Since the rise of human civilization, man’s association with wild behavior has been from the beginning of the fight, and war is an aggressive act that usually arises from the fighting between the states into aggressive and armed fighting. Today we will tell you about some such wars, which are the most deadly and dangerous wars in history. Sorting out some selective war from the vast number of wars in the world is a very difficult task, the procedure adopted for selecting this list is described in the comment after the list is over.
Often, deadly wars begin in a bid to prove one nation’s dominance over other nations and their outcome is always disastrous. Motives for such wars range from ambitious expansions to diplomatic issues, and sometimes even the intentional genocide. However, poverty, poor leadership, greed for resources, civil unrest, and some other factors also cause such wars. These all wars have one thing in common- a massive number of casualties. Here’s the list of the deadliest wars in the world. Some of these conflicts have killed tens of millions of people including soldiers and innocent civilians and some of them shifted the entire balance of power around the world. Many conflicts were so gigantic that they affected nearly the entire world and some wars ended with an ultimate death toll of around 85 million people. Gosh! Let’s pray that such wars never happen again anywhere in the world for the good of mankind.
World War II
World War II (WWII or WW2), also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world’s countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. In a state of total war, directly involving more than 100 million personnel from more than 30 countries, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in 70 to 85 million fatalities, with more civilians than military personnel killed. Tens of millions of people died due to genocides (including the Holocaust), premeditated death from starvation, massacres, and disease. Aircraft played a major role in the conflict, including in strategic bombing of population centres, and the only uses of nuclear weapons in war.
World War II is generally considered to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom. From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours: Poland, Finland, Romania and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, and the fall of France in mid-1940, the war continued primarily between the European Axis powers and the British Empire, with war in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, and the Battle of the Atlantic. On 22 June 1941, Germany led the European Axis powers in an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history and trapping the Axis, crucially the German Wehrmacht, in a war of attrition.
Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with the Republic of China by 1937. In December 1941, Japan attacked American and British territories with near-simultaneous offensives against Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific including an attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor. Following a US declaration of war against Japan, which followed one from the UK, the European Axis powers declared war on the United States in solidarity with their ally. Japan soon captured much of the Western Pacific, but its advances were halted in 1942 after losing the critical Battle of Midway; later, Germany and Italy were defeated in North Africa and at Stalingrad in the Soviet Union. Key setbacks in 1943—including a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and the Italian mainland, and Allied offensives in the Pacific—cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned towards Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945, Japan suffered reversals in mainland Asia, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands.
The war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender on its terms, the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima, on 6 August 1945, and Nagasaki, on 9 August. Faced with an imminent invasion of the Japanese archipelago, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, and the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria on 9 August, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. In the wake of the war, Germany and Japan were occupied, and war crimes tribunals were conducted against German and Japanese leaders. Despite their well documented war crimes, mainly perpetrated in Greece and Yugoslavia, Italian leaders and generals were often pardoned, thanks to diplomatic activities.World War II changed the political alignment and social structure of the globe. The United Nations (UN) was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts, and the victorious great powers—China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States—became the permanent members of its Security Council. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century-long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia. Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery and expansion. Political integration, especially in Europe, began as an effort to forestall future hostilities, end pre-war enmities and forge a sense of common identity.
Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent
Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent mainly took place from the 12th to the 16th centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests include the invasions into modern Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Umayyad campaigns in India, during the time of the Rajput kingdoms in the 8th century.
Mahmud of Ghazni, the first ruler to hold the title Sultan, who preserved an ideological link to the suzerainty of the Abbasid Caliphate, invaded and plundered vast parts of Punjab, Gujarat, starting from the Indus River, during the 10th century.After the capture of Lahore and the end of the Ghaznavids, the Ghurid Empire ruled by Muhammad of Ghor and Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad laid the foundation of Muslim rule in India. In 1206, Bakhtiyar Khalji led the Muslim conquest of Bengal, marking the easternmost expansion of Islam at the time. The Ghurid Empire soon evolved into the Delhi Sultanate ruled by Qutb al-Din Aibak, the founder of the Mamluk dynasty. With the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, Islam was spread across most parts of the Indian subcontinent.
In the 14th century, the Khalji dynasty, under Alauddin Khalji, temporarily extended Muslim rule southwards to Gujarat, Rajasthan and the Deccan, while the Tughlaq dynasty temporarily expanded its territorial reach till Tamil Nadu.
European colonization of the Americas
The European colonization of the Americas describes the Age of Exploration and the resulting conquest of indigenous lands. The Age of Exploration represents the beginning of the establishment of Western European control in what is now considered North and South America. Europe had been preoccupied with internal wars and was slowly recovering from the loss of population caused by the Black Death; thus the rapid rate at which it grew in wealth and power was unforeseeable in the early 15th century. European colonization impacted the political systems, geographic boundaries, and languages that predominate in the hemisphere’s largely independent states today.
Early European possessions in what are now referred to as the North and South American continents included Spanish Florida, Spanish New Mexico, Spanish Mesoamerica, Spanish Caribbean, the English colonies of Virginia (with its North Atlantic offshoot, Bermuda) and New England, the French colonies of Acadia, Canada, and Haiti, the Swedish colony of New Sweden, and the Dutch New Netherland. In the 18th century, Denmark–Norway revived its former colonies in Greenland, while the Russian Empire gained a foothold in Alaska.
Three Kingdoms War
The Three Kingdoms from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of China among the states of Wei, Shu, and Wu. The Three Kingdoms period started with the end of the Han dynasty and was followed by the Jin dynasty. The short-lived Yan kingdom in the Liaodong Peninsula, which lasted from 237 to 238, is sometimes considered as a “4th kingdom”.To distinguish the three states from other historical Chinese states of the same names, historians have added a relevant character to the state’s original name: the state that called itself “Wei” (魏) is also known as “Cao Wei” (曹魏), the state that called itself “Han” (漢) is also known as “Shu Han” (蜀漢) or just “Shu” (蜀), and the state that called itself “Wu” (吳) is also known as “Eastern Wu” (東吳; Dōng Wú) or “Sun Wu” (孫吳).
Academically, the period of the Three Kingdoms refers to the period between the foundation of the state of Wei in 220 AD and the conquest of the state of Wu by the Jin dynasty in 280. The earlier, “unofficial” part of the period, from 184 to 220, was marked by chaotic infighting between warlords (军阀) in various parts of China. The middle part of the period, from 220 to 263, was marked by a more militarily stable arrangement between three rival states of Wei, Shu, and Wu. The later part of the era was marked by the conquest of Shu by Wei (263), the usurpation of Wei by the Jin dynasty (265), and the conquest of Wu by the Jin (280).
The Mongol invasions and conquests took place during the 13th and 14th centuries, creating history’s largest contiguous empire Mongol Empire which by 1300 covered large parts of Eurasia. Historians regard the Mongol devastation as one of the deadliest episodes in history. In addition, Mongol expeditions may have spread the bubonic plague across much of Eurasia, helping to spark the Black Death of the 14th century.The Mongol Empire developed in the course of the 13th century through a series of victorious campaigns throughout Asia, reaching Eastern Europe by the 1240s. In contrast with later “empires of the sea” such as the British, the Mongol Empire was a land power, fueled by the grass-foraging Mongol cavalry and cattle. Thus most Mongol conquest and plundering took place during the warmer seasons, when there was sufficient grazing for their herds. The rise of the Mongols was preceded by 15 years of wet and warm weather conditions from 1211-1225 that allowed favourable conditions for the breeding of horses, which greatly assisted their expansion.As the Mongol Empire began to fragment from 1260, conflict between the Mongols and Eastern European polities continued for centuries.
