Sunday, April 13, 2014

Top 10 Most Destructive Global Conflicts

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Over the course of planet Earths history, it has played host to some particularly monumental conflicts. While the nature of all life itself is one that provokes a ‘survival of the fittest’ ethos in order to ensure longevity and prosperity, it is undeniable that human beings are the species responsible for the most adverse, unnatural and impactful change to have occurred on this planet during the last few millennia. Whether or not it is written into our very genetics to always be involved in some form of conflict with our fellow man, anyone would be hard-pushed to recall a time when there was peace in every corner of the world. Whilst the majority of conflicts cause widespread hardship and suffering, many remain localized to a particular area, wherein they remain boxed off, eventually sizzling out or continuing until they are ended through an intervention of some kind. The most destructive cases of war and conflict are undoubtedly those which include, by choice or not, the most amount of nations, governments or people. Whilst the last century has noted the first two hostilities ever to be considered as ‘world wars’, history is full of accounts of conflicts involving, or at least effecting, just as many people. Let’s take a look at some of man-kinds most destructive eras.

10. Thirty Years War
Running between the years of 1618 and 1648, the Thirty Years’ War took place in central Europe and saw a fierce range of individual conflicts rage on between several of the continents principal kingdoms and countries. It is widely considered that the prime motivation for the conflict was religion (how refreshing), with Catholic Spain and the Holy Roman Empire providing the bulk of one force (alongside Austria, Hungary and the Kingdom of Croatia) and the Swedish, Ottomans, French and English constituting the other. Over the course of the war, different nations entered and swapped sides in accordance with the signing of various treaties, and the whole thing basically brought about the end of feudal, medieval Europe. In terms of destruction, much of the main fighting took place in Germany, and some 8 million died as a result of the war.

9. Second Congo War
The most recent war on the list, the Second Congo War took place over a period of almost 5 years from 1998 to 2003. One of many continental African conflicts to take place over the past 50 or 60 years, this war was in many ways a civil conflict between the pro-Government forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and those militias opposing the regime of President Mobutu. What made this war so destructive was the interest it attracting from neighbouring nations. Whilst Angola, Chad, Namibia and Zimbabwe backed the government forces- Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi all supported the militia’s attempts in overthrowing the regime in control of the Congo. People are still affected by the conflict today as it attempts to rage on, despite having officially ended with the Sun City agreement in July 2003. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 million people have died as a result of the war between 1998 and the present day.

8. Napoleonic Wars
The ‘Napoleonic Wars’ is a collective term which applies to the series of wars declared upon French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte between the years 1803 and 1815. The main war of this era is that which occurred between France and Great Britain between 1803 and 1814, resulting in an unending series of naval battles in all corners of Earth’s oceans, as well as a considerable land-fought war on the European mainland. Aside from this conflict however, separate conflicts sprung up for Napoleon as he sought to conquer Europe, with Prussia, Russia, Spain and Sweden all taking up arms against the French. In all, up to 6 and a half million people are estimated to have died over the course of the conflict(s).

7. Russian Civil War
A war between the amassed forces of Bolshevik ‘Red’ Russians and the anti-Bolshevik ‘White’ Russians, the Russian Civil War took place between 1917 and 1922. Though being ruled divinely by a series of ‘Tsars’ for several centuries leading up to the war, Russia was sprung into heated conflict in the Autumn of 1917 as Bolshevik forces, led by Lenin and Trotsky stormed Petrograd’s (Saint Petersburg’s) winter palace and seized control from the provisional government. The five years of war which ensued was bitter and violent, though ensured Russia’s fate as a Soviet Republic for the next 90 years.

6. Taiping Rebellion
Another case of civil war, this time emerging from rural China in the mid-19th century- the Taiping Rebellion took place in the south of the nation between the years of 1850 and 1864. Commencing after the formation of separatist organisation ‘The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom’, which saw Hong Xiuquan seize control of a large area of Chinas south and denying any right of rule to the empowered Qing Dynasty, the war saw input from both the British and the French (on the side of the Qing Dynasty) and ended 12 years and 20 million human lives after it had begun.

