War Definition and Meaning

War Definition and Meaning

War is a conflict, usually armed, involving two or more parties. It applies to an armed struggle or confrontation between countries or groups of people. With this meaning on DIGOPAUL.COM, it is used to form concepts such as civil war, warship, prisoner of war or postwar.

In a figurative sense, there is also talk of ‘war’ to refer to a struggle, combat, opposition or confrontation between two or more parties without the intervention of force. In this sense, there are concepts such as war of figures, price war or psychological warfare.

This word has Germanic origin: werra (fight, discord). In turn, it can come from the old high German wërra (confusion, tumult) or from the word in Dutch Middle Warre.

Types of war

Wars can be classified in many ways. Some theorists suggest classifying them according to their causes and ends, to the sides in conflict or to their methods (weapons) and others.

Wars according to their causes or ends

  • Economic wars: economic control of territory, trade routes, extraction of raw materials, water control.
  • Political wars: wars of independence, wars of colonial expansion, wars of rebellion, wars of secession, etc.
  • Moral or ideological wars: holy wars, racial wars (ethnic cleansing), wars inspired by national dignity, honor, ideological expansion, among others.
  • Legal war: disputes arising from non-compliance with treaties and alliances, or abuses in their application.

Wars according to belligerent sides

  • Bilateral war
  • International War (or World War)
  • Civil war

Wars according to weapons or methods used

  • Weapons: naval war, air war, land war, nuclear war, biological or bacteriological warfare.
  • Methods: psychological warfare, information war, communication war, communication guerrilla, etc.

World War

There is talk of ‘world war’ to refer to a large-scale armed conflict involving many countries, including the great powers and which develops in all or almost all continents. It is especially used to talk about two wars of the twentieth century:

First World War (1914-1918)

It is also known as the Great War. In her, multitude of nations faced in two sides the Allies of the Triple Entente and Central Powers of the Triple Alliance. During World War I, more than 16 million people died and there were more than 20 million wounded among military and civilians.

World War II (1939-1945)

In World War II it took place between two sides, the Allies and the Axis Powers. It is the war with the largest number of deaths, approximately 60 million people. It was the war with the most fatalities in history (approximately 60 million people), marked, among other things, by the Holocaust and the use of atomic bombs.

Cold War

It is the name that receives the ideological and political war between the United States and the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The cold war kept the world in tension and on the verge of a third world war of nuclear type from 1945, when the second world war ended, until 1991, when the USSR fell.

War of the Cakes (1838-1839)

The War of Pastry is the name that is also given to the First French Intervention in Mexico. It owes its name to one of the claims made by the French merchants who lived in Mexico to the French ambassador. It denounced that in a restaurant in Tacubaya some officers of President Santa Anna had eaten some cakes without paying.

War in the arts and culture

War has been a topic repeatedly addressed in the arts and culture. From literary works such as The Iliad , by Homer, War and Peace of Tolstoy or The Lord of the Rings of Tolkien, to paintings such as The Battle of San Romano de Uccello or Guernica de Picasso.

You can also tell emblematic films, based on historical facts or fiction, such as Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Sinking or, more recently, World War Z , based on the homonymous book by Max Brooks and released for the first time in 2013.

There are innumerable pieces of art and literature that address this issue, whose value is transcendent for humanity.

War games or war games

There are several types of war games or inspired by war. They can represent historical, fantastic, hypothetical or science fiction situations. They are simulations, so they do not involve the use of physical violence among players. They are of different types:

  • board games (as Risk),
  • sports games (paintballand laser tag),
  • model and miniature games (The Lord of the Rings, the strategic battle game),
  • video games (Combat Mission).