The Taiping Rebellion, which is also known as the Taiping Civil War or the Taiping Revolution, was a massive rebellion or civil war that was waged in China from 1850 to 1864 between the established Qing dynasty and the theocratic Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. After becoming the bloodiest civil war in world history, the established Qing government won decisively, although it was weakened.The uprising was commanded by Hong Xiuquan, the self-proclaimed brother of Jesus Christ. Its goals were religious, nationalist, and political in nature; they sought the conversion of the Chinese people to the Taiping’s syncretic version of Christianity. They also sought to overthrow the ruling Manchu Dynasty and a transformation of the state. Rather than supplanting the ruling class, the Taipings sought to upend the moral and social order of China. The Taipings established the Heavenly Kingdom as an oppositional state based in Tianjing (now Nanjing) and gained control of a significant part of southern China, eventually expanding to command a population base of nearly 30 million people.
An Lushan Rebellion
The An Lushan Rebellion was a rebellion against the Tang dynasty of China. The rebellion’s overt phase began on 16 December 755, when general An Lushan mobilized his army and marched to Fanyang, and ended when his Yan dynasty fell on 17 February 763 (although the effects lasted past this). This event is also known (especially in Chinese historiography) as the An–Shi Rebellion or An–Shi Disturbances, as it continued after An Lushan’s death under his son An Qingxu, his deputy and successor Shi Siming, and Shi’s son and successor Shi Chaoyi, or as the Tianbao Rebellion, as it began in the 14th year of that era.
The rebellion spanned the reigns of three Tang emperors against the rival Yan Dynasty before it was finally quashed. Besides the Tang dynasty loyalists, others involved were anti-Tang forces, especially those in An Lushan’s base area in Hebei and Sogdian forces or influences, among others. The rebellion and subsequent disorder resulted in a huge loss of life and large-scale destruction. It significantly weakened the Tang dynasty and led to the loss of the Western Regions. The Tang dynasty hired 4,000 mercenaries from Abbasid territories and the Uyghur Khaganate intervened for the Tang dynasty against An Lushan.
World War I
World War I (or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1) was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or “the war to end all wars”, it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated 9 million combatant deaths and 13 million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the related 1918 Spanish flu pandemic caused another 17–100 million deaths worldwide, including an estimated 2.64 million Spanish flu deaths in Europe and as many as 675,000 Spanish flu deaths in the United States.On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia on 23 July. Serbia’s reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, and the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe. By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente, consisting of France, Russia, and Britain; and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The Triple Alliance was only defensive in nature, allowing Italy to stay out of the war until April 1915, when it joined the Allied Powers after its relations with Austria-Hungary deteriorated. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia, and approved partial mobilisation after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on 28 July. Full Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; the following day, Austria-Hungary and Germany did the same, while Germany demanded Russia demobilise within twelve hours. When Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on Russia on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, the latter following suit on 6 August; France ordered full mobilisation in support of Russia on 2 August.Germany’s strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to rapidly concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within 6 weeks, then shift forces to the East before Russia could fully mobilise; this was later known as the Schlieffen Plan. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France. When this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day; the Belgian government invoked the 1839 Treaty of London and, in compliance with its obligations under this treaty, Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August. On 12 August, Britain and France also declared war on Austria-Hungary; on 23 August, Japan sided with Britain, seizing German possessions in China and the Pacific. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of Austria-Hungary and Germany, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in (and drew upon) each power’s colonial empire also, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe. The Entente and its allies eventually became known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary, Germany and their allies became known as the Central Powers.
The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a war of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917 (the Eastern Front, by contrast, was marked by much greater exchanges of territory). In 1915, Italy joined the Allied Powers and opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans. The United States initially remained neutral, though even while neutral it became an important supplier of war materiel to the Allies. Eventually, after the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the declaration by Germany that its navy would resume unrestricted attacks on neutral shipping, and the revelation that Germany was trying to incite Mexico to initiate war against the United States, the U.S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces did not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force ultimately reached some two million troops.Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, and Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers was knocked out of the war until 1918. The 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Monarchy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent with the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, and the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia’s involvement in the war. Germany now controlled much of eastern Europe and transferred large numbers of combat troops to the Western Front. Using new tactics, the German March 1918 Offensive was initially successful. The Allies fell back and held. The last of the German reserves were exhausted as 10,000 fresh American troops arrived every day. The Allies drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive, a continual series of attacks to which the Germans had no reply. One by one the Central Powers quit: first Bulgaria, then the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian empire. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, and the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the fighting.
World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural, economic, and social climate of the world. The war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous revolutions and uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, France, the United States, and Italy) imposed their terms on the defeated powers in a series of treaties agreed at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the most well known being the German peace treaty: the Treaty of Versailles. Ultimately, as a result of the war, the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian Empires ceased to exist, and numerous new states were created from their remains. However, despite the conclusive Allied victory (and the creation of the League of Nations during the Peace Conference, intended to prevent future wars), a second world war followed just over twenty years later.
Transition from Ming to Qing
The transition from Ming to Qing, Ming–Qing transition, or the Manchu unification of China from 1618 to 1683 saw the transition between two major dynasties in Chinese history. It was the decades-long conflict between the emergent Qing dynasty (清朝), the incumbent Ming dynasty (明朝), and several smaller factions in China (like the Shun dynasty 顺朝 and Xi dynasty 西朝). It ended with the rise of the Qing, the fall of the Ming and other factions, and the unification of Outer Manchuria, Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan under the Qing Empire.
Conquests of Timur
Timurid conquests and invasions started in the eighth decade of the 14th century with Timur’s control over Chagatai Khanate and ended at the start of the 15th century with the death of Timur. Due to the sheer scale of Timur’s wars, and the fact that he was generally undefeated in battle, he has been regarded as one of the most successful military commanders of all time. These wars resulted in the supremacy of Timur over Central Asia, Persia, the Caucasus and the Levant, and parts of South Asia and Eastern Europe, and also the formation of the short-lived Timurid Empire. Scholars estimate that his military campaigns caused the deaths of 17 million people, amounting to about 5% of the world population at the time.Timur gained power over the Western Chagatai Khanate (Transoxiana) after defeating Amir Husayn, the regent of the Chagatai Khanate, at the Battle of Balkh but the laws laid down by Genghis Khan prevented him from becoming Khagan in his own right because he was not directly descendant of Genghis Khan by birth.
About 96 lakh deaths occurred in the Dungan Revolt (1895–96). It was the rebellion of various Chinese Muslim ethnic groups in Kinhai and Gansu against the Qinghai dynasty, which arose because of a violent dispute between two Sufi orders of the same sect.
Dungan revolt may refer to:
Dungan revolt (1862–77), rebellion of various Muslim ethnic groups in Shaanxi and Gansu, China
Dungan revolt (1895–96), rebellion of various Muslim ethnic groups in Qinghai and Gansu, China
The Mughal–Maratha Wars, also called the Maratha War of Independence, were fought between the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire from 1680 to 1707. The Deccan Wars started in 1680 with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s invasion of the Maratha enclave in Bijapur established by Chatrapati Shivaji. After the death of Aurangzeb, Marathas defeated the Mughals in Delhi and Bhopal, and extended their empire till Peshawar by 1758.
