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Portal:War

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The war portal

Introduction

War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant suffering and casualties.

While some scholars see war as a universal and ancestral aspect of human nature, others argue it is a result of specific socio-cultural or ecological circumstances.

The deadliest war in history, in terms of the cumulative number of deaths since its start, is World War II, from 1939 to 1945, with 60–85 million deaths, followed by the Mongol conquests at up to 60 million. As concerns a belligerent's losses in proportion to its prewar population, the most destructive war in modern history may have been the Paraguayan War (see Paraguayan War casualties). In 2013 war resulted in 31,000 deaths, down from 72,000 deaths in 1990. In 2003, Richard Smalley identified war as the sixth biggest problem (out of ten) facing humanity for the next fifty years. War usually results in significant deterioration of infrastructure and the ecosystem, a decrease in social spending, famine, large-scale emigration from the war zone, and often the mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilians. For instance, of the nine million people who were on the territory of the Byelorussian SSR in 1941, some 1.6 million were killed by the Germans in actions away from battlefields, including about 700,000 prisoners of war, 500,000 Jews, and 320,000 people counted as partisans (the vast majority of whom were unarmed civilians). Another byproduct of some wars is the prevalence of propaganda by some or all parties in the conflict, and increased revenues by weapons manufacturers.

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Red officers on their horses during the Finnish Civil War

The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The war was fought from January 27, 1918 to May 15, 1918, between the forces called the "Reds" led by the People's Deputation of Finland under the control of the Finnish Social Democrats, and the forces called the "Whites", led by the Senate of Vaasa representing the Senate of Finland formed by the bourgeois parties. The defeat in World War I and the February and October revolutions in 1917 caused a total collapse of the Russian Empire; and the destruction of the mother country resulted in a corresponding breakdown of Finnish society during 1917. As there were no generally accepted police and army forces to keep order in Finland after March 1917, the left and right began building security groups of their own, leading to the emergence of two independent armed military troops, the White and Red Guards. The Whites were the victors in the war that followed. The Civil War remains the most controversial and emotionally loaded event in the history of modern Finland. Approximately 37,000 people died during the conflict, including casualties at the war fronts, and deaths from political terror campaigns and high prison camp mortality. The turmoil destroyed the economy, split the political apparatus, and divided the Finnish nation for many years.

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Fight for the Bagration flèches

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

The Lockheed SR-71, commonly known as the "Blackbird", was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft that flew from 1964–98. The SR-71 was one of the first aircraft to be shaped to have an extremely low radar signature.
Photo credit: NASA

Selected anniversaries

August 19

Major topics and categories

Eras of warfare

Overview • Prehistoric • Ancient • Medieval • Gunpowder • Industrial • Modern

Types of warfare

Aerial • Amphibious • Arctic • Armoured • Artillery • Asymmetric • Attrition • Biological • Cavalry • Chemical • Conventional • Desert • Electronic • Ground • Guerrilla • Fortification • Herbicidal • Infantry • Information • Jungle • Maneuver • Mechanized • Mercenary • Mountain • Naval • Network-centric • Nuclear • Psychological • Radiological • Siege • Ski • Space • Sub-aquatic • Submarine • Surface • Total • Trench • Unconventional • Urban

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Armies • Battles • Civil wars • Corps • Divisions • Fleets • Invasions • Operations • Orders of battle • Sieges • Tactics • Wars • Weapons • World War II Commanders

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Genocide • Peace • United Nations

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