Concept, Types, Benefit & Disadvantages Of War


If war is not the normal condition of man, it does seem to have been a recurring phenomenon in almost all parts of the world at almost all periods of history. The term war is used in many different ways. We have become accustomed to speaking of cold war, hot war, limited war, conventional war, civil war etc. War is a very good way to kill, to destroy, to harm, to upset, and to injure. It’s all bad, it’s all horrible. War is a period of time when people are motivated to kill. Some soldiers kill enemies, some of them kill the innocent, some do it by mistake, some do it by purpose. Some countries use nuclear weapons, some use chemical, and some of them use biological ones.

Before continuing on the analysis of war, it may be well to attempt a few simple definition. According to New English Dictionary, It is a hostile contention by means of armed forces, carried on between nations, states, or rulers, or between parties in the same nation or state; the employment of armed forces against a foreign power, or against an opposing party in the state.

Hoffman Nickerson states that war is the use of organized force between two human groups pursuing contradicting policies, each group seeking to impose its policy upon the other.

History suggests that war has at times been considered:

  1. A customary reaction to circumstances jeopardizing group solidarity and security
  2. A legitimate instrument of state policy
  3. An indispensable means for maintaining justice
  4. A legitimate procedure for settling quarrels between sovereigns
  5. An inevitable condition of the coexistence of sovereign states
  6. An illegitimate form of state behavior


The answer to this is No. Because, human nature always want to grow and have more of what they already have. We wanted fire, we got it, we went to copper from stone, then to bronze, then iron, steel, titanium etc. In order to do that we need more resources, more land to work and live in . Then ego comes into play, someone to lord over more people, expand their domain to be big and better. Competitive nature, be bigger and better than the next guy. Then defense, need to be prepared in case next guy thinks he’s bigger and better.


It depends. There has been a number of ways to justify a war throughout history. The crusades at the time were condo indexed to be just wars but only because it was condoned by the pope. World War II is considered a just war because it was to stop the extermination of the Jews and mistreatment of others, to stop an aggressor. Another way a war is sometimes considered just is when it is to stop a country from obtaining nuclear weapons, so to maintain some peace. The bible calls peace makers blessed. This way it shows that war is just if it is prevent further violence.


This question might not be correctly answered by one person. It depends on the individual and how he see the term war. As a Diplomacy student, it is important to answer the question both on the two phase to be able to get the actual reason for the question “Is War Ever The Answer?”

War is hardly ever the answer, but there are times where war is needed. World War II was one of those times when you have a man (Hitler) who genuinely believes he needs to conquer the world and rid of the undesirables of society. That included anything from blacks to gays to Jews. Hitler was already a psychopath, and no amount of diplomacy would have persuaded him against his plan. The only way war could have been avoided, is if the major powers such as Britain just let Hitler conquer Europe and allow him to carry out his plan to rid the world of undesirables. They’re obviously not going to allow that, and they didn’t allow it. This was a case of where war was absolutely unavoidable if we wanted a free world like we do today.

Also, there are times when it is necessary to use deadly force on a nation state scale. When negotiations can not reach an agreement, being willing and able to fight is important.


Most certainly, yes.  For example, the Punic wars settled who was going to rule the Mediterranean,  The Peloponnese war settled whether Sparta or Athens was going to dominate the Greek city-states.  World War II settled whether National Socialism was a viable model for government in Europe. The Civil War settled the question of slavery in the US.


The answer is no. Well, it would be so easy if the UN could simply make a law that abolishes any future wars and every country is obliged to follow it. It just doesn’t work that way. You see, even if it made such a law and made all countries sign an agreement, it will still need an army for itself to see that everyone honors it. Its a lot more simpler for a law meant to control citizen because if a person broke a law all the government needs to do is get some policemen and put the offender in jail. But how can you punish a country without waging war at it. Now lets take another scenario, it is the future where there are no more countries and the whole of earth is governed by a single government and all people of earth are its citizens. Looks like there is no one to wage a war on unless of course we have discovered aliens by then who would try to destroy us for our resources. Lets ignore that possibility now . Lets just say a new president is elected who made some very bad laws and tried to overthrow democracy. Then the very citizens would wage war with the government which is a civil war.

Pretty much the thing that happened in star wars. The only other way to protest would be the way of Ahimsa or non violence as introduced by Mahatma Gandhi to free India from British authority. But you have to understand, even if there is a large movement of non violence against oppression there will still be men who question its effectiveness and wage a war. Just like the INA (Indian National Army) tried to free India from British even at the time of Gandhi Ji. Effort has to be taken to plant the idea that waging a war is a shameful thing, that the more number of enemy soldiers killed doesn’t mean you are a great patriot, that the more money you spent on defense budget doesn’t mean your country is strong.