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) lasting intermittently between 1927 and 1949. The war is generally divided into two phases with an interlude: from August 1927 to 1937, the KMT-CPC Alliance collapsed during the Northern Expedition, and the Nationalists controlled most of China. From 1937 to 1945, hostilities were put on hold, and the Second United Front fought the Japanese invasion of China with eventual help from the Allies of World War II. The civil war resumed with the Japanese defeat, and the CPC gained the upper hand in the final phase of the war from 1945 to 1949, generally referred to as the Chinese Communist Revolution.
The Communists gained control of mainland China and established the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, forcing the leadership of the Republic of China to retreat to the island of Taiwan. A lasting political and military standoff between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait ensued, with the ROC in Taiwan and the PRC in mainland China both officially claiming to be the legitimate government of all China. No armistice or peace treaty has ever been signed, and debate continues as to whether the civil war has legally ended.
The Reconquista (Spanish and Portuguese for “reconquest”) was a period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711, the expansion of the Christian kingdoms throughout Hispania, and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada in 1492.
The beginning of the Reconquista is traditionally marked with the Battle of Covadonga (718 or 722), the first known victory in Hispania by Christian military forces since the 711 military invasion undertaken by combined Arab-Berber forces. In that battle, a group led by Hispano-Roman nobleman Pelagius and consisting of Hispano-Visigoth refugees, the remnants of their Hispano-Gothic aristocracy, and mountain tribes, including mainly Astures, Galicians, Cantabri, and Basques, defeated a Muslim army in the mountains of northern Hispania and established the independent Christian Kingdom of Asturias. In the late 10th century, the Umayyad vizier Almanzor waged military campaigns for 30 years to subjugate the northern Christian kingdoms. His armies ravaged the north, even sacking the great Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.
Partition of India
The Partition of India of 1947 was the division of British India into two independent dominion states, India and Pakistan. The Dominion of India is today the Republic of India; the Dominion of Pakistan is today the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The partition involved the division of two provinces, Bengal and Punjab, based on district-wise non-Muslim or Muslim majorities. The partition also saw the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury. The partition was outlined in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj, or Crown rule in India. The two self-governing countries of India and Pakistan legally came into existence at midnight on 15 August 1947.
The partition displaced between 10 and 12 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions. There was large-scale violence, with estimates of loss of life accompanying or preceding the partition disputed and varying between several hundred thousand and two million. The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that affects their relationship to this day.
The Russian Revolution was a period of political and social revolution across the territory of the Russian Empire, commencing with the abolition of the monarchy in 1917 and concluding in 1923 with the Bolshevik establishment of the Soviet Union at the end of the Civil War.
It began during the First World War, with the February Revolution that was focused in and around the then-capital, Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg). The revolution erupted in the context of Russia’s major military losses during the war, which resulted in much of the Russian Army being ready to mutiny. In the chaos, members of the Duma, Russia’s parliament, assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government. This was dominated by the interests of large capitalists and the noble aristocracy. The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution, and Emperor Nicholas II abdicated his throne. Grassroots community assemblies called ‘Soviets’, which were dominated by soldiers and the urban industrial working class, initially permitted the Provisional Government to rule but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias.
A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and, increasingly, the left-leaning urban middle class. During this chaotic period, there were frequent mutinies, protests and strikes. Many socialist political organizations were engaged in daily struggle and vied for influence within the Duma and the Soviets, central among which were the Bolsheviks (“Ones of the Majority”) led by Vladimir Lenin. He campaigned for an immediate end of Russia’s participation in the war, granting land to the peasants, and providing bread to the urban workers. When the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions exploited the virtually universal disdain towards the war effort as justification to advance the revolution further. The Bolsheviks turned workers’ militias under their control into the Red Guards (later the Red Army), over which they exerted substantial control.The situation climaxed with the October Revolution in 1917, a Bolshevik-led armed insurrection by workers and soldiers in Petrograd that successfully overthrew the Provisional Government, transferring all its authority to the Soviets. They soon relocated the national capital to Moscow. The Bolsheviks had secured a strong base of support within the Soviets and, as the supreme governing party, established a federal government dedicated to reorganizing the former empire into the world’s first socialist state, to practice Soviet democracy on a national and international scale. Their promise to end Russia’s participation in the First World War was fulfilled when the Bolshevik leaders signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918. To further secure the new state, the Bolsheviks established the Cheka, a secret police that functioned as a revolutionary security service to weed out, execute, or punish those considered to be “enemies of the people” in campaigns consciously modeled on those of the French Revolution.
Soon after, civil war erupted among the “Reds” (Bolsheviks), the “Whites” (counter-revolutionaries), the independence movements, and other socialist factions opposed to the Bolsheviks. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists. Victorious, they reconstituted themselves as the Communist Party. They also established Soviet power in the newly independent republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine. They brought these jurisdictions into unification under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and Petrograd, there were also major changes in cities throughout the state, and among national minorities throughout the empire and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land.
The Cambodian genocide was the systematic persecution and killing of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot, who radically pushed Cambodia towards communism. It resulted in the deaths of 1.5 to 2 million people from 1975 to 1979, nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s 1975 population (c. 7.8 million).Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge had long been supported by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Mao Zedong; it is estimated that at least 90% of the foreign aid to Khmer Rouge came from China, with 1975 alone seeing at least US$1 billion in interest-free economic and military aid from China. After seizing power in April 1975, the Khmer Rouge wanted to turn the country into a socialist agrarian republic, founded on the policies of ultra-Maoism and influenced by the Cultural Revolution. Pol Pot and other Khmer Rouge officials met with Mao in Beijing in June 1975, receiving approval and advice, while high-ranking CPC officials such as Zhang Chunqiao later visited Cambodia to offer help. To fulfill its goals, the Khmer Rouge emptied the cities and forced Cambodians to relocate to labor camps in the countryside, where mass executions, forced labor, physical abuse, malnutrition, and disease were rampant. In 1976, the Khmer Rouge changed the name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea.
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years’ War was a conflict primarily fought in Central Europe from 1618 to 1648; estimates of total military and civilian deaths range from 4.5 to 8 million, mostly from disease or starvation. In some areas of Germany, it has been suggested up to 60% of the population died.Until the mid-20th century, it was seen as predominantly a German civil war and considered one of the European wars of religion. In 1938, CV Wedgwood argued it formed part of a wider European conflict, whose underlying cause was the ongoing contest between Austro-Spanish Habsburgs and French Bourbons. This view is now generally accepted by historians. Related conflicts include the Eighty Years War, the War of the Mantuan Succession, the Franco-Spanish War, and Portuguese Restoration War.
The conflict can be split into two main parts. The first period from 1618 to 1635 was a struggle within the Holy Roman Empire, fought between Emperor Ferdinand II and his internal opponents, with external powers playing a supportive role. Despite the parties agreeing the Peace of Prague in 1635, fighting continued with Sweden and France on one side, the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs on the other. This second phase ended with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.
