A world war is a war affecting most of the world's most powerful and populous countries. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters.
The term is usually applied to the two conflicts of unprecedented scale that occurred during the 20th century: World War I (1914–1918) and World War II (1939–1945). However, it is also sometimes applied to earlier wars and to a hypothetical future war.
Famous quotes containing the words world war, world and/or war:
“If the Third World War is fought with nuclear weapons, the fourth will be fought with bows and arrows.”
—Louis, 1st Earl Mountbatten Of Burma Mountbatten (19001979)
“Men of all professions affect such an air and appearance as to seem to be what they wish to be believed to beso that one might say the whole world is made up of nothing but appearances.”
—François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (16131680)
“I have agreed to go into the service for the war ... [feeling] that this was a just and necessary war and that it demanded the whole power of the country; that I would prefer to go into it if I knew I was to die or be killed in the course of it, than to live through and after it without taking any part in it.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)