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The Nature of War and Warfare
Lesson 2 The Nature of War and Warfare
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According to international law, war is “a state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties”. Likewise, the term “warfare” is understood as “the use of force on the part of two or more nations or other organized groups for the purpose of deciding disputes that cannot be settled by diplomatic means”.
Warfare takes a variety of forms besides organized military confrontations – insurrections, revolutions, coups d’etat, guerrilla warfare, and terrorism.
When armed conflicts assume global proportions, they are known as world wars. War between different parts or factions of the same nation is called civil war. A state of war can also exist without actual recourse to arms, such as the cold war.
A rebellion is not legally considered a war because the rebels must have the power to maintain law and order within the regions occupied by them and carry on war on a large scale by land, sea, or air.
Internationalhostilities sometimes continue for long periods of time without being acknowledged as wars. For instance, The Korean War was regarded by the U.S. government as a police action. Conflicts or wars in which major powers purposely refrain from employing all their armed strength are often known as limited wars. Limited wars are recognized as a preferable alternative to nuclear wars.
International wars are generally terminated by a treaty, and civil wars by a peace proclamation.
The military institutions of a nation and the way it wages war are determined principally by its form of government, social structure, economic strength, and geographical position. For example, before World War II, the United States, taking advantage of its isolated geographical positions, maintained only a small standing army and depended on its navy and that of Britain.
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