The Jewish–Roman wars were a series of large-scale revolts by the Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean against the Roman Empire between 66 and 135 CE. While the First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE) and the Bar Kokhba revolt (132–136 CE) were nationalist rebellions, striving to restore an independent Judean state, the Kitos War was more of an ethno-religious conflict, mostly fought outside Judea Province. Hence, some sources use the term Jewish-Roman Wars to refer only to the First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE) and the Bar Kokhba revolt (132–135 CE), while others include the Kitos War (115–117 CE) as one of the Jewish–Roman wars.
The Jewish–Roman wars had a dramatic impact on the Jewish people, turning them from a major population in the Eastern Mediterranean into a scattered and persecuted minority. The Jewish–Roman wars are often cited as a disaster to Jewish society. The events also had a major impact on Judaism, after the central worship site of Second Temple Judaism, the Second Temple in Jerusalem, was destroyed by Titus’ troops. Although having a sort of autonomy in Galilee until the 4th century and later a limited success in establishing the short-lived Sasanian Jewish autonomy in Jerusalem in 614–617 CE, Jewish dominance in parts of the Southern Levant was regained only in the mid-20th century, with the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948 CE.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions. It produced a brief period of French domination over most of continental Europe. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorized into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813–14), and the Seventh (1815).
Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a republic in chaos; he subsequently created a state with stable finances, a strong bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. In 1805, Austria and Russia formed the Third Coalition and waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, which is considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British severely defeated the joint Franco-Spanish navy in the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. This victory secured British control of the seas and prevented the invasion of Britain itself. Concerned about increasing French power, Prussia led the creation of the Fourth Coalition with Russia, Saxony, and Sweden, and the resumption of war in October 1806. Napoleon quickly defeated the Prussians at Jena and the Russians at Friedland, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed, though, as war broke out in 1809, when the badly prepared Fifth Coalition, led by Austria, was quickly defeated at Wagram.
Hoping to isolate and weaken Britain economically through his Continental System, Napoleon launched an invasion of Portugal, the only remaining British ally in continental Europe. After occupying Lisbon in November 1807, and with the bulk of French troops present in Spain, Napoleon seized the opportunity to turn against his former ally, depose the reigning Spanish royal family and declare his brother King of Spain in 1808 as José I. The Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support and expelled the French from Iberia in 1814 after six years of fighting.
Concurrently, Russia, unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade, routinely violated the Continental System, prompting Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812. The resulting campaign ended in disaster and the near destruction of Napoleon’s Grande Armée.
Encouraged by the defeat, Austria, Prussia, and Russia formed the Sixth Coalition and began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies then invaded France from the east, while the Peninsular War spilled over into southwestern France. Coalition troops captured Paris at the end of March 1814 and forced Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba, and the Bourbons were restored to power. But Napoleon escaped in February 1815, and reassumed control of France for around one hundred days. After forming the Seventh Coalition, the Allies defeated him permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiled him to Saint Helena, where he died six years later.The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe and brought a period of relative peace. The wars had profound consequences on global history, including the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of Britain as the world’s foremost naval and economic power, the appearance of independence movements in Latin America and subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire and Portuguese Empire, the fundamental reorganization of German and Italian territories into larger states, and the introduction of radically new methods of conducting warfare, as well as civil law.
Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, also known as the Conquest of Peru, was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. After years of preliminary exploration and military skirmishes, 168 Spanish soldiers under conquistador Francisco Pizarro, his brothers, and their native allies captured the Sapa Inca Atahualpa in the 1532 Battle of Cajamarca. It was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting but ended in Spanish victory in 1572 and colonization of the region as the Viceroyalty of Peru. The conquest of the Inca Empire (called “Tahuantinsuyu” or “Tawantinsuyu” in Quechua, meaning “Realm of the Four Parts”), led to spin-off campaigns into present-day Chile and Colombia, as well as expeditions towards the Amazon Basin.
When the Spanish arrived at the borders of the Inca Empire in 1528, it spanned a considerable area and was by far the largest of the four grand pre-Columbian civilizations. Extending southward from the Ancomayo, which is now known as the Patía River, in southern present-day Colombia to the Maule River in what would later be known as Chile, and eastward from the Pacific Ocean to the edge of the Amazonian jungles, and covered some of the most mountainous terrain on Earth. In less than a century, the Inca had expanded their empire from about 400,000 km2 (150,000 sq mi) in 1448 to 1,800,000 km2 (690,000 sq mi) in 1528, just before the arrival of the Spanish.
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, the Holy Roman Empire, Prussia, Russia, and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.
As early as 1791, the other monarchies of Europe looked with outrage at the revolution and its upheavals; and they considered whether they should intervene, either in support of King Louis XVI, to prevent the spread of revolution, or to take advantage of the chaos in France. Anticipating an attack, France declared war on Prussia and Austria in the spring of 1792 and they responded with a coordinated invasion that was eventually turned back at the Battle of Valmy in September. This victory emboldened the National Convention to abolish the monarchy.
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major, but ultimately unsuccessful, uprising in India in 1857–58 against the rule of the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown. The rebellion began on 10 May 1857 in the form of a mutiny of sepoys of the Company’s army in the garrison town of Meerut, 40 mi (64 km) northeast of Delhi (now Old Delhi). It then erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions chiefly in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, though incidents of revolt also occurred farther north and east. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to British power in that region, and was contained only with the rebels’ defeat in Gwalior on 20 June 1858. On 1 November 1858, the British granted amnesty to all rebels not involved in murder, though they did not declare the hostilities to have formally ended until 8 July 1859.
The Second Congo War (also known as the Great War of Africa or the Great African War, and sometimes referred to as the African World War) began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 1998, little more than a year after the First Congo War, and involved some of the same issues. The war officially ended in July 2003, when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power. Although a peace agreement was signed in 2002, violence has continued in many regions of the country, especially in the east. Hostilities have continued since the ongoing Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency, and the Kivu and Ituri conflicts.
Ultimately, nine African countries and around twenty-five armed groups became involved in the war. By 2008, the war and its aftermath had caused 5.4 million deaths, principally through disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Another 2 million were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighboring countries.Despite a formal end to the war in July 2003 and an agreement by the former belligerents to create a government of national unity, 1,000 people died daily in 2004 from easily preventable cases of malnutrition and disease. The war was funded by (as the conflicts afterwards have been) the trade in conflict minerals, among other things.
The Korean War ( 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) was a war between North Korea (with the support of China and the Soviet Union) and South Korea (with the support of the United Nations, principally from the United States). The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and insurrections in the south. The war ended unofficially on 27 July 1953 in an armistice.
After the surrender of Japan, at the end of World War II, on 15 August 1945, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into two zones of occupation. The Soviets administered the northern half and the Americans administered the southern half. In 1948, as a result of Cold War tensions, the occupation zones became two sovereign states. A socialist state was established in the north under the totalitarian leadership of Kim Il-sung and a capitalist state in the south under the authoritarian leadership of Syngman Rhee. Both governments of the two new Korean states claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all of Korea, and neither accepted the border as permanent.
