non-recognition (exclusion and punishment of great powers, denying traumatic historical events) is a principal cause of international conflict and war.


Individual-level

These theories suggest differences in people's personalities, decision-making, emotions, belief systems, and biases are important in determining whether conflicts get out of hand. For instance, it has been proposed that conflict is modulated by
bounded rationality Bounded rationality is the idea that rationality is limited when individuals make decisions, and under these limitations, rational individuals will select a decision that is satisfactory rather than optimal. Limitations include the difficulty of ...
and various
cognitive biases A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own "subjective reality" from their perception of the input. An individual's construction of reality, not the objective input, ...
, such as
prospect theory Prospect theory is a theory of behavioral economics and behavioral finance that was developed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1979. The theory was cited in the decision to award Kahneman the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. Based ...
.


Ethics

The morality of war has been the subject of debate for thousands of years. The two principal aspects of ethics in war, according to the
just war theory The just war theory ( la, bellum iustum) is a doctrine, also referred to as a tradition, of military ethics which is studied by military leaders, theologians, ethicists and policy makers. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure that a war is ...
, are ''
jus ad bellum ' ( or in the traditional English pronunciation of Latin; Latin for "right to war") is a set of criteria that are to be consulted ''before'' engaging in war in order to determine whether entering into war is permissible, that is, whether it wi ...
'' and ''
jus in bello The law of war is the component of international law that regulates the conditions for initiating war ('' jus ad bellum'') and the conduct of warring parties (''jus in bello''). Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territo ...
''. ''Jus ad bellum'' (right to war), dictates which unfriendly acts and circumstances justify a proper authority in declaring war on another nation. There are six main criteria for the declaration of a just war: first, any just war must be declared by a lawful authority; second, it must be a just and righteous cause, with sufficient gravity to merit large-scale violence; third, the just belligerent must have rightful intentions – namely, that they seek to advance good and curtail evil; fourth, a just belligerent must have a reasonable chance of success; fifth, the war must be a last resort; and sixth, the ends being sought must be proportional to means being used. ''
Jus in bello The law of war is the component of international law that regulates the conditions for initiating war ('' jus ad bellum'') and the conduct of warring parties (''jus in bello''). Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territo ...
'' (right in war), is the set of ethical rules when conducting war. The two main principles are proportionality and discrimination. Proportionality regards how much force is necessary and morally appropriate to the ends being sought and the injustice suffered. The principle of discrimination determines who are the legitimate targets in a war, and specifically makes a separation between combatants, who it is permissible to kill, and non-combatants, who it is not. Failure to follow these rules can result in the loss of legitimacy for the just-war-belligerent. The just war theory was foundational in the creation of the United Nations and in
international law International law (also known as public international law and the law of nations) is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between states. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework for ...
's regulations on legitimate war.
Fascism Fascism is a far-right, Authoritarianism, authoritarian, ultranationalism, ultra-nationalist political Political ideology, ideology and Political movement, movement,: "extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and pol ...
, and the ideals it encompasses, such as
Pragmatism Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that considers words and thought as tools and instruments for prediction, problem solving, and action, and rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality. Pr ...
, racism, and
social Darwinism Social Darwinism refers to various theories and societal practices that purport to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology, economics and politics, and which were largely defined by scholars in We ...
, hold that violence is good. Pragmatism holds that war and violence can be good if it serves the ends of the people, without regard for universal morality. Racism holds that violence is good so that a master race can be established, or to purge an inferior race from the earth, or both. Social Darwinism asserts that violence is sometimes necessary to weed the unfit from society so civilization can flourish. These are broad
archetypes The concept of an archetype (; ) appears in areas relating to behavior, historical psychology, and literary analysis. An archetype can be any of the following: # a statement, pattern of behavior, prototype, "first" form, or a main model that o ...
for the general position that the ends justify the means. Lewis Coser, U.S. conflict theorist and sociologist, argued conflict provides a function and a process whereby a succession of new equilibriums are created. Thus, the struggle of opposing forces, rather than being disruptive, may be a means of balancing and maintaining a social structure or society.


