What is it good for?
Say it again...”
— go the lyrics from a popular song.
Having discussed just about all the countries in the world, we move on today to inaugurate a new topic. We will be examining some of the most important conflicts — wars and battles — in world history.
What do I mean by “important?” The importance of a battle may lie in how decisive it was — that is, in how it changed the course of history. It might also be important because of the sheer scope of the conflict — how many combatants, casualties, etc. And some conflicts — even mythological or fictional ones — have had a major impact on the psyche of a people.
The sources I am consulting are in English, so the reader may perceive a bias toward battles that particularly impacted Europe and America. But I will include Asian and African conflicts to the extent that I can find information on them.
One more caveat: Some conflicts, even those that took place quite some time ago, may still have great significance for some people today. I will try to swerve around anything too controversial, and will endeavor to be as unbiased as possible in describing the participants, the issues, and the outcomes of the conflicts covered.
But before we get started on our list, let’s look at the question stated in the epigraph to this article: what is war “good for?” Military theorists have suggested that the motivations for offensive war — that is, war started by a particular side — fall into at least three categories:
— Material gain, whether economic or territorial;
— Ideology, including religion and nationalism;
— Revenge for previous actions.
In addition to these, wars tend to fall into one of three more types:
— Civil wars, between factions within a country;
— Revolutionary wars, in which one side attempts to remove the governmental authority over it;
— Defensive wars, in which one side is simply defending itself from attack by another.
Let’s keep these categories in mind as we examine some of the greatest conflicts in world history.
Which word above means:
1. people taken out of service due to death, injury, sickness, capture, etc.
2. short quotation at the start of a work
4. warning, reservation
5. go around to avoid
6. initiate, begin
7. mental or psychological structure, mind
8. without prejudice, fair
9. guiding ideas or philosophy
10. people involved in fighting