"" The World Wars General Knowledge: War
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  • Sunday, May 8, 2016

    War


    World War I (1914-1918)
    World War II (1914-1918)

    Here are the top 25 U.S. newspapers 
    USA Today – 239,425,560.
    The New York Times – 217,513,400.
    The Wall Street Journal – 122,397,004.
    The Los Angeles Times – 94,889,543.
    The Washington Post – 9,1758,837.
    New York Daily News – 82,225,690.

    Since the dawn of history, people have fought against other people. Any struggle in which two large groups try to destroy or conquer each other is a war. There have been many kinds of wars. Families have fought against families, tribes against tribes, followers of one religion against followers of another. In modern times, wars have been fought between nations or groups of nations. Armies and navies once were almost the only factors in deciding the outcome of wars. Today, civilians must join in the war effort if it is to succeed.
    Wars have always caused great suffering and hard­ship. Most people hate war, yet for hundreds of years war has been going on somewhere in the world nearly all the time. Earthquakes and floods happen to people, but people make war themselves. To understand why wars continue to go on when nearly everyone wants to have peace, we must look into the nature of war.
    Causes of war. In modern times, no nation or group chooses war if it can get what it wants peacefully. The fighting starts when a nation wants something so badly that it is willing to go to war to get it. Sometimes war re suits from a disagreement between two nations, and sometimes from a desire for conquest. Some of the basic causes of war may be a desire for more land, a de sire for more wealth, a desire for more power, or a de­sire for security.
    War for land to live on. In ancient times, people often fought so that they could get enough to eat. When the pasture lands in Central Asia dried up, hungry tribes would make war on their neighbours in order to get new lands. The neighbours sometimes fought back. More often they gave up their lands and tried to seize those of a still weaker tribe.
    Much of the fighting that went on between the early American pioneers and American Indians was this kind of war. The Indians wanted to roam freely over the land hunting, trapping, or fishing. The pioneers wanted to clear the land and plant it in crops. Indian fighting was dangerous, and no one who already had a good farm was likely to go out and fight the Indians for another. But landless people preferred the dangers of war to the horrors of poverty.
    This type of war has not entirely disappeared, but it no longer common or important. The early war for lane to live on usually had these two important characteris­tics: those who did the fighting made the decision to fight, and the fighters wanted something for themselves.
    War for wealth. The peoples of ancient empires fought many wars for wealth. The decision to fight was made by the ruler of the empire and his or her advisers The fighting was often done by hired armies. A ruler who sought to conquer new lands did not intend to drive the people out of the lands. Generally, he or she just wanted to collect taxes from the people in the territory invaded.
    When Alexander the Great led his armies against the Persian Empire, the common people of the invaded lands paid little attention, except to hope that their own property would not be destroyed. It usually made little difference to these people which ruler collected taxes. Wars were fought solely by rulers and their armies.
    In the Middle Ages, there were many wars for wealth. Often one noble would try to seize the property of an­other. Fie would use his own soldiers and perhaps hire other leaders and their soldiers to help him. Sometime the conqueror of a city would take a large money pay­ment in return for leaving the city in peace.
    War for power. The great European nations fought wars throughout the world to gain or increase their power. These wars united the people and strengthened the governments. Wars of conquest based on the idea: of a super-race or of a superior economic system are often wars to extend the power of a government.
    War for security. Most countries fear the possibility of attack, and maintain armed forces to defend them­selves. Sometimes this fear may be directed toward a particular country. In that case a nation may decide to choose its own time and strike the first blow. Or it may decide to conquer some weaker neighbour, and thus in­crease its own resources as a defence against attack.
    Differences between causes and reasons. When a nation makes war, its government always states the rea­sons for the war. This is necessary if the people are to be united in the war effort. But the reasons given for a war need not be the same as its causes. For example, Russia pointed to Turkish oppression of Orthodox Chris­tians living in the Ottoman Empire as a reason for its at­tack on the Turks in 1853. This action began the Crimean War (1853-1856). A cause which was not stated was the Russian desire to expand in the Black Sea region, at the expense of the weak Ottoman Empire. This policy was feared by both Britain and France. It was one of the im­portant causes of the war, but it was not stated as a rea­son. The causes of war may be selfish, base, or even wicked, but the reasons stated are usually lofty and noble. Both sides in a war may show reasons which they consider to be valid.
    War means absence of law. War is not the only kind of struggle in which there may be some right on both sides. Almost every case that comes to trial before a court has this same quality. In a suit over property, both sides can usually show a claim of some sort. The court has to decide which is the better claim. If there were no court, both persons claiming the property might feel justified in fighting for it.
    In early history many men carried weapons and set­tled their disputes by fighting. Until the law and the courts were established, they had no other way to settle quarrels in which both sides were partly right. People often joined forces against thieves and other outlaws, but they could not handle quarrels between honest peo­ple who disagreed about their rights.
