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War is any conflict involving the organized use of arms and physical force between countries or other large scale armed groups. Smaller armed conflicts are often called riots, rebellions, coups, etc. Carl von Clausewitz wrote in his book, On War: "Der Krieg ist nichts als eine Fortsetzung der politschen Verkehrs mit Einmischung anderer Mittel" ("War is the continuation of politics and diplomacy by other means") and "...war therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will". Wars have been fought to control natural resources, for religious or cultural reasons, over political balances of power, legitimacy of particular laws, to settle economic disputes, and many other issues. War is contrasted with peace.

A number of treaties regulate warfare, the most pervasive of those are the Geneva conventions, the earliest of which began to take effect in the late 1800s. Treaty signing has since been a part of international diplomacy, and too many treaties to mention in this scant article have been signed. A couple of examples are: Resolutions of the Geneva International Conference, Geneva, 26-29 October 1863 and Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 75 U.N.T.S. 135, entered into force Oct. 21, 1950.

Significant Wars in History

Dates (some approximate)War
1618 - 1648 Thirty Years War. Ends with the Peace of Westphalia.
1639 - 1652 English Civil War.
1718 During a war on the Norwegian border, Swedish king Karl XII is shot dead, after having waged several war campains on Russia in the previous decades.
1754 - 1763 Seven Years War, also known as the French and Indian War, in the colonial United States.
1774 - 1781 American Revolutionary War with the United Kingdom.
1798 - 1815 The Napoleonic Wars.
1809 The war between Russia and Sweden wherein Sweden cedes Finland to Russia.
1812-1814 War of 1812 fought between the United States and England, a continuation of the American Revolutionary War
1835 Toledo War between US territory of Michigan and the US state of Ohio
1846 - 1848 Mexican War between the United States and Mexico.
1854 - 1856 Crimean War.
1861 - 1865 American Civil War in the United States of America.
1898 Spanish-American War
1899 - 1902 Boer War in South Africa
1905 Russo-Japanese War
1912-1913 The first and second Balkan wars are fought for control of the European territories of the Ottoman Empire.
1914 - 1918 World War I, primarily between countries in Europe.
1936-1939 Spanish Civil War
1939 - 1945 World War II.
1950 - 1953 Korean War.
1964 - 1973 Vietnam War. War between the U.S. backed regime in the South and innsurgent guerillas backed by the communist North .
1967 Six Day War in Israel.
1973-1974 Yom Kippur War between Israel and Arab states.
1990 - 1991 Gulf War between Kuwait and Iraq. Many countries join, fighting for Kuwait.
2001 - USA - led war against Afghanistan

see also military, Military technology and equipment, Military History