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Conflicts and Wars


American Civil War


Casus Belli: Cultural animosity and rivalry

After decades of tensions between the industrial North and the slave-holding South, war finally erupted in 1861. After firing on Ft. Sumter and seceding from the Union, South Carolina was soon joined by its slave-holding neighbors to form the Confederate States of America (CSA). Despite often stunning military prowess, the armies of the CSA could not sustain a war of attrition against the more populous and materially-rich Union. The South capitulated in the Spring of 1865 after the deaths of more than 600,000 Americans.


American Revolution


Casus Belli: Great Britain's dominance of colonial affairs perceived as unfair and tyrannical by Americans

Expensive colonial wars with France led to increasingly heavy taxation on the American colonies by Great Britain. Years of debate over taxes and fair representation eventually devolved into revolution and independence for Great Britain's American colonies.


Burgundian Wars


Casus Belli: Cultural, Economic, and Monarchial Rivalries

By 1474, lower Germany and the Habsburgs had become fearful of the territorial and monarchial ambitions of Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy. Allied with the Swiss and subsidized by Louis IX of France, their combined forces defeated Charles at Heriocourt in November. Charles recaptured Granson in 1476 and executed the Swiss garrsion there. Anxious for revenge, a Swiss army inflicted a devastating defeat on Charles' forces at Morat. Charles faced the Swiss once more at Nancy in 1477, but was again defeated. Charles was killed in the engagement.


Eighty Years' War


Casus Belli: Imperialism, Cultural and Religious Animosity

Years of Spanish domination and religious animosity in the Netherlands boiled over first into riots and then a Dutch rebellion in 1568. Decades of uprisings and revolts eventually led a pre-occupied Spain to recognize the Dutch Republic in 1609. Yet, fighting would recommence within a decade at the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War. In 1648, the Dutch Republic was once more recognized as independent by the Peace of Munster.

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First English Civil War

Casus Belli: Economic, religious, and social animosity

Economic, religious, and social differences broke out into a conflict between the Royalists, who supported King Charles I, and the Parliamentary forces under the command of Oliver Cromwell. The Royalist army was broken and defeated within four years and Charles I surrendered himself to the Scots.


First Sikh War


Casus Belli: Imperialism, Colonialism, Cultural Animosity

Years of friction between the British conquerors of India and the Sikhs of the Punjab erupted into warfare in December of 1845. After multiple invasions into British controlled India territory, the Sikhs were defeated at the Battle of Sobraon. The Punjab was made a British protectorate.


The Forty-Five


Casus Belli: Colonialism, Cultural animosity and rivalry

In the summer of 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, son of James Edward "the Old Pretender" to the throne of England, sailed from France to Scotland, raised an army of Highlanders and marched on Edinburgh. Charles then invaded northern England but was forced to retreat before two English armies. Despite some victories against the English, Charles was decisively defeated at Culloden in 1746 and forced to return to France.

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Franco-Dutch War


Casus Belli: Economic rivalry, territorial disputes, and French animosity toward the Dutch

Following the War of Devolution (1667-1668), in which King Louis XIV claimed the Spanish Netherlands for France, the Dutch Republic joined the Triple Alliance with England and Sweden to oppose French expansionism. With the issue of succession still unresolved,  Louis invaded the Netherlands after concluding treaties with Britain and Sweden. The Dutch signed a treaty with France in 1678.


Franco-Prussian War


Casus Belli: Economic and military rivalry

Fearing that attempts to place a German prince on the Spanish throne would precipitate a war on two fronts, France's Napoleon III declared war on the North German Confederation in the summer of 1870. France was forced to cede territory and pay reparations by the Treaty of Frankfurt (1871).


Iran-Iraq War


Casus Belli: Territorial Disputes, Regional Rivalry, Iraqi Expansionism

Sensing that its rival Iran was weakened by an Islamic Revolution and newly estranged from its form Western allies, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched an invasion in September of 1980. A bloody war of attrition ensued. After eight long years, the Iranians accepted a United Nations cease fire with neither of the belligerents gaining from the conflict.


Korean War


Casus Belli: Cold War tensions, Communist Aggression and Expansionism

To accommodate the surrender of Japanese troops at the end of World War II, the peninsular nation of Korea was divided into two administrative states. The USSR accepted surrender in the north; the USA accepted surrender in the south. Communist North Koreans, backed by the USSR and Communist China, invaded the south in June of 1950 seeking to forcibly unify all of Korea.


Peninsular War


Casus Belli: Imperialism, French Expansionism 

Years of war had given Napoleon Bonaparte dominance over most of Western Europe. In an effort to economically blockade Great Britain, Napoleon first invaded Portugal and then Spain. A British expeditionary force, attempting to aide Spanish resistance, was driven out of the Peninsula by the French army in 1809.


