Violence - War

War

War is a state of prolonged violent large-scale conflict involving two or more groups of people, usually under the auspices of government. War is fought as a means of resolving territorial and other conflicts, as war of aggression to conquer territory or loot resources, in national self-defense, or to suppress attempts of part of the nation to secede from it.

Since the Industrial Revolution, the lethality of modern warfare has steadily grown. World War I casualties were over 40 million and World War II casualties were over 70 million.

Nevertheless, some hold the actual deaths from war have decreased compared to past centuries. In War Before Civilization, Lawrence H. Keeley, a professor at the University of Illinois, calculates that 87% of tribal societies were at war more than once per year, and some 65% of them were fighting continuously. The attrition rate of numerous close-quarter clashes, which characterize endemic warfare, produces casualty rates of up to 60%, compared to 1% of the combatants as is typical in modern warfare. "Primitive Warfare" of these small groups or tribes was driven by the basic need for sustenance and violent competition. Their environment dictated the size of their groups for the most part, they would only include as many people as the tribe could provide for. The small group size also made moving much easier if needed, once resources were becoming scarce in the area. Stephen Pinker agrees, writing that "in tribal violence, the clashes are more frequent, the percentage of men in the population who fight is greater, and the rates of death per battle are higher."

Jared Diamond in his award-winning books, Guns, Germs and Steel and The Third Chimpanzee provides sociological and anthropological evidence for the rise of large-scale warfare as a result of advances in technology and city-states. The rise of agriculture provided a significant increase in the number of individuals that a region could sustain over hunter-gatherer societies, allowing for development of specialized classes such as soldiers, or weapons manufacturers. On the other hand, tribal conflicts in hunter-gatherer societies tend to result in wholesale slaughter of the opposition (other than perhaps females of child-bearing years) instead of territorial conquest or slavery, presumably as hunter-gatherer numbers could not sustain empire-building.

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Famous quotes containing the word war:

    The funny part of it all is that relatively few people seem to go crazy, relatively few even a little crazy or even a little weird, relatively few, and those few because they have nothing to do that is to say they have nothing to do or they do not do anything that has anything to do with the war only with food and cold and little things like that.
    Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)

    He all their ammunition
    And feats of war defeats
    With plain heroic magnitude of mind
    And celestial vigour armed;
    John Milton (1608–1674)

    Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues.
    Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679)