Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


For the 1970s funk band, see War (band).

War is conflict involving the use of armss and physical force between nations, countries, or other large-scale armed groups. Warfare is the conduct of war.

Typically, warfare is mortal and lives of combatants are deliberately taken by enemy forces and the continued existence of a losing group as an entity is in doubt. In view of this, rules for the conduct of war are unenforceable during active conflict. A person faced with death, or an organisation faced with extinction, both have little incentive to obey rules that contribute to that result. If they can survive by breaking the rules they are likely to do so, and some would argue justifably.

Sometimes a distinction is made between a conflict and the formal declaration of a state of war. Given this distinction the term "war" is sometimes considered restricted to those conflicts where one or both belligerants have made a formal declaration.

Wars have been fought to control natural resources, for religious or cultural reasons, over political balances of power, legitimacy of particular laws, to settle economic and territorial disputes, and many other issues. The roots of any war are very complex - there is usually more than one issue involved.

Table of contents
1 Philosophy of War
2 Types of war
3 Types of Warfare
4 Laws of war
5 Statistical analysis
6 Famous Quotes about War
7 See also
8 External links

Philosophy of War

Attempts at codifying International law have been made to reduce the mutually destructive results of war. The signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the development of the United Nations System have succeeded in discouraging the description of any specific instance of warfare, by its participants, as a war. This process has been aided by such euphemisms as

See Articles 2(3), 2(4) and 2(7) of the United Nations Charter.

Carl von Clausewitz wrote in his classic text, On War: "Der Krieg ist eine blo▀e Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln" ("War is merely a continuation of politics by other means") and "War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will."

Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, and others have argued that war is never justified and instead promoted a philosophy of nonviolence or Pacifism.

Types of war

Smaller armed conflicts are often called riots, rebellions, coupss, etc.

Wars may be declared or undeclared.

When one country sends armed forces to another allegedly to restore order or prevent genocide or other crimes against humanity, or to support a legally recognized government against insurgency, that country sometimes refers to it as a police action. This usage is not always recognized as valid, however, particularly by those who do not accept the connotations of the term.

A war where the forces in conflict belong to the same country or empire or other political entity is known as a civil war.

War is contrasted with peace, which is usually defined as the absence of war.

Types of Warfare

Warfare can be classified by doctrine, strategy, and tactics used:

Modern Warfare

One approach to classifying warfare deals only with modern warfare and divides it into four "generations" of war.

First generation warfare

First generation warfare reflects tactics of the era of the smoothbore musket, the tactics of line and column. Operational art in the first generation did not exist as a concept although it was practiced by individual commanders, most prominently Napoleon.

Second generation warfare

Second generation warfare was developed in response to the rifled musket, breechloaders, barbed wire, the machinegun, and indirect fire. Tactics were based on fire and movement but they remained essentially linear, with defenses still attempting to prevent all penetrations and attacks laterally dispersed along a line advanced by rushes in small groups. Second generation tactics remained the basis of U.S. doctrine until the 1980s, and they are still practiced by most American units in the field.

Third generation warfare

Third generation warfare was first developed by the Germans in World War I, to compensate for their inability to match their enemies' industrial output. Its tactics were the first truly nonlinear tactics; attacks rely on infiltration to bypass and collapse the enemy's combat forces rather than seeking to close with and destroy them, and defense was in depth and often invited penetration to set the enemy up for a counterattack.

Fourth generation warfare

Fourth generation warfare is widely dispersed and largely undefined, with a blurred distinction between war and peace and few clear battlefields or fronts. Indeed, it may be difficult to even identify which organizations and individuals are actively participating in the war. Actions will occur concurrently throughout all participants' depth, including their society as a cultural, not just a physical, entity. See also Asymmetric warfare.

Laws of war

A number of treaties regulate warfare, collectively referred to as the Laws of war. The most pervasive of those are the Geneva conventions, the earliest of which began to take effect in the mid 1800s.

Treaty signing has since been a part of international diplomacy, and too many treaties to mention in this scant article have been signed. A couple of examples are: Resolutions of the Geneva International Conference, Geneva, 26-29 October 1863 and Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 75 U.N.T.S. 135, entered into force Oct. 21, 1950.

Statistical analysis

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 Project [1], Peter Brecke [2] and the Uppsala Department of Peace and Conflict Research. Other projects, for example, the Global Social Change Research Project, have described trends in war and conflict, and shown how those trends relate to other political or social trends.

Famous Quotes about War

"While you may not be interested in war, war is interested in you."
Leon Trotsky

"War should be the only study of a prince. He should see peace only as a breathing time which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes an ability to execute, military plans."
Niccolo Machiavelli

See also:

See also

Lists: List of wars, List of battles, List of invasions, List of Famous Generals, Current Wars

Military : Military technology and equipment, Military history, Military strategy, Military tactics, Military-industrial complex

World wars : Laws of war, Just war, Weapon, Frontline, Attacks on humanitarian workers

Other: Medieval warfare, war profiteer, Ski warfare

External links