5. World War One
In many ways the first account of a modern war, World War One or the ‘First World War’ as it is also commonly known, took place between 1914 and 1918. Commencing after conflict broke out in Central/Eastern Europe following the politically motivated assassination of an Austrian Archduke by the name of Franz Ferdinand, the war would rage on for years and cost somewhere near 40 million lives worldwide. Main powers on each side included the Germans, Ottomans, Bulgarians and Austrian-Hungarians on one (Axis) and the British, French, Australians, Canadians, Russians and Americans on the other (Allied). I could go on for hours…

4. Korean War
Whilst it may seem that we are currently on the verge of another war in the Korean peninsula, the situation over there all started back in the early 1950’s. Following the end of the Second World War, Korea was divided into separate Northern and Southern territories, with the North adhering to the political culture of the USSR, and the South the USA. Within a few years, tensions between the two sides were at a critical level, with the Communist North eventually opting to invade the South in an attempt to reunite the nation under one ideal. Of course the South, and perhaps more importantly the American forces stationed there, were none-too happy about this, retaliating to such an extent that they managed to drive the invading forces back across the ‘38th parallel’ and back into the North. While war raged on back and forward between the two sides for several years, eventually a ceasefire was agreed on account of a problematic stalemate in the conflict. Regardless, the conflict claimed the lives of a good few million people before burning out.

3. The Holy Crusades
The Holy Crusades were a series of religiously motivated military campaigns launched by the Medieval Christian Kingdoms against the Muslim peoples who inhabited the area of the Middle East considered to be the ‘Holy Land’. Largely expeditionary in nature, the Crusades carried on unrelentingly for several centuries, with young warriors being conscripted from Europe and sent out to modern day Israel, Turkey and Palestine to take on the monumental task of fending off the Islamic ‘invasion’ of Jesus Christ’s homeland. One may only speculate as to the amount of death caused during the Holy Crusades, however one things for certain- it’s a number surely measured by the million.

2. The Mongol Conquests
Widely credited with changing the entire genetic constitution of several of the ethnic groups inherent to planet Earth, the Mongol conquests noted the rise of a vast Empire, which between the early 13th century and mid-14th century, covered almost 9 and a half million square miles. Stretching from Eastern Europe all the way to the East China Sea, the Mongol Empire was carved over a century and a half of relentless conquest. It’s most noted figure, Genghis Khan, was at the forefront of this expansion and is credited with uniting many of the nomadic Eastern tribes, making the conquest possible in the first place. The amount of human deaths directly caused by the Mongol Conquests is estimated at anywhere between 30 and 60 million people.

1. World War Two
Arriving just 21 years after the end of the First World War, World War II is undoubtedly the largest conflict to have occurred throughout known history. Involving some 100 million direct militant troops, representing around 30 different nations, the conflict gripped our planet between 1939 and 1945. Commencing in Europe with Nazi Germany’s invasion of several of its neighbours (Czechoslovakia, Poland) in the late 1930’s, it wasn’t too long before German dictator Adolf Hitler’s master-plan for eventual world domination became clear to the nations who had only just recovered from fighting in the first world conflict. Soon, Great Britain and her commonwealth (Canada, New Zealand, Australia and India) as well as France had declared war on Nazi Germany and it all kicked off. Following Germany’s initial prowess on the battlefields of Central/Western Europe, things took a downturn for Hitler when he decided to invade Russia despite being vastly unprepared for such a huge endeavour. Further problems arose when the United States entered the war in 1941 following an attack from Germany’s ally Japan. Raging on in two primary theatres of conflict (the Pacific and the Atlantic), the war eventually ended with the defeat and subsequent surrender of Germany, Japan and their allies. It is estimated that a combined number of military and civilian deaths on both sides tally’s in at around 75 million people.

~Blog Admin~

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