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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Warfare by Other Means

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Warfare by Other Means Economics, demographics, cultural, technological, and other factors that have affected the course of history.

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  #1  
Old 17 Aug 15, 02:46
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Causes of War ~ Lessons to be Learned

Maybe I missed it only being here a few years and having not searched the backlog of threads but ...

... Given so many "Historical" magazines Sponsor these forums and so many wars and battles and aspects of militaria are covered, seems some where and someway a few "conclussions" threads should be running. This title/OP seems obvious to me.

BTW, this subform seemed the best. "Barracks" seems too obscure, and every~other area seems to narrow focused for something this 'general' ...

This is just hatched and I'm still working on "details" so this forum remains open a bit to a freeform structure by any whom beat me to it, anyway ...

... seems after studying and discussing so many battales, campaigns, and wars, that the many informed, learned, and opinioned here would want a place to present what they have learned and wish to offer for consideration to their peers in terms of essential "Lessons Learned" ~ "Applications Profolactic From Past Results" ...

Well, whatever ...
As I said, recent hatched "pipe dream" idea that seems worth fleshing out, input welcome ...
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  #2  
Old 27 Aug 15, 03:22
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As this thread was quickening about my mind to get started, one of the memes that I thought of was the early scene in "2001; A Space Odessey" where the two 'tribes' of pre-human 'oids are fighting over access to a water hole ... "economic" resource that, and hence the first cause of human warfare likely to be "economic" ...
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Old 27 Aug 15, 09:27
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War as opposed to mere violence implies organisation and sides. A big humanoid duffing up a smaller one and pinching its food/mate/water is violence but it's not war. For a 'war' to exist one needs a social organisation, communication within that organisation and some sharing of common goals
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Old 06 Sep 15, 15:11
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Lessons learned...Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Classic blunder for some. Lol.

Causes. The war that caused our most soldiers deaths was over money.
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Old 06 Sep 15, 15:46
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Lessons learned...Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Classic blunder for some. Lol.
Actually that was "don't go fighting with your land army on the mainland in Asia" Bernard Montgomery- similar but not quite the same thing. Although he liked to think so (which p'd off Churchill and Eisenhower) he wasn't always infallible
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Old 07 Sep 15, 16:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
War as opposed to mere violence implies organisation and sides. A big humanoid duffing up a smaller one and pinching its food/mate/water is violence but it's not war. For a 'war' to exist one needs a social organisation, communication within that organisation and some sharing of common goals
To some degree, yes, but organized as early tribes of hunter-gathers can take it from individual violence to group violence which could be considered "war".

I'm inclined to include, "Group violence countered with group violence by the target/intended victims" could be considered "war", since the conflict/violence is going both ways. One way violence is basically crime, genocide, or similar unpleasant actions.

Armed aggression countered with armed resistance, making violence a two-way transaction would seem to be needed part of defining war.
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Old 22 Sep 15, 21:12
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Economic as the primal 'cause"?

No.

"Macfie's forgotten observation ("The Outbreak of War and the Trade Cycle", 1938) may help to explain the opportunism with which so many wars were begun. It offers an additional reason for rejecting scapegoat theories: if depressed nations were reluctant to initiate foreign wars, we would also expect strife torn nations to initiate few wars. Macfie's observation offers an additional reason for suspecting the dogmas, beloved of many economists, that economic pressures and ills are the main stirrers of war. By this test, those theories flounder. Above all, Macfie's observation seems to fit neatly into the jigsaw of war and peace."

Prof. Geoffery W. Blainey, ("The Causes of War", 1973) third reprint 1987.)

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Old 22 Sep 15, 21:25
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Generous peace terms "The cause" ?

No.