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Possible, but not probable in the foreseeable future. The world today is quite different than it was before World Wars I and II. The advent of nuclear weapons and widespread economic globalization have made the consequences of a Third World War counterproductive to the best interests of the major industrialized nations (the G8) and developing nations.

The consequences of the use of nuclear weapons between the major nations are obvious – mutually assured destruction. The effects of a worldwide conventional war would disrupt the global economy and cause serious damage, if not collapse, to the industrialized nations – a mutually assured economic destruction. Though the theory of economic destruction is not as certain as that of nuclear destruction, the fear of economic disruption on a global scale has still been strong enough to serve as a sufficient deterrent to the escalation of military and even diplomatic standoffs. Economics does not fear destruction as much as it fears downturns and recessions, and even a mild recession quickly sobers the thinking of world leaders.

All of the saber rattling incidents by major countries we see in the press today have an economic motive or political move. Economically , it is to secure regional access to trade or natural resources. Politically, it is usually to make a point on the world political stage or to bolster a politician’s standing at home. None are calculated to prepare for a large-scale military conflict.

There has never been any period in history in which war has ever ceased to exist. For example:

  1. Colombian Armed Conflict, 1964 – present
  2. Reprisal Operations, (Israel vs Arab States), 1950-1967
  3. Chinese Civil War, 1927 – 1950
  4. Unification of Saudi Arabia, 1902 – 1932
  5. Caste War of Yucatan, 1847 – 1901
  6. Caucasian War, 1817 – 1864
  7. Peruvian War of Independence, 1809 – 1824


1.  Asymmetric : Asymmetric warfare is a conflict between two populations of drastically different levels of military capability or size.

2. Biological warfare, or germ warfare, is the use of weaponize biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

3. Chemical warfare involves the use of weaponize chemicals in combat. Poison gas as a chemical weapon was principally used during World War I, and resulted in an estimated 1.3 million casualties, including 100,000–260,000 civilians. Tens of thousands or more civilians and military personnel died from chemical weapon use.

4. Civil war is a war between forces belonging to the same nation or political entity.
Conventional warfare is declared war between states in which nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons are not used or see limited deployment.

5. Cyberwarfare involves the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation’s information systems.

6. Nuclear warfare is warfare in which nuclear weapons are the primary, or a major, method of achieving capitulation.

7. Total war is warfare by any means possible, disregarding the laws of war, placing no limits on legitimate military targets, using weapons and tactics that result in significant civilian casualties, or demanding a war effort that requires significant sacrifices by the friendly civilian population.
8. Unconventional warfare, the opposite of conventional warfare, is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing conflict.

9. War of aggression is a war for conquest or gain rather than self-defense; this can be the basis of war crimes under customary international law.

However, other types of war includes:

10. Traditional Warfare: This is where two armies will meet on a battlefield and fight until one side retreats, wiped out, or surrenders. Examples: Cannae 216 BCE, Hastings 1066 CE. These battles are seen less and less as you get closer to the modern era, as battles start to last days, weeks, or months.

11. Siege Warfare: This is the type of war where an army is protected inside some kind of fortified structure or position, with another army encircling the structure. The siege ends when the besieger withdraws, captures the fortification, or the defender starves to death, breaks out successfully, is relieved by another army, or surrenders. When artillery was invented, fortifications became mostly irrelevant whenever heavy guns are present, but sieges of cities (urban warfare) still take place. Examples: Siege of Constantinople 1453, Siege of Kut 1915–16.

12. Guerrilla Warfare: This is the type of war where the enemy is invading a country with a superior army, so the defenders avoid open battles, and harass the enemy’s forces and supply lines, while hiding among civilians and the terrain. In modern times, this is also known as asymmetrical warfare. Examples: Peninsular War, Vietnam War.

13. Trench Warfare: This type of warfare was the most prevalent during the First World War. It consisted of both sides digging parallel lines of trenches, with barbed wire, machine gun emplacements, bunkers, pillboxes, etc, defending the soldiers inside the trenches. There would usually be a second or third line of trenches, containing reserves and supplies. The region between the trench lines was “no man’s land,” which would contain nothing but dead bodies, barbed wire, and ruined earth. This type of warfare would cause a four-year stalemate until adequate amounts of troops and tanks existed to break the lines. Examples: Battle of the Somme, Battle of Verdun


Much thought and study have been devote to the causes of particular wars, and of war in general. Some of the causes of war are immediate and some are basic. Some refer to specific events or activities while others call attention to deep-seated forces and underlying trends. More than 250 causes of war under four headings:

