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The Nine World Wars

Discussion in 'World History' started by Jimcat, Jan 17, 2002.

  1. Jimcat

    Jimcat Culture Vulture

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    Over in the Civ3 general discussions forum, I mentioned that there have been nine world wars since the 17th century. A few people asked me questions about this, and since I haven't had time to go to my local library, I did the next best thing and surfed around on the Net for references.

    A lot of Americans, including myself, would have learned about the nine world wars during their high school history class (if they were awake). One of the standard textbooks, _The American Pageant_, devotes a section to these wars. I highly recommend _The American Pageant_ as a valuable, and very readable, reference on US history. (Unfortunately I no longer have my copy and will have to track down a new one.)

    I'll follow this post with a list of the wars. Hopefully more discussion will follow.
     
  2. Jimcat

    Jimcat Culture Vulture

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    I. King William's War, 1689-1697

    II. Queen Anne's War, 1702-1713

    III. King George's War, 1744-1748

    IV. French and Indian War, 1754-1763

    V. American Revolution, 1775-1783

    VI. French Revolution, 1798- 1800

    VII. Napoleonic Wars (War of 1812), 1812-1814

    VIII. The Great War (World War I), 1914-1918

    IX. Hitler's War/Pacific War (World War II), 1933-1945
     
  3. DingBat

    DingBat Paranoid Android

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    What's the criteria for being considered a World War?

    If it's simply the involvement of multiple combatants, then could you call the Gulf War a World War?

    The Vietnam conflict included VietNam, Cambodia, Laos and involved North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodia, The United States, Australia, Korea, etc.

    Similar points for Korea.

    Not trying to cause unrest, just want to know what criteria is used. :)

    /bruce
     
  4. willemvanoranje

    willemvanoranje Curitibano

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    Let's just keep it to two world wars, the others aren't really world wars. Especially not those revolutions.
     
  5. Vrylakas

    Vrylakas The Verbose Lord

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    It's a bit difficult to really define what a world war is. I've heard many historians refer to the Seven Years War (French & Indian War to Americans) as the first true world war, with battles raging in Europe, North America, the Mediterranean and India.

    I'm not sure it's that easy to define a world war however. The reality of the expanding European colonial empires from the 17th century on pretty much guarantees any involvement by one of the European Atlantic states will transform the war into a world war. However, while the geographic scope of these wars is often global, there were usually only a small handful of combattants involved, along with token colonial forces. In the world wars of the 20th century, there was essentially a global free-for-all on every continent except South America. World War II was really a massive patchwork of local wars that all got tied into the larger Axis-Allied conflict, so that it was the Ethiopian War for Independence, the Finnish, Bulgarian and Hungarian wars for revenge and revanchism, the Japanese war for a stable supply of vital resources and empire, an Indonesian war of independence against the Dutch, a continuation in the Chinese war of succession, an Italian war to remain relevant in Europe, an Iraqi war to expel the British colonial masters, etc. etc. etc. All these local wars took place under the guise of either Axis or Allied sponsorship, and we wrap them all up today under the single name, "WW II".

    17th and 18th century "world" wars were simply wars between European colonial combatants who utilized local resources.
     
  6. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    I'd really disagree with that.
    IMHO, the Napoleonic Wars was the first truely global war. As well as fighting in Europe which stretched for Bantry Bay (Ireland) to Moscow, there was extensive fighting in Africa (Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, the British conquests of Capetown), The Caribbean, South American (the occupation of Buenos Aires) and Asia (the fighting in India).
     
  7. Richard III

    Richard III Duke of Gloucester

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    Stupid semantic thinking, but I've always distinguished wars like the Seven Years War as a "global war" vs. the World Wars.

    R.III
     
  8. amadeus

    amadeus Arm is normal. I am not.

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    World War I and World War II are the only ones that deserve the "world" title. Like the French Revolution...that didn't have any significant impact on Japan or the United States.
     
  9. willemvanoranje

    willemvanoranje Curitibano

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    I must say the Napoleonic Wars were nothing compared to the both World Wars. If I invade Germany and take a village on every continent it isn't a global war, right?
     
  10. Stefan Haertel

    Stefan Haertel Title

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    Sorry, this could be considered as off-topic, but there have been geopolitical conflicts in antiquity as well. Take the greater "Persian" Wars (500-449 BC). The Persians were allied to the Carthaginians, who in return were allied to the Etruscans, who all stood against certain Greek powers (Athens, Sparta, Syracuse) in a conflict that involved most of the Mediterranean. And this is the ancient world. Ditto for the Pelopponesian Wars. There are so many conflicts throughout world history that can be considered as "World" Wars, if you regard the little worlds some people thought they lived in.
    But I say, let's stick with WWI and WWII and the specific definitions for all the other wars.
     
