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Questions tagged [war]

An armed conflict between state actors, typically for a political or economic aim. Use this tag for specific wars.

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Do historians agree that most wars are caused by religion?

I'm not a historian, but this is a very common claim that crops up in debates over God's existence and religious scripture. What is the opinion of the community of professional historians?
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Has there ever been a truly multi-sided war?

I was playing StarCraft the other night, and it occurred to me: that game series portrays effectively a 3-way war, where all three factions are fighting the other two with equal ferocity. Obviously, ...
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How did Israel win the Six-Day War?

Considering Israel fought several Arab countries, which had troops largely outnumbering the Israeli, how did they manage to win the war decisively, with much fewer casualties than the Arab countries? ...
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How has hearing loss been avoided in war?

Guns are very loud, even in an open field. In a trench or inside a city, I can only imagine they would be louder, and quite capable of causing hearing loss. How have armies ensured that their troops ...
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How did pilots know when to release bombs on airplanes during World War2?

Given that during this time computing technology wasn't advanced enough to calculate when to drop bombs accurately on a target, I recall hearing something about bomber pilots using a modified watch to ...
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Has there ever been an instance of an active nuclear power plant within or near a war zone?

The question Has there ever been a military combat going on around an active (running or in outage but not decommissioned) commercial nuclear power plant? Or dangerously near it? If yes, how did the ...
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2answers
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How were tanks scrapped after World War Two?

Both Axis & Allied nations produced thousands of tanks during the Second World War. However, not many of these vehicles survive to this day (there are exceptions of course). When reading about the ...
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13answers
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Has anyone ever named a war after their own country or faction?

An interesting conversation has come up on the Science Fiction and Fantasy SE site. I will try to summarize it as briefly as possible. Someone asked a question about the second Star Wars prequel. ...
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How did Genghis Khan's army feed so many horses?

The average horse eats 10-20 pounds per day, according to this pet website. Considering the fact that the horses may have to eat even more because of the hard traveling they had to endure, it's likely ...
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What was the status of Arab Christians during the crusades?

Did Arab Christians take an active role in the crusades in the Holy Land or at any point on their trip to the Holy Land. Or were they victims of the crusaders? Did the crusaders typically ...
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Was the Wehrmacht a mechanized army?

I read random descriptions of Germany's attack on the Soviet Union, and I got the impression that besides tanks, the armies carried with them millions of horses and that the bulk of the soldiers were ...
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1answer
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CIA mole in Indira Gandhi's Cabinet

It is discussed in several books that the CIA had a mole in Indira Gandhi's cabinet around the time of the Liberation war for Bangladesh in 1971. There are conflicting reports about who the mole could ...
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Has there ever been a battle with only a single survivor?

Do we have record of any large scale battle (for example more than 1000 combatants) where only one person survived? I just thought of it randomly and wondered whether it may have ever happened.
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Which war games did Napoleon practice with his generals?

I have read that Napoleon actively used to play strategy games with his generals in order to understand how they act in a range of situations. The generals also learned the same thing about each other....
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Why are the French and Indian Wars / Seven Years' War not considered WW 1?

The French and Indian Wars, which began in 1754, led to the Seven Years War beginning two years later in 1756; both ended in 1763. Why is this not considered World War 1? It was a world conflict, was ...
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1answer
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When did countries begin making up a pretext before starting a war?

In the past few centuries an unwritten rule has been followed where countries make up some sort of plausible-sounding excuse before starting a war. As an example, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939 ...
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What pretext did Hitler use to justify Operation Barbarossa?

At the beginning of WW2, Nazi Germany orchestrated the infamous Gleiwitz Incident, which was used by Hitler to publicly declare, that since 5:45 we are returning fire. The invasion of Poland ...
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Did Roman troops suffer from PTSD?

After the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq there has been a lot of talking about how many soldiers suffer from PTSD when they return home. I'm interested in knowing more about war trauma and PTSD in ...
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Was Nixon's Vietnam claim right before the 1968 election true?

In Richard Nixon's final appeal to voters on NBC right before the 1968 Presidential Election, he made an explosive claim about the Vietnam war. Here is how the Eugene Register-Guard reported it: [...
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What was the cleanest war ever fought?

If not all, the vast majority of wars in known history were dirty, cruel and with a lot of civilian casualties. That makes me wonder if there has ever been a "clean" war where both sides played "by ...
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How did the US/South Vietnam lose the Vietnam war?

South Vietnam was helped by US. Even when the US was gone, they had a 1 million army. So why did they lose? Even without US support, South Vietnam had about the same manpower, higher technology, and ...
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When was the last time a reigning monarch personally participated in battle?

A similar question was asked about only British monarchs. The conditions in this question are the same, but for monarchs world-wide. For the sake of this question, tribal chiefs are not considered ...
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Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan? [closed]

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
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Was Japan known to be a potential threat to the USA in the 10 year period prior to 1941

In the years leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack, did non-military Americans see Japan as a potential threat to the USA?
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What was the Seven Years War called at first?

When the Seven Years War broke out, obviously they had no idea how long it would last. What did Europeans call this war at first? I know that in the North American Theater, it was called the French ...
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Japan is known for being isolationist, so what cultivated its history of interventionism in the 20th century?