    Today a similar problem exists among nations. The people in any country are likely to see their own inter­ests more clearly than those of people in another coun­try. People's own desires seem so reasonable and so im­portant that the desires of people in another country are likely to look selfish and unreasonable. Laws and courts can settle such disputes within a country, but there has as yet been no effective law between countries. That is why the use of force to settle a dispute is a crime within a country and a war between countries. War can exist only where there is no effective law.
    Most wars have several "causes." In modern times, a nation usually does not make war for a single simple reason. There may be dozens or hundreds of causes for war. In every country there are groups of people with different aims and different hopes. When nearly all these groups are willing, each for its own reasons, to run the risk of war, war will almost certainly result.
    For example, some nations wanted to enter World War I because they were angry with the Germans for in­vading Belgium. Some groups wanted to make sure that Great Britain and France would win the war, because of their close economic and cultural ties with these coun­tries. Some people feared that the German campaign might halt trade and cause a depression. Some were in­dignant at the sinking of the Lusitania, and other atroci­ties. Others believed that the Germans were wrong and the Allies were right, and wanted to help the right side.
    A few people saw that it would not be safe to allow Ger­many to dominate Europe.
    Depression and war. Some economists and histori­ans think there is a close connection between war and economic depression. They argue that in a worldwide depression every country tries to protect itself at the ex­pense of other countries. Each nation wants to cut down unemployment at home, and tries to make sure that little is bought from abroad which could be made by its own workers at home. This can easily be done by raising tar­iffs. It is sometimes called a way of "exporting unem­ployment" to other countries.
    The chief concern of any government during a de­pression is to get people back to work. One way to do this is by building armaments. If anger can be stirred up against another country, or if people can be made to feel that they are in danger of attack, funds for military preparation are readily voted. Besides, the armed forces themselves give employment to many.
    A modern democracy should never risk war in order to end a depression or put people to work. But war may provide more employment and give many people a larger share of food, clothing, and other good things than they can have in a depression. For this reason, a long depression makes war seem less dreadful to those who have lost all hope, and may drive them to follow such nonhumanitarian leaders as Adolf Hitler.
    War aims and peace aims. War seldom accom­plishes the complete results any side has hoped for. Many people with different purposes may unite to make war, but they often start quarrelling among themselves when the war is over. In order to hold a warring people or group of countries together, peace aims are usually stated in vague, general terms, so that everyone con­cerned can see in them a promise of what he wants. When the victory is won, general terms become spe­cific, and usually do not satisfy all the winners.
    Methods of warfare. Changes in the ways of waging war have had a great effect on the way people live.
    Some historians think that the idea of human equality came to be widely accepted because guns took the place of spears, swords, and arrows as the chief weap­ons of war. They point out that an armoured knight in feudal days was more than a match for dozens of men who had no armour. But, these historians point out, the soldiers of the 1700's, with guns in their hands, were equal or nearly equal to the same number of similarly armed, enemy soldiers. Following their theory, the his­torians point out that when one soldier became the equal of another, some people decided that voting was an easy way to tell how a fight over an issue would come out. The idea of human equality gained strength when people accepted each individual's right to casta vote that was just as important as any other individual's vote.
    Modern warfare has moved away from the days when soldiers with rifles were the most important part of an army. War has been mechanized until it is in large part a contest in producing machinery. In the 1600's and 1700's, it made sense to protect the right to bear arms, so that people could overthrow a tyrannical government.
    Today, the private citizen cannot keep the kinds of weapons that would serve this purpose.
    The atomic bomb, used by the Allies against Japan in 1945, has brought another great change into warfare. After the invention of the bomb, it seemed probable that future wars would be short and terribly destructive. Great cities could be destroyed and millions of people killed within a few hours. The only question was whether the nations of the world could change their habits fast enough to keep war from breaking out. See Nuclear weapon.
    Total war is one in which a nation uses all its people, resources, and weapons. In such wars, civilians as well as military people take part in the war effort. For exam­ple, World Wars I and II were total wars in which entire populations took part Civilians worked on such activi­ties as civil defence and weapons manufacture, and many civilians were killed by bombs.
    Limited war is one in which the warring nations limit the weapons they use, the targets they attack, or the areas involved. Since the invention of the atomic bomb, limited war has come to mean a war in which neither side uses atomic weapons. The Korean War (1950-1953) was a limited war in this sense. Only North and South Korea fought a total war. Neither the Soviet Union nor the United States used their nuclear weapons.
    After World War II, several international disputes grew into wars. But fear of nuclear destruction pre­vented any of the wars from becoming total. These lim­ited wars include such wars as the Middle East wars of 1948,1956,1967, and 1973.
    Is war "normal"? Democratic countries take it for granted that peace is normal, and that war means some­thing has gone wrong. But it is hard to say just where peace ends and war begins. Nations may be on un­friendly terms for years, building up their armies and navies, seeking allies, and trying to win control of each other's markets, without any actual clash of armed forces. These countries might be considered to be merely observing a rest period between wars. Many his­torians consider the years between World Wars I and II as a breathing spell in a single great war.
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