French Wars of Religion
The French Wars of Religion were a prolonged period of war and popular unrest between Catholics and Huguenots (Reformed/Calvinist Protestants) in the Kingdom of France between 1562 and 1598. It is estimated that three million people perished in this period from violence, famine, or disease in what is considered the second deadliest religious war in European history (surpassed only by the Thirty Years’ War, which took eight million lives).Much of the conflict took place during the long regency of Queen Catherine de’ Medici, widow of Henry II of France, for her minor sons. It also involved a dynastic power struggle between powerful noble families in the line for succession to the French throne: the wealthy, ambitious, and fervently Catholic ducal House of Guise (a cadet branch of the House of Lorraine, who claimed descent from Charlemagne) and their ally Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France (i.e., commander in chief of the French armed forces) versus the less wealthy House of Condé (a branch of the House of Bourbon), princes of the blood in the line of succession to the throne who were sympathetic to Calvinism.
Italian conquest of the Horn of Africa
The Italian conquest of the Horn of Africa was initiated in 1924 by the fascist government of Italy under Benito Mussolini. The Italian colony of Somalia had been totally pacified by late 1927. In 1935, Mussolini launched an invasion of Ethiopia. By mid-1936, the Italian troops controlled the entire territory. In 1940, Italian troops invaded British Somaliland, expelling the British. The Italians also occupied the bordering Kenya areas along the Oltregiuba, around the villages of Moyale and Buna.
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years’ War was a series of conflicts in Western Europe from 1337 to 1453, waged between the House of Plantagenet and its cadet House of Lancaster, rulers of the Kingdom of England, and the House of Valois over the right to rule the Kingdom of France. It was one of the most notable conflicts of the Middle Ages, in which five generations of kings from two rival dynasties fought for the throne of the largest kingdom in Western Europe. The war marked both the height of chivalry and its subsequent decline, and the development of stronger national identities in both countries.Later historians adopted the term “Hundred Years’ War” as a historiographical periodisation to encompass these conflicts, constructing the longest military conflict in European history. It is common to divide the war into three phases, separated by truces: the Edwardian War (1337–1360), the Caroline War (1369–1389), and the Lancastrian War (1415–1453). Although each side drew many allies into the war, in the end, the House of Valois retained the French throne and the English and French monarchies remained separate.
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America (Vietnamese: Kháng chiến chống Mỹ) or simply the American War, 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 Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, and other anti-communist allies. The war, considered a Cold War-era proxy war by some, lasted 19 years, with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, which ended with all three countries becoming communist in 1975.
The conflict emerged from the First Indochina War against the communist-led Viet Minh. Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U.S. After the French quit Indochina in 1954, the US assumed financial and military support for the South Vietnamese state. The Việt Cộng, also known as Front national de libération du Sud-Viêt Nam or NLF (the National Liberation Front), a South Vietnamese common front under the direction of North Vietnam, initiated a guerrilla war in the south. North Vietnam had also invaded Laos in the mid-1950s in support of insurgents, establishing the Ho Chi Minh Trail to supply and reinforce the Việt Cộng. U.S. involvement escalated under President John F. Kennedy through the MAAG program from just under a thousand military advisors in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963. By 1963, the North Vietnamese had sent 40,000 soldiers to fight in South Vietnam. North Vietnam was heavily backed by the USSR and the People’s Republic of China. China also sent hundreds of PLA servicemen to North Vietnam to serve in air-defense and support roles.By 1964, 23,000 US advisors were stationed in South Vietnam. In the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August, a U.S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response, the U.S. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and gave President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authority to increase American military presence in Vietnam. Johnson ordered the deployment of combat units for the first time and increased troop levels to 184,000. Past this point, the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (also known as the North Vietnamese Army or NVA) engaged in more conventional warfare with U.S and South Vietnamese forces. Despite little progress, the United States continued a significant build-up of forces. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, began expressing doubts of victory by the end of 1966. U.S. and South Vietnam forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. The U.S. also conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam and Laos.
The Tet Offensive of 1968 showed the lack of progress with these doctrines. With the VC and PAVN mounting large-scale urban offensives throughout 1968, U.S domestic support for the war began fading. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) expanded following a period of neglect after Tet and was modeled after U.S doctrine. The VC sustained heavy losses during the Tet Offensive and subsequent U.S.-ARVN operations in the rest of 1968, losing over 50,000 men. The CIA’s Phoenix Program further degraded the VC’s membership and capabilities. By the end of the year, the VC insurgents held almost no territory in South Vietnam, and their recruitment dropped by over 80% in 1969, signifying a drastic reduction in guerrilla operations, necessitating increased use of PAVN regular soldiers from the north. In 1969, North Vietnam declared a Provisional Revolutionary Government in South Vietnam in an attempt to give the reduced VC a more international stature, but the southern guerrillas from then on were sidelined as PAVN forces began more conventional combined arms warfare. By 1970, over 70% of communist troops in the south were northerners, and southern-dominated VC units no longer existed. Operations crossed national borders: Laos was invaded by North Vietnam early on, while Cambodia was used by North Vietnam as a supply route starting in 1967; the route through Cambodia began to be bombed by the U.S. in 1969, while the Laos route had been heavily bombed since 1964. The deposing of the monarch Norodom Sihanouk by the Cambodian National Assembly resulted in a PAVN invasion of the country at the request of the Khmer Rouge, escalating the Cambodian Civil War and resulting in a U.S.-ARVN counter-invasion.
In 1969, following the election of U.S President Richard Nixon, a policy of “Vietnamization” began, which saw the conflict fought by an expanded ARVN, with U.S. forces sidelined and increasingly demoralized by domestic opposition and reduced recruitment. U.S. ground forces had largely withdrawn by early 1972 and support was limited to air support, artillery support, advisers, and materiel shipments. The ARVN, buttressed by said U.S. support, stopped the first and largest mechanized PAVN offensive during the Easter Offensive of 1972. The offensive resulted in heavy casualties on both sides and the failure of the PAVN to subdue South Vietnam, but the ARVN itself failed to recapture all territory, leaving its military situation difficult. The Paris Peace Accords of January 1973 saw all U.S forces withdrawn; the Case–Church Amendment, passed by the U.S Congress on 15 August 1973, officially ended direct U.S military involvement. The Peace Accords were broken almost immediately, and fighting continued for two more years. Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge on 17 April 1975 while the 1975 Spring Offensive saw the capture of Saigon by the PAVN on 30 April; this marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.
The scale of fighting was enormous. By 1970, the ARVN was the world’s fourth largest army, and the PAVN was not far behind with approximately one million regular soldiers. The war exacted an enormous human cost: estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed range from 966,000 to 3.8 million. Some 275,000–310,000 Cambodians, 20,000–62,000 Laotians, and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, and a further 1,626 remain missing in action.The Sino-Soviet split re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War. Conflict between North Vietnam and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, and the newly formed Democratic Kampuchea began almost immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge, eventually escalating into the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. Chinese forces directly invaded Vietnam in the Sino-Vietnamese War, with subsequent border conflicts lasting until 1991. Insurgencies were fought by the unified Vietnam in all three countries. The end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the larger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw millions of refugees leave Indochina (mainly southern Vietnam), with an estimated 250,000 of whom perished at sea. Within the U.S, the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements, which together with the Watergate scandal contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s.
The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1096 and 1271 that had the objective of recovering the Holy Land from Islamic rule. The term has also been applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns fought to combat paganism and heresy, to resolve conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or to gain political and territorial advantage. The difference between these campaigns and other Christian religious conflicts was that they were considered a penitential exercise that brought forgiveness of sins declared by the church. Historians contest the definition of the term “crusade”. Some restrict it to only armed pilgrimages to Jerusalem; others include all Catholic military campaigns with a promise of spiritual benefit; all Catholic holy wars; or those with a characteristic of religious fervour.