  11. Magnus

    Magnus Diplocat

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    The French Revolution had ENORMOUS impact on America - for one example - have you ever heard of the Louisiana Purchase?
     
  12. kobayashi

    kobayashi Deity

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    Would it be right to term a war a world war if fighting occured on more than one continent. (sending troops from another continent is not counted). That would make sense since a war in Europe would be called a European war but what would you call a war where fighting takes place in Europe and Africa, Afro-Euro war?
     
  13. amadeus

    amadeus Arm is normal. I am not.

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    We would have taken it by force anyhow...

    What would the French army do, fight us?
     
  14. Blackadder

    Blackadder Rooted to the spot

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    Perhaps it would be better to think of a world war as a war over Three continents, and the two classic World Wars featuring war-fare in more than Three continents
     
  15. cafka

    cafka Working Class Hero

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    The "requirements" for a war to be considered as a "World War" is that more than two continents must be included AND more than two nations must be involved.

    WWI: Europe & Asia.

    WWII: Europe, Africa, North America & Asia.
     
  16. Jimcat

    Jimcat Culture Vulture

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    As the one who started the thread, I think it's about time I put my two cents in. (-:

    What constitutes a "World War"? We've seen a few people post definitions. My take on this is that, to be called a World War, the war must:

    1. Involve a majority of the world's Great Powers (opening the door for debate on what constitutes a "Great Power")

    2. Have theaters of battle in at least three continents or the seas around them

    Take note of that last phrase. When people start cataloging the theaters of battle for a world war, many people tend to forget the oceans. But, as Alfred Thayer Mahan and others have pointed out, the oceans are often the most important battlefields, especially in a war of intercontinental scope.

    Take the First World War: there was no fighting in North or South America, but plenty going on in the Atlantic Ocean. Allied control of the Atlantic made possible the blockade of Germany and the convoys of US troops to France. Without those actions, the war would have, at the very least, dragged on for a lot longer.

    Likewise, how do you determine who was "involved" in a world war? The fighting in WWI didn't come anywhere near Australia, but if you ask any Australian, they'll know that their country did fight in that war!

    So going back to the earlier "world wars", and looking at the naval actions in the North Atlantic, Caribbean, Pacific (the Philippines were one of Spain's most strategic possessions for about four centuries, and plenty of fighting was done along the spice routes during the 17th-19th centuries) as well as the continental ambitions of the major powers, I think you can find justification for labeling all of these wars as "World Wars".
     
  17. Blackadder

    Blackadder Rooted to the spot

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    Actually, war was fought in Africa, as Germany still had colonies then, Belgium had the Congo, French Africa and British Africa etc. Plus near the end, America was involved, not forgeting Canada who helped in the beginning. (This is if we do not include Australia, of course) Thus I say Three continents for a lesser world war and more for the two big world wars.
     
  18. Hamlet

    Hamlet Manic Depressive

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    Yes. Probably would have won, too. Wouldn't exactly have been a brilliant tactical move, either, peeing off the one country that had been instrumental in the survivial of your nation in the face of Britain. Wouldn't exactly have left you with many friends either. You have to remember that France at this time was debatably the most powerful country in the world, if not then somewhere exceedingly near.

    Also, regarding your sig, don't you find the prospect of Ronald Regan suffering from alzeimers (sp) disease in office rather frightening? The man was rather 'mentally loose' when he was in full health.
     
  19. FredLC

    FredLC A Lawyer as You Can See! Retired Moderator

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    I'd like to add a perspective in the effects of the French Revolution on America. It had ENOURMOUS impact not only in USA, but all around the world.

    Keeping focused in USA, though. It did much, much more than opening the maket for buying land. The most important consequence of the French Revolution was phylosophycal.

    The ideals "liberty, iguality and fraternity" shaped the idealistic minds in America, helping to build the principles that to this day rules the country.

    More importantly, being free from the noble hierarquics and with little resistence like the one the europen revolutinarys met, the idealistic men in USA found an open ground to apply all that concepts of respect for the individual, that USA population charishy so deeply and that stands as a model to the world.

    USA was probably the first real free country in a internally political sense... but it's very likely it wouldn't be exactly like that without the ideas born in France.
     
  20. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    Regan's doctors recomended that he not run for a second term due to him showing the early symtoms of alzeimers.
     

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