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1. Political

2. Economic

3. Social

4. Psychological

According to professor Quincy Wright in his book, “A Study Of War”, he pointed out that war has:

· Politico – Technological

· Juro – Ideological

· Socio – Religious

· Psycho – Economic

However, Tell A. Turner in his book “The Cause Of War And The New Revolution” listed four causes of war under these headlines:

· Economic

· Dynamic

· Religious

· Sentimental

Moreover, Professor Charles Hodges, also listed twenty-one causes of war under four primary headlines:

· Social

· Political

· Strategic

· Economic

The social cause of war was grouped under five subheadings:

· Religious

· Racial

· Cultural

· Chauvinistic

· Fear

Political causes were broken down into:

· Monarchic

· Domestic

· Nationalistic

· Imperialistic

· Diplomatic

· Juridic

The strategic causes of war are related to:

· Territory

· Disarmament

· Armament

· World Position

· Vital interests.

Under Economic, causes of war were grouped under:

· Population

· Commercial policy

· Foreign Investment

· Indemnities

· Neutral Rights

However, understanding these causes is essential to fighting successfully for a future of less war and more peace and seeing each cause in contrast to its opposite can foster great understanding.


1. The acceptance of the notion that knowledge can be acquired through non – sensory, non – rational means such as faith, revelations etc can cause war. For example, because of the Islamic faith and the existence of Allah, Islamic regimes and Jihadist groups are waging war against Western civilization.

2. The acceptance of the notion that state has a right to force individuals to act against their judgment for the for the sake of some greater good is another major cause of war. For example, the cause of World War II was as a result of the National Socialist Germans embracing a social system that people of an alleged Master Race had a right to kill people of other races for the good of the master race. That Nazi Germany had a right to conquer other nations to sustain itself and expand..

3.  Another cause of war is when an individual’s life belongs to some groups which may make him to act or think in accordance with the dictates of the group. For example, the cause of US Civil War was as a result of a group of men who insisted strongly about having a right to maintain states that permits the enslavement of another group of men.

4. The refusal to face relevant facts is another thing that can cause war. Example of the war fought on this category is  the European Permission of the Nazis’s strengthening and expansion.


There are some benefits that have been associated with wars. They are:

1. Economic benefits: A lot of economies have been known to flourish during wars, primarily because of a huge boost to the defense, arms and health-care industries. A number of countries rely upon sales of arms both internally and for export to drive a significant proportion of their economies. Without war or the threat of war, the spending on arms or the military would be reduced, so causing a decline in both employment and shareholder returns for those sectors. For example, with the unrest in the Arab states, as well as touring the region to ‘encourage democracy’ David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister also took with him a delegation of leading arms manufacturers to promote this British industry.

2. Social benefits: Wars have historically witnessed the liberation of oppressed people and the removal of oppressive and tyrannical regimes.

3. Long-term benefits: Wars encourage extensive research and development, leading to technological progress. This progress continues to serve civilians long after the war is over.


  1. Death: This is the major disadvantages of war. About 55 million died in WWII alone, and in modern wars most deaths are civilians.
  2. Injury: Any more millions of people are injured than killed and vast majority are civilians.
  3. Refugees
  4. Mental illnesses caused by traumatic experiences.
  5. Kidnapping and training of child soldiers
  6. Disease and famine
  7. Destruction of relationships, a way of life, the economy and infrastructure.
  8. Mass destruction of cities and have long lasting effects on a country’s economy.


War needs no documentation to prove its horrors. It destroys and ruins lives beyond number; it makes anything like normal existence impossible. It imposes immense burdens on national economies and imperils the freedom of everyone. It endangers man’s very existence on this planet. It is the great curse of international society, the endemic disease of the nation-state system. However, if people and nations can embrace the truths and values in the right column, they have no need for war. If people are free to think, to produce, and to trade with others voluntarily (capitalism); if they recognize the sovereignty and rights of individuals and the moral propriety of self-interest (individualism and egoism); if they uphold reason as their only means of knowledge and their only proper guide to action in personal, social, and political matters (rationality); and if they refuse to pretend that facts are other than they are (honesty)—neither they nor their governments have any reason to attack other people or nations.


Palmer & Perkins – International Relation (Third Revised Edition) Pg. 183.

Professor Quincy Wright – Cause Of War And Conditions Of Peace

Tell A. Turner – The Cause Of War And the New Revotion

Professor James T. Shotwell – War as an Instrument Of National Policy

Eckbaull Z. – Type of war. (2009, April 28)


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