In 1095, Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont. He encouraged military support for Byzantine Emperor Alexios I against the Seljuk Turks and an armed pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Across all social strata in western Europe there was an enthusiastic popular response. Volunteers took a public vow to join the crusade. Historians now debate the combination of their motivations, which included the prospect of mass ascension into Heaven at Jerusalem, satisfying feudal obligations, opportunities for renown, and economic and political advantage. Initial successes established four Crusader states in the Near East: the County of Edessa; the Principality of Antioch; the Kingdom of Jerusalem; and the County of Tripoli. The crusader presence remained in the region in some form until the city of Acre fell in 1291, leading to the rapid loss of all remaining territory in the Levant. After this, there were no further crusades to recover the Holy Land.
Proclaimed a crusade in 1123, the struggle between the Christians and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula was called the Reconquista by Christians, and only ended in 1492 with the fall of the Muslim Emirate of Granada. From 1147 campaigns in Northern Europe against pagan tribes were considered crusades. In 1199 Pope Innocent III began the practice of proclaiming political crusades against Christian heretics. In the 13th century, crusading was used against the Cathars in Languedoc and against Bosnia; this practice continued against the Waldensians in Savoy and the Hussites in Bohemia in the 15th century and against Protestants in the 16th. From the mid-14th century, crusading rhetoric was used in response to the rise of the Ottoman Empire, only ending in 1699 with the War of the Holy League.
Mfecane, also known by the Sesotho name Difaqane or Lifaqane (all meaning “crushing, scattering, forced dispersal, forced migration”), was a period of widespread chaos and warfare among indigenous ethnic communities in southern Africa during the period between 1815 and about 1840.
As King Shaka created the militaristic Zulu Kingdom in the territory between the Tugela River and Pongola River, his forces caused a wave of warfare and disruption to sweep to other peoples. This was the prelude of the Mfecane, which spread from there. The movement of people caused many tribes to try to dominate those in new territories, leading to widespread warfare; consolidation of other groups, such as the Matebele, the Mfengu and the Makololo; and the creation of states such as the modern Lesotho.
Although the Mfecane caused a decrease in the population of the eastern part of South Africa, the resulting consolidation of larger settlements and political power is not, according to some sources, believed to have left the vast stretches of pastureland uncontested. How many people died as a result of all the conflict is unknown but the death toll estimates cited most frequently are 1 to 2 million. “In the seventy years or so after 1760, the political face of the region north of the Orange (River) and east of the Kalahari was profoundly changed,” concluded Professor John Wright.
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars between 264 and 146 BC fought by the states of Rome and Carthage. The First Punic War broke out in Sicily in 264 BC as a result of Rome’s expansionary attitude combined with Carthage’s proprietary approach to the island. At the start of the war Carthage was the dominant power of the western Mediterranean, with an extensive maritime empire; while Rome was a rapidly expanding power in Italy, with a strong army but a weak navy. The fighting took place primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters, and also in North Africa, Corsica and Sardinia. It lasted 23 years, until 241 BC, when after immense materiel and human losses on both sides the Carthaginians were defeated. By the terms of the peace treaty Carthage paid large reparations and Sicily was annexed as a Roman province. The end of the war sparked a major but unsuccessful revolt within the Carthaginian Empire known as the Mercenary War.
The Second Punic War began in 218 BC and witnessed Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps and invasion of mainland Italy. This expedition enjoyed considerable early success, but after 14 years the survivors withdrew.
Nigerian Civil War
The Nigerian Civil War (also known as the Biafran War, Biafran Genocide and the Nigerian-Biafran War) was a civil war in Nigeria fought between the government of Nigeria headed by General Yakubu Gowon and the secessionist state of Biafra led by late Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu (1933–2011) from 6 July 1967 to 15 January 1970. Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Igbo people, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the Northern-dominated federal government. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which preceded Britain’s formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included ethno-religious violence and anti-Igbo pogroms in Northern Nigeria, a military coup, a counter-coup and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria. Control over the lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta also played a vital strategic role.
Tây Sơn rebellion
The Tây Sơn dynasty was a ruling dynasty of Vietnam, founded in the wake of a rebellion against both the Nguyễn lords and the Trịnh lords before subsequently establishing themselves as a new dynasty. The Tây Sơn were led by three brothers, referred to by modern Vietnamese historians as the Tây Sơn brothers because of their origin in the district of Tây Sơn.The Tây Sơn dynasty ended the century-long war between the Trịnh and Nguyễn families, fought off an attack by Qing China, and united the country for the first time in 200 years. Under the most prominent of the Tây Sơn brothers, Nguyễn Huệ (regnal title Quang Trung), Vietnam experienced an age of relative peace and prosperity. However, when he died in 1792 he left no successor capable of administrating the country properly, which allowed the exiled Nguyễn lord Nguyễn Ánh to retake the south of Vietnam and eventually pave the way for his own imperial dynasty, the Nguyễn dynasty.
Second Sudanese Civil War
The Second Sudanese Civil War was a conflict from 1983 to 2005 between the central Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. It was largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972. Although it originated in southern Sudan, the civil war spread to the Nuba mountains and the Blue Nile. It lasted for 22 years and is one of the longest civil wars on record. The war resulted in the independence of South Sudan six years after the war ended.
Roughly two million people died as a result of war, famine and disease caused by the conflict. Four million people in southern Sudan were displaced at least once (and normally repeatedly) during the war. The civilian death toll is one of the highest of any war since World War II and was marked by numerous human rights violations. These include slavery and mass killings.
The Soviet–Afghan War was a conflict wherein insurgent groups (known collectively as the Mujahideen), as well as smaller Maoist groups, fought a nine-year guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government throughout the 1980s, mostly in the Afghan countryside. The Mujahideen were variously backed primarily by the United States, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United Kingdom; the conflict was a Cold War-era proxy war. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran.
The foundations of the conflict were laid by the Saur Revolution, a 1978 coup wherein Afghanistan’s communist party took power, initiating a series of radical modernization and land reforms throughout the country. These reforms were deeply unpopular among the more traditional rural population and established power structures. The repressive nature of the “Democratic Republic”, which vigorously suppressed opposition and executed thousands of political prisoners, led to the rise of anti-government armed groups; by April 1979, large parts of the country were in open rebellion.
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) was a global conflict, “a struggle for global primacy between Britain and France,” which also had a major impact on the Spanish Empire. In Europe, the conflict arose from issues left unresolved by the War of the Austrian Succession, with Prussia seeking greater dominance. Long standing colonial rivalries between Britain against France and Spain in North America and the Caribbean islands (valuable for sugar) were fought on a grand scale with consequential results. In Europe, the war broke out over territorial disputes between Prussia and Austria, which wanted to regain Silesia after it was captured by Prussia in the previous war. Britain, France, and Spain fought both in Europe and overseas with land-based armies and naval forces, while Prussia sought territorial expansion in Europe and consolidation of its power.