For much of its history, Japan was a very isolationistic country, and in fact, even in modern Japan, there is still a strong isolationist attitude among the Japanese people in some ways. During the ...
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1answer
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When and why did war chariots stopped being used?

Many cultures (Egypt, Celts, etc...) had war chariots either as mobile platforms or as troop transport. What other advance in warfare made them obsolete?
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What / When was the first use of concentration camps in history?

I distinctly remember a history teacher of mine claiming that the first use of the concept of concentration camps was done by the English against the Boers in the Anglo-Boer wars, I have wondered for ...
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Why were battles massed until the late 1800s?

If you look at pictures of battles until the mid/late 19th century, the typical battle involved masses of soldiers advancing against each other. It doesn't seem that they tried taking cover or ...
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What was the last battle fought mainly by sail-powered ships?

When and where has the last battle between sail-powered ships been fought? If possible, please include the countries involved as well as the armament and types of ships.
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Why did Sun Tzu believe you shouldn't wait beside a river when eager to fight?

In Sun Tzu's Art of War, Chapter 9 (The Army on the March), Verse 5, Tzu says If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. My thinking is ...
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3answers
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Why was Switzerland not attacked during the two World Wars?

Why in WW1 or WW2 or ever nobody invaded Switzerland? All other countries was in some wars. How Switzerland do it and should we learn from them? I hear that many people with power have money in swiss ...
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7answers
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Did the Celts really go into battle naked?

Yes, this of-repeated tale was reported by the Romans all the time, but it sounds a lot like rumor. Stuff the victors write about their former enemies, "they were so stupid, they went into battle ...
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Why did the Monitor and Merrimac (aka Virginia) have such radically different designs?

This is something that's always baffled me. You have one ship that appears to sit just above the water with one little canon on a turret (the Monitor) and a second that sits high and is brimming with ...
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Which was the last major war in which horse mounted cavalry actually participated in active fighting?

Which was the last major war in which horses were used for frequent fighting? Why were these horses used, and about how many were there? This is not a duplicate of the question (When was the last ...
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Why were bloody religious wars so incredibly frequent in Europe in the century following the Reformation? [closed]

Beginning in 1520, right after Martin Luther's Reformation, bloody religious wars began that kept recurring almost yearly for over a century. The Reformation's rapid spread drew battle lines accross ...
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Which was the first war in which photography was employed? [closed]

Undoubtedly photography has greatly changed public perception of war; but there is no clear point in which photography began to be used—whether for documenting war or anything else. So I’m left ...
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Why was there lack of food during WW2 in the UK?

Why was there lack of food during the WW2 in the UK? I understand the lack of food in the countries occupied by Germans, as they recruited a lot of agricultural products for their war machinery. But ...
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Which nations have armed prisoners and sent them to war?

I'm looking for examples of countries that have armed prisoners and sent them to war? Were the prisoners coerced, or were they offered amnesty should they survive?
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Has any medieval army ever fought 3 or more distinct battles on the same day?

In the fantasy fiction A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of thrones, during Robert's Rebellion, three battles were fought in the same day, in the same place. There where particular conditions that lead to ...
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1answer
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When and where did just war theory originate?

I was reading an entry from Victor Reppert's blog (Reppert being a noted apologist), where he mentioned that just war theory, specifically prohibitions on what you could do during a war and afterwards,...
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Has a major war ever occured and a map before the war looked exactly the same after? [closed]

By this I mean has there ever been a major military conflict from the time periods of 1500 ad to present (I disregard civil wars and weird things like say the Pig War etc...) where if you had a map ...
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WW2: Did US marines and soldiers really go into action with unbuckled helmet chin straps?

(Note: links go to realistically portrayed scenes of WW2 combat.) I am watching Youtube clips of WW2 miniseries, like The Pacific and Band of Brothers. Based on a non-scientific survey of these ...
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Why do land mines seem to be a more serious problem in the Balkans than the Alps?

The last war in the Balkans finished around 2000. Until today, land mines are a big problem, especially in Bosnia. There are huge regions where you shouldn't leave paved terrain. Since I love hiking, ...
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What reasons did the Confederacy have for believing they would have a quick victory?

At the beginning of the U.S. Civil War, both sides were very confident in a quick and easy victory. I can see why the North would think so: they had a better trained army, better infrastructure (...
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How were diplomats and their staffs treated when World War II was declared?

This could be a large and varied subject so I will restrict it to the 20th century and give two instances. In Sept 39, after Poland was invaded, the British diplomat in Berlin handed a note to the ...
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2answers
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Private firms (aka mercenaries) as a police force

Since the police invited security firms to bid for roles in the UK, I was wondering if there are historical events where mercenaries were used to police a city (or town or local) and what the effects ...
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1answer
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How was armour rusting in the rain handled throughout history?

Various sources (ex) state as one of the biggest advantages of non-metal armours, that they did not rust in the rain. However, a knight would have a squire to clean and oil his armour every evening. ...
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What was the first known war in history?

Not the first instance of warfare, which surely predates recorded history, but of an organized war between civilizations. For the purposes of this question I'll define a war as: Defined scope: the ...
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Why did the Arabs start the 1973 War during Ramadan, and did it affect their performance?

The Arab-Israeli War in 1973, besides the Jewish Holiday, also took place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which practicing Muslims observe mandatory daytime fasting. Did this affect ...