Limiting and stopping

Religious groups have long formally opposed or sought to limit war as in the
Second Vatican Council The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church. The council met in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome for four periods (or sessions), each lasting between 8 and ...
document ''Gaudiem et Spes'': "Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation." Anti-war movements have existed for every major war in the 20th century, including, most prominently, World War I, World War II, and the
Vietnam War The Vietnam War (also known by other names) was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietna ...
. In the 21st century, worldwide anti-war movements occurred in response to the United States War in Afghanistan (2001–present), invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq War, Iraq. Protests Opposition to the War in Afghanistan (2001–present), opposing the War in Afghanistan occurred in Europe, Asia, and the United States.


Pauses

During a war, brief pauses of violence may be called for, and further agreed to ceasefire, temporary cessation, humanitarian pauses and corridors, days of tranquility, de-confliction arrangements. There a number of disadvantages, obstacles and hesitations against implementing such pauses such as a humanitarian corridor. Pauses in conflict are also ill-advised; reasons such as "delay of defeat" and the "weakening of credibility". Natural causes for a pause may include events such as the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus pandemic.


See also

* Outline of war * Grey-zone (international relations)


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * Smedley Butler, Butler, Smedley (1935). ''War is a Racket''. * Chagnon, N. (1983). ''The Yanomamo''. Holt, Rinehart & Winston. * Clausewitz, Carl Von (1976). ''On War'', Princeton University Press * Codevilla, Angelo (2005). ''No Victory, No Peace''. Rowman and Littlefield * * * * * Fry, Douglas (2005). ''The Human Potential for Peace: An Anthropological Challenge to Assumptions about War and Violence''. Oxford University Press. * Fry, Douglas (2009). ''Beyond War''. Oxford University Press. * Gat, Azar (2006). ''War in Human Civilization''. Oxford University Press. * * Howell, Signe; Willis, Roy (1990). ''Societies at Peace: Anthropological Perspectives.'' London: Routledge. * * * John Keegan, Keegan, John (1994). ''A History of Warfare''. Pimlico. * Keeley, Lawrence (1996). ''War Before Civilization'', Oxford University Press. * * Kelly, Raymond C. (2000). ''Warless Societies and the Origin of War,'' University of Michigan Press. * Kemp, Graham; Fry, Douglas (2004). ''Keeping the Peace.'' New York: Routledge. * * Lebow, Richard Ned (2008). ''A Cultural Theory of International Relations''. Cambridge University Press. * Lindemann, Thomas (2010). ''Causes of War. The Struggle for Recognition''. Colchester, ECPR Press * * McIntosh, Jane (2002). ''A Peaceful Realm: The Rise and Fall of the Indus Civilization.'' Oxford, UK: Westview Press. * Metz, Steven and Cuccia, Philip R. (2011)
''Defining War for the 21st Century,''
Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College, U.S. Army War College. * Montagu, Ashley (1978). ''Learning Nonaggression.'' New York: Oxford University Press. * Otterbein, Keith (2004). ''How War Began''. College Station TX: Texas A&M University Press. * Parker, Geoffrey, ed. (2008) ''The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare: The Triumph of the West'' (Cambridge University Press, 1995, revised 2008
online
* Pauketat, Timothy (2005). ''North American Archaeology''. Blackwell Publishing. * * * Sponsel, Leslie; Gregor, Thomas (1994). ''Anthropology of Peace and Nonviolence.'' Lynne Rienner Publishing. * Hew Strachan, Strachan, Hew (2013). ''The Direction of War''. Cambridge University Press. * Turchin, P. (2005). ''War and Peace and War: Life Cycles of Imperial Nations''. NY: Pi Press. * Van Creveld, Martin. ''The Art of War: War and Military Thought'' London: Cassell, Wellington House * Wade, Nicholas (2006). ''Before the Dawn'', New York: Penguin. * Walzer, Michael (1977). ''Just and Unjust Wars''. Basic Books.


External links


An Interactive map of all the battles fought around the world in the last 4,000 years

Timeline of wars on Histropedia
* {{Authority control War, Dispute resolution Ethics Violence Conflicts,