"One would like to believe that generous peace terms yielded a dividend of international goodwill. It may be that they rarely yielded a dividend simply because they were rarly applied. When a war ended with lenient terms it was usually because the victor was not strong enough to impose severe terms. Nevertheless, the weight of evidence suggests that a severe treaty of peace was more likely to prolong the peace; and there is a powerful reason why that should appear to be so. A harsh treaty was mostly the outcome of a war which ended in a decisive victory. And it will be suggested later, a decisive victory tends to promote a more enduring peace."

Blainey..ibid.
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Old 22 Sep 15, 21:29
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According to Josephus Nimrod was the first of the lot to create 'war'.
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Old 22 Sep 15, 21:35
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Belief in intellectual and commercial progress were soothing those human misunderstandings and grievences which had caused so many earlier wars...(of the 19th century?)

No

"The famous periods of peace in the 19th century are still a mystery. The factors so far discussed seem invalid even as fragments of an explanation of peace. The peaceful influence of powerful statesmen, humane cultural ideas or mild treaties of peace, or the spread of commerce and knowledge, seem exagerrated. Nor can international peace be partly explained as the indirect effect of civil strife, prosperity, or some other safety valve. So far only one fragment - the idea of war weariness - has merit, and even that fragment must be chiselled before it fits the evidence. Since an explanation of peace is indirectly an explanation of war, the prevailing knowledge of the causes of war must be tinged with myth and superstition."

Blainey
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Old 22 Sep 15, 21:51
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Opportunism?

YES!

"Opportunism in international affairs is usually detected in an individual leader
"

"The opportunism in international affairs tends to be ignored for a more important reason. It is more conspicuous when nations go to war, but it is still stron in peace. Our obsession with the causes of war possibly blind us to the way in which opportunism underwrites each period of peace.
The most popular vision of peace is of nations living independantly, each respecting the rights and territories of others; and each belonging to a brotherhood. The brotherhood of nations, however, tends to be hierarchical and opportunist. Peace depends directly or indirectly on military power.
While we observe the role of military power when it dramatically breaks the peace, we tend to ignore it's role when it ends a war and preserves the peace. We thus conceal from ourselves the close relation between the causes of peace and the causes of war."

Blainey
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Old 22 Sep 15, 22:06
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Apologies for only a single source. this is not deliberate. The wide ranging books and other paraphenalia on the subject of war are many. Those actually devoted to the causes of such wars are demonstrably very, very few. Blainey's work is, thus, much quoted and digested, for it frequently is the ONLY source widely available on this, the most important of all things when discussing military affairs.

A quick view of our own forums seems to confirm this suspicion, that people are carried along by everything else about a war, in the acres of books, and the uncounted pixels of the internet.

The cause(s) of such dillemas in human affairs are glossed over, ignored, marginalized, misunderstood, and the target of much propaganda.

For a fine example here, just go to the Civil war forum, where the VERY learned and intelligent folk of our site that grace the forum with their presence, still cannot, after all these years, widely agree exactly why North and south were fighting each other from 1861-1865.

Blainey does cover a good deal more.

Death Watch Wars
Scapegoat Wars
War by Calendar
War as an Upset in Balance or "Abacus of Power"
Accidental Wars
War as an Aim of Nations or Individuals...."Ambition in a Clash of Arms"
War Caused by One side alone and Not the Other......"Days of Infamy"
War by Vendetta
Long Wars
Short Wars
Wide Wars
Nuclear War and the Myths of it.


Christopher

P.S. I could sit here and give you more of this, listing each war and sub list that blainey covers but honestly, you can see for yourself from my miserly postings that this is not a necessity...or is it?

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Old 23 Sep 15, 20:25
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Thanks for the posts. Blainey and his book sound interesting and I'll look into both, perhaps get a copy to read (I'll have some reading time soon while recovering from an operation).

Over the span of history, seems reasonable that not all wars are "economic", about access to resources and/or markets, after all the Trojan War was about the abduction of a woman.

As for presenting more from Blainey, your call. Those thumbnails so far are informative and interesting, so if you're inclined to do more feel free.
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