A private citizen who is not part of the armed forces of a country. With the growth of resistance movements and Guerrilla warfare the line between who is a civilian and who is a legitimate target in war has blurred. With the idea of 'Total War' civilian populations became part of the war effort and the deaths of civilians became more acceptable during military operations against industrial targets. With the end of the Cold War large numbers of civilian casualties(now often termed collateral damage) are once again deemed unacceptable, especially during UN Peacekeeping operations. The development and widespread use of PGM (precision guided munitions) such as laser guided bombs has reduced the cost in civilian lives but has far from eliminated it.
How to cite this article:
Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (17 January 2001), Civilian, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/concepts_civilian.html