Second Sikh War

Casus Belli: Imperialism, Colonialism, Cultural Animosity

Resistant to British colonialism and still stinging from defeat in the First Sikh War, the Sikhs of the Punjab rose in revolt against their occupiers in 1848. The conflict ended with the surrender of the Sikh leaders and the annexation of the Punjab.

Third Crusade

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Casus Belli: Religious and Cultural Animosity, European and Islamic Expansionism

Following Saladin's victories in Palestine, including the recapture of Jerusalem, Frederick I of Germany, Phillip II of France, and Richard I of England bid the call of Pope Clement III and launched the Third Crusade. Richard became the de facto leader of the Crusader army and won important victories at Acre and Arsuf. Saladin was pushed back toward Jerusalem but destroyed crops and poisoned wells along his retreat. A lack of water and provisions caused discontent within the Crusader army and Richard chose to withdraw to the coast rather than press on to Jerusalem. He signed a treaty with Saladin in 1192 granting Christian pilgrims rights and privileges while visiting Jerusalem.


Valois-Habsburg War


Casus Belli: Power Struggles between European Monarchies

Also known as The Italian Wars, this long struggle of European powers over domination of Italy resumed when Henry II of France (shown in image) invaded Lorraine. The conflict concluded with France surrendering all claims to Italian lands to the Holy Roman Empire.


Vietnam War

Casus Belli: Colonialism, Communist Aggression, Marxist Internationalism 

In the aftermath of World War II, communist nationalists consolidated control over northern Vietnam. Nearly three decades of war ensued between the communist backed North and the Western supported South. France declared independence for all of Indochina in 1954, and by 1964, would withdraw military forces from the region. The United States entered the conflict in 1965 and departed in 1973. Despite suffering as many as 600,000 casualties (according to NVA General Vo Nguyen Giap) in just the US period of the conflict, the North Vietnamese Communists took control of the south in 1975.


War of 1812


Casus Belli: Impressment of American sailors by British Navy, Mutual animosity between Great Britain and her former colonies, American Expansionism

Residual tensions from America's successful War of Independence coupled with border tensions with British Canada and British impressment of American sailors led to war. Americans sought to prove their new nation and expand, ultimately unsuccessfully, into Canada. While the neophyte American land forces faced frequent defeats to the professional British Army, the American Navy performed admirably against the most powerful naval forces in the world at that time. Neither nation gained in material or territory from the conflict, but Great Britain was forced to grudgingly respect the legitimacy of the United States.

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War of the First Coalition


Casus Belli: Anti-revolutionary and Monarchial alliances

In the summer of 1791, frightened by the strength and violence of the French revolutionaries, the leaders of Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Sweden agreed to join the conflict in order to preserve the French monarchy. The ensuing conflict ranged across multiple European fronts and extended even into North Africa. French King Louis XVI, however, was executed by revolutionaries in 1793 and Napoleon Bonaparte would rise to power as the war segued into the War of the Second Coalition.


War of the Polish Succession


Casus Belli: Dispute over Polish throne

The death of Augustus II in February of 1733 left the Polish throne open. Although former King Stanislas Leszczynski was popularly elected by the Poles, Augustus III, son of Augustus II, also claimed the throne. A Russian and Saxon army marched on Warsaw in support of Augustus. Despite some assistance from France (Leszczynski was the father-in-law of Louis XV), Leszczynski was eventually forced to abdicate. Augustus was crowned King, but Leszczynski was named Duke of Lorraine.


War of the Spanish Succession


Casus Belli: Dynastic Dispute

The death of Charles II set off a conflict fought on five fronts between the British, Dutch, French, Spanish and several smaller nations. The war ended in 1714. with Phillip, the grandson of Louis XIV, on the throne under the stipulation that France and Spain would not unite. Great Britain came out of the conflict with Gibraltar and several new territories in North America.

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World War I


Casus Belli: Imperialism, Militarism, Nationalism, Failed Balance of Power

Tensions among the great powers of Europe led to a global conflict between the alliances of Britain, France, and Russia on one side and Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy on the other. The Ottoman Empire, the United States of America and many other nations were eventually drawn into the war which led to over 14 million deaths.


World War II


Casus Belli: Imperialism, Militarism, Nationalism

A resurgent Germany's desire to dominate Europe and Imperial Japan's quest to dominate the Pacific led to a global conflict even more destructive and encompassing that the First World War. The Allies, led by Great Britain and the United States, defeated the Axis Powers of German, Italy, and Japan only after a war spanning dozens of nations and more than 80 million dead.

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Zulu War


Casus Belli: Imperialism, Colonialism

The Boers of the Orange Free State in Transvaal (modern South Africa) spent over twenty years disputing territory with Zululand. When the British Empire annexed South Africa in 1877, the disputes carried over with the new occupiers. In 1879, after demanding control of Zululand, the British invaded. After six months of warfare, the Zulus were decisively defeated in the Battle of Ulundi and their leader, Cetewayo, was forced to flee.

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