In a realignment of traditional alliances, known as the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756, Prussia became part of a coalition led by Britain, which also included long-time Prussian competitor Hanover. At the same time, Austria ended centuries of conflict by allying with France, along with Saxony, Sweden, and Russia. Spain aligned formally with France in 1762. Spain unsuccessfully attempted to invade Britain’s ally Portugal, attacking with their forces facing British troops in Iberia. Smaller German states either joined the Seven Years’ War or supplied mercenaries to the parties involved in the conflict.
The Mexican Revolution was a major revolution, including a sequence of armed struggles, lasting roughly from 1910 to 1920, that transformed Mexican culture and government. Its outbreak in 1910 resulted from the increasing unpopularity of the 31-year-long regime of Porfirio Díaz and the regime’s failure to find a controlled solution to presidential succession. This resulted in a power struggle among competing elites, which created the opportunity for agrarian insurrection. Wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero challenged Díaz in the 1910 presidential election, and following the rigged results, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Potosí.Armed conflict broke out in northern Mexico, led by Madero, Pascual Orozco, and Pancho Villa, and with support from portions of the middle class, the peasantry, and organized labor, Díaz was forced out. By the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez, Díaz resigned and went into exile, new elections were scheduled for the fall, and an interim presidency under Francisco León de la Barra was installed. The elections were held in 1911, and in a free and fair vote, Madero was overwhelmingly elected president, taking office in November.
Japanese invasions of Korea
The Japanese invasions of Korea of 1592–1598 or Imjin War involved two separate yet linked invasions: an initial invasion in 1592 (Imjin Disturbance), a brief truce in 1596, and a second invasion in 1597 (Chongyu War). The conflict ended in 1598 with the withdrawal of the Japanese forces from the Korean Peninsula after a military stalemate in Korea’s southern coastal provinces.
Rwandan and Burundian genocide
The Rwandan genocide was the mass slaughter of Tutsi, as well as Twa and moderate Hutu, carried out between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War. The most widely accepted scholarly estimates are around 500,000 to 600,000 Tutsi deaths.In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group composed of Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from their base in Uganda, initiating the Rwandan Civil War. Neither side was able to gain a decisive advantage in the war, and the Rwandan government led by President Juvénal Habyarimana signed the Arusha Accords with the RPF on 4 August 1993. Many historians argue that a genocide against the Tutsi had been planned for at least a year. However, Habyarimana’s assassination on 6 April 1994 created a power vacuum and ended peace accords. Genocidal killings began the following day when soldiers, police, and militia executed key Tutsi and moderate Hutu military and political leaders.
The scale and brutality of the massacre caused shock worldwide, but no country intervened to forcefully stop the killings. Most of the victims were killed in their own villages or towns, many by their neighbors and fellow villagers. Hutu gangs searched out victims hiding in churches and school buildings.
American Civil War
The American Civil War (also known by other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern states loyal to the Union and southern states that had seceded to form the Confederate States of America. The civil war began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of Black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, just over a month after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states’ rights to uphold slavery.
Of the 34 U.S. states in February 1861, seven Southern slave states were declared by their state governments to have seceded from the country, and the Confederate States of America was organized in rebellion against the U.S. constitutional government. The Confederacy grew to control at least a majority of territory in eleven states, and it claimed the additional states of Kentucky and Missouri by assertions from native secessionists fleeing Union authority. These states were given full representation in the Confederate Congress throughout the Civil War. The two remaining slave states, Delaware and Maryland, were invited to join the Confederacy, but nothing substantial developed due to intervention by federal troops.
The Confederate states were never diplomatically recognized as a joint entity by the government of the United States, nor by that of any foreign country. The states that remained loyal to the U.S. were known as the Union. The Union and the Confederacy quickly raised volunteer and conscription armies that fought mostly in the South for four years. Intense combat left between 620,000 and 750,000 soldiers dead, along with an undetermined number of civilians. The Civil War remains the deadliest military conflict in American history, and accounted for more American military deaths than all other wars combined until the Vietnam War.The war effectively ended on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Appomattox Court House. Confederate generals throughout the Southern states followed suit, the last surrender on land occurring June 23. Much of the South’s infrastructure was destroyed, especially its railroads. The Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished, and four million enslaved Black people were freed. The war-torn nation then entered the Reconstruction era in a partially successful attempt to rebuild the country and grant civil rights to freed slaves.
The war is one of the most studied and written about episodes in U.S. history, and remains the subject of cultural and historiographical debate. Of particular interest are the causes of the Civil War and the persisting myth of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. The American Civil War was among the earliest industrial wars. Railroads, the telegraph, steamships and iron-clad ships, and mass-produced weapons were employed extensively. The mobilization of civilian factories, mines, shipyards, banks, transportation, and food supplies all foreshadowed the impact of industrialization in World War I, World War II, and subsequent conflicts. It remains the deadliest war in American history. By one estimate, the war claimed the lives of 10 percent of all Northern men 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white men aged 18–40.
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and their respective allies, the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc, after World War II. Historians do not fully agree on the dates, but the period is generally considered to span the 1947 Truman Doctrine to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union. The term “cold” is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two superpowers, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict was based around the ideological and geopolitical struggle for global influence by the two powers, following their temporary alliance and victory against Nazi Germany in 1945. The doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) discouraged a pre-emptive attack by either side. Aside from the nuclear arsenal development and conventional military deployment, the struggle for dominance was expressed via indirect means such as psychological warfare, propaganda campaigns, espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events and technological competitions such as the Space Race.
The West was led by the United States as well as the other First World nations of the Western Bloc that were generally liberal democratic but tied to a network of authoritarian states, most of which were their former colonies. The East was led by the Soviet Union and its Communist Party, which had an influence across the Second World. The US government supported right-wing governments and uprisings across the world, while the Soviet government funded communist parties and revolutions around the world. As nearly all the colonial states achieved independence in the period 1945–1960, they became Third World battlefields in the Cold War.
The first phase of the Cold War began immediately after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The United States created the NATO military alliance in 1949 in the apprehension of a Soviet attack and termed their global policy against Soviet influence containment. The Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955 in response to NATO. Major crises of this phase included the 1948–49 Berlin Blockade, the 1927–50 Chinese Civil War, the 1950–53 Korean War, the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America, the Middle East, and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia.
Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split between China and the Soviet Union complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US ally France began to demand greater autonomy of action. The USSR invaded Czechoslovakia to suppress the 1968 Prague Spring, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War. In the 1960s–70s, an international peace movement took root among citizens around the world. Movements against nuclear arms testing and for nuclear disarmament took place, with large anti-war protests. By the 1970s, both sides had started making allowances for peace and security, ushering in a period of détente that saw the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People’s Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the USSR.
Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when it was already suffering from economic stagnation. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of glasnost (“openness”, c. 1985) and perestroika (“reorganization”, 1987) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national sovereignty grew stronger in Eastern Europe, and Gorbachev refused to militarily support their governments any longer. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that (with the exception of Romania) peacefully overthrew all of the communist governments of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control in the Soviet Union and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991, the declaration of independence of its constituent republics and the collapse of communist governments across much of Africa and Asia. The United States was left as the world’s only superpower.
The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially with themes of espionage and the threat of nuclear warfare. Meanwhile, a renewed state of tension between one of the Soviet Union’s successor states, the Russian Federation, and the United States in the 21st century (including its Western allies) as well as growing tension between an increasingly powerful China and the U.S. and its Western allies have each been referred to as the Second Cold War.
