The Fluidity of War

War is an organized and often prolonged conflict that is carried out by states or non-state actors. It is generally characterised by extreme violence, social disruption, and economic destruction. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and therefore is defined as a form of political violence or intervention. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace. In 2003, Nobel Laureate Richard E.
Smalley identified war as the sixth biggest problem facing humanity for the next fifty years. In the 1832 treatise On War, Prussian military general and theoretician Carl von Clausewitz defined war as follows: “War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will. ” While some scholars see warfare as an inescapable and integral aspect of human nature, others argue that it is only inevitable under certain socio-cultural or ecological circumstances. Some scholars argue that the practice of war is not linked to any single type of political organization or society.
Rather, as discussed by John Keegan in his History of Warfare, war is a universal phenomenon whose form and scope is defined by the society that wages it. Another argument suggests that since there are human societies in which warfare does not exist, humans may not be naturally disposed for warfare, which emerges under particular circumstances. The deadliest war in history, in terms of the cumulative number of deaths since its start, is the Second World War, with 60–85 million deaths.

Proportionally speaking, the most destructive war in modern history has been claimed to be the War of the Triple Alliance, which took the lives of over 60% of Paraguay’s population. Etymology The English word war derives from the late Old English words wyrre and werre; the Old North French werre; the Frankish werra; and the Proto-Germanic werso. The denotation of war derives from the Old Saxon werran, Old High German werran, and the German verwirren: “to confuse”, “to perplex”, and “to bring into confusion”.
Another posited derivation is from the Ancient Greek barbaros, the Old Persian varhara, and the Sanskrit varvar and barbara. In German, the equivalent is Krieg; the equivalent Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian words for “war” is guerra, derived from the Germanic werra . Etymologic legend has it that the Romanic peoples adopted a foreign, Germanic word for “war”, to avoid using the Latin bellum, because, when sounded, it tended to merge with the sound of the word bello .
The scholarly study of war is sometimes called polemology, from the Greek polemos, meaning “war”, and -logy, meaning “the study of”. Types of war War, to become known as one, must entail some degree of confrontation using weapons and other military technology and equipment by armed forces employing military tactics and operational art within the broad military strategy subject to military logistics. War Studies by military theorists throughout military history have sought to identify the philosophy of war, and to reduce it to a military science.
Modern military science considers several factors before a national defence policy is created to allow a war to commence: the environment in the area of combat operations, the posture national forces will adopt on the commencement of a war, and the type of warfare troops will be engaged in. Conventional warfare is an attempt to reduce an opponent’s military capability through open battle. It is a declared war between existing states in which nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons are not used or only see limited deployment in support of conventional military goals and maneuvers.
The opposite of conventional warfare, unconventional warfare, is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing conflict. Nuclear warfare is warfare in which nuclear weapons are the primary, or a major, method of coercing the capitulation of the other side, as opposed to a supporting tactical or strategic role in a conventional conflict. Civil war is a war where the forces in conflict belong to the same nation or political entity and are vying for control of or independence from that nation or political entity.
Asymmetric warfare is a conflict between two populations of drastically different levels of military capability or size. Asymmetric conflicts often result in guerrilla tactics being used to overcome the sometimes vast gaps in technology and force size. Intentional air pollution in combat is one of a collection of techniques collectively called chemical warfare. Poison gas as a chemical weapon was principally used during World War I, and resulted in an estimated 91,198 deaths and 1,205,655 injuries. Various treaties have sought to ban its further use. Non-lethal chemical weapons, such as tear gas and pepper spray, are widely used, sometimes with deadly effect.
Behaviour and conduct in war The behaviour of troops in warfare varies considerably, both individually and as units or armies. In some circumstances, troops may engage in genocide, war rape and ethnic cleansing. Commonly, however, the conduct of troops may be limited to posturing and sham attacks, leading to highly rule-bound and often largely symbolic combat in which casualties are much reduced from that which would be expected if soldiers were genuinely violent towards the enemy. Situations of deliberate dampening of hostilities occurred in World War I by some accounts, e.

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