War can be defined as organised fighting, on a large scale, over a period of time between different ethnic, national or racial groups. This defination is vague because Wars have been extremely diverse in their length, cause, level of organisation and scale, although depressingly common throughout human history. Wars range in length from the Hundred Years War to the Six Day War, and even to the Gulf War whose ground combat phase lasted only 100 hours. The causes of War throughout history have been equally diverse and often the real causes lie hidden, obscured by politics and a smoke screen of false motives. Although wars rarely have a single cause, common causes include religion as in the Crusades, Kosovo, Bosnia, Sudan and Israel, land as in the Second World War, the Iran/Iraq War, and the Falkands, and Politics as in Vietnam, World War I, and the Korean War. A War has even been fought over football with the so called Soccer War. Intensity varies greatly with some brief wars in small countires lasting a short period or simmering at a low level of violence to the vast World Wars which encompassed large numbers of countires and killed millions by their conclusion. What the future holds for War is uncertain, with the end of the Cold War the risk of a Third World War has greatly diminished. The number of small wars still ongoing has sadly not decreased and has if anything increased as we enter the 21st Century, with a growing trend to wars over ethnicity with the violence against civilian populations that such wars bring. "I do not know with what weapons the Third World War will be fought with, but the Fourth will be fought with sticks and stones" Albert Einstien
How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (8 January 2001), War, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/concepts_war.html

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