War in Afghanistan
The War in Afghanistan began following the United States invasion of Afghanistan on 7 October 2001, when the United States of America and its allies successfully drove the Taliban from power in order to deny Al-Qaeda a safe base of operations in Afghanistan. Since the initial objectives were completed, a coalition of over 40 countries (including all NATO members) formed a security mission in the country called International Security Assistance Force (ISAF, succeeded by the Resolute Support Mission (RS) in 2014), of which certain members were involved in military combat allied with Afghanistan’s government. The war has afterwards mostly consisted of Taliban insurgents fighting against the Afghan Armed Forces and allied forces; the majority of ISAF/RS soldiers and personnel are American. The war is code named by the U.S. as Operation Enduring Freedom (2001–14) and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (2015–present); it is the longest war in U.S. history.
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001 on the U.S., which was carried out by the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization led by Osama bin Laden, who was living or hiding in Afghanistan and had already been wanted since the 1998 United States embassy bombings, President George W. Bush demanded that the Taliban, who were de facto ruling Afghanistan, hand over bin Laden.
Yellow Turban Rebellion
The Yellow Turban Rebellion, also translated as the Yellow Scarves Rebellion, was a peasant revolt in China against the Eastern Han dynasty. The uprising broke out in 184 AD during the reign of Emperor Ling. Although the main rebellion was suppressed by 185 AD, pockets of resistance continued and smaller rebellions emerged in later years. It took 21 years until the uprising was fully suppressed in 205 AD. The rebellion, which got its name from the colour of the cloths that the rebels wore on their heads, marked an important point in the history of Taoism due to the rebels’ association with secret Taoist societies. The revolt was also used as the opening event in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence or the Revolutionary War, was initiated by delegates from the thirteen American colonies in Congress against Great Britain over their objection to Parliament’s taxation policies and lack of colonial representation. From their founding in the 1600s, the colonies were largely left to govern themselves. The cost of victory in the 1754 to 1763 French and Indian War and 1756 to 1763 Seven Years’ War left the British government deeply in debt; attempts to have the colonies pay for their own defense were vigorously resisted. The Stamp Act and Townshend Acts provoked colonial opposition and unrest, leading to the 1770 Boston massacre and 1773 Boston Tea Party. When Parliament imposed the Intolerable Acts upon Massachusetts, twelve colonies sent delegates to the First Continental Congress to draft a Petition to the King and organize a boycott of British goods.Fighting broke out on 19 April 1775: the British garrison at Boston was harassed by Massachusetts militia at Lexington and Concord after destroying colonial Assembly powder stores. In June the Second Continental Congress appointed George Washington to create a Continental Army and oversee the capture of Boston. The Patriots sent their Olive Branch Petition to the King and Parliament, both of whom rebuffed it. In response they invaded British Quebec but were repulsed. In July 1776, Congress unanimously passed the Declaration of Independence. Hopes of a quick settlement were supported by American sympathizers within Parliament who opposed Lord North’s “coercion policy” in the colonies. However, the new British commander-in-chief, General Sir William Howe, launched a counter-offensive and captured New York City. Washington retaliated with harassing fire at the Battle of Trenton and Battle of Princeton. Howe’s 1777–1778 Philadelphia campaign captured the city, but the British lost the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777. At Valley Forge during the winter of 1777–1778, Prussian emigrant General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben trained the Continental Army with a system of progressive training.
French Foreign Minister Vergennes saw the war as a way to create an America economically and militarily dependent on France, not Britain. Although talks on a formal alliance began in late 1776, they proceeded slowly until Patriot victory at Saratoga in October 1777. Fears Congress might come to an early settlement with Britain resulted in France and the United States signing two treaties in February 1778. The first was a commercial treaty, the second a Treaty of Alliance; in return for a French guarantee of American independence, Congress agreed to join the war against Britain and defend the French West Indies. Although Spain refused to join the Franco-American alliance, in the 1779 Treaty of Aranjuez they agreed to support France in its global war with Britain, hoping to regain losses incurred in 1713.
In other fronts in North America, Governor of Spanish Louisiana Bernardo Gálvez routed British forces from Louisiana. The Spanish, along with American privateers supplied the 1779 American conquest of Western Quebec (later the US Northwest Territory). Gálvez then expelled British forces from Mobile during the Battle of Fort Charlotte and the Siege of Pensacola, cutting off British military aid to their American Indian allies in the interior southeast. Howe’s replacement, General Sir Henry Clinton, then mounted a 1778 “Southern strategy” from Charleston. After capturing Savannah, defeats at the Battle of Kings Mountain and the Battle of Cowpens forced Cornwallis to retreat to Yorktown, where his army was besieged by an allied French and American force. An attempt to resupply the garrison was repulsed by the French navy at the Battle of the Chesapeake, and Cornwallis surrendered in October 1781.
Although their war with France and Spain continued for another two years, Yorktown ended the British will to continue the war in North America. The North Ministry was replaced by Lord Rockingham, who accepted office on the basis George III agreed to American independence. Preliminary articles were signed in November 1782, and in April 1783 Congress accepted British terms; these included independence, evacuation of British troops, cession of territory up to the Mississippi River and navigation to the sea, as well as fishing rights in Newfoundland. On September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed between Great Britain and the United States, then ratified the following spring.
The Armenian Genocide was the systematic mass murder and expulsion of ethnic Armenians carried out in Turkey and adjoining regions by the Ottoman government during World War I. Although earlier massacres had occurred during the 19th century, and some sporadic massacres of Armenians began in mid-1914, the starting date of the genocide is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders from Constantinople (now Istanbul), most of whom were eventually murdered.
The genocide, ordered by the Three Pashas as part of a process of forced Turkification, was implemented in two phases. First, the able-bodied male population was killed in massacres. Second, according to the Tehcir Law, an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million women, children, elderly, and infirm Armenians were deported on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert in 1915 and 1916. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Only around 200,000 deportees were still alive by the end of 1916. According to some definitions the genocide includes the Republic of Turkey’s massacres of tens of thousands of Armenian civilians during the 1920 Turkish–Armenian War.
The history of human civilization is full of wars, there would hardly have been such a decade in human history when there is no involvement in human wars. It is difficult to sort out the selected war from thousands of thousands, but we have prepared this list by trying according to our ability, your feedback will help us improve.
In this list, we have selected some wars on the following basis:
1.Wars that are 2500 years old or more, or whose evidence has been destroyed over time, were not included in the list, such as the Mahabharata
2.The economic losses due to wars were not taken into consideration.
3.Only those wars have been kept in which most people have lost their lives.
4.In any major war, if small wars are involved then only big war is added (Indian wars may be exceptions) such as people killed by large number of Japanese army during World War II, around 2 crores People became victims of war crimes, The Holocaust (Jewish massacre) and other incidents in which millions of innocent people lost their lives.
5.Some human conspiracy or natural disasters which caused more harm than war, but those which do not fall in the category of war, were not added. Such as Holodomor (massacre of Ukraine) and persecution of Hazara people (in which 60% of the Afghan population was killed)
6.Some of the wars of China which could not get more information have been abandoned.
7.The number of deaths is shown in the average. The average of the minimum and maximum figures of people who died in any war has been used.
Apart from this list, also see this link, a large part of the list is inspired by this link.List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll – WikiPedia=