The war portal

Introduction

War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant suffering and casualties.

While some scholars see war as a universal and ancestral aspect of human nature, others argue it is a result of specific socio-cultural or ecological circumstances.

The deadliest war in history, in terms of the cumulative number of deaths since its start, is World War II, from 1939 to 1945, with 60–85 million deaths, followed by the Mongol conquests at up to 60 million. As concerns a belligerent's losses in proportion to its prewar population, the most destructive war in modern history may have been the Paraguayan War (see Paraguayan War casualties). In 2013 war resulted in 31,000 deaths, down from 72,000 deaths in 1990. In 2003, Richard Smalley identified war as the sixth biggest problem (out of ten) facing humanity for the next fifty years. War usually results in significant deterioration of infrastructure and the ecosystem, a decrease in social spending, famine, large-scale emigration from the war zone, and often the mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilians. For instance, of the nine million people who were on the territory of the Byelorussian SSR in 1941, some 1.6 million were killed by the Germans in actions away from battlefields, including about 700,000 prisoners of war, 500,000 Jews, and 320,000 people counted as partisans (the vast majority of whom were unarmed civilians). Another byproduct of some wars is the prevalence of propaganda by some or all parties in the conflict, and increased revenues by weapons manufacturers.

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The Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment's bayonet charge during the Korean War.

The military history of Puerto Rico dates back to the 16th century when Spanish conquistadors battled against the native Taínos and continues to the present-day. It was ruled by the Spanish Empire for four centuries, during which the Puerto Ricans defended the island against invasions from the British, French and Dutch. The island was seized by the United States during the Spanish–American War, and Spain officially ceded it under the terms of the 1898 Treaty of Paris which ended the War. Now a United States territory, as citizens of the United States, Puerto Ricans have participated in every major conflict in which the United States has been involved from World War I onward.

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Lowering the flag on Zuikaku

Zuikaku was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her planes took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor that started the Pacific War, and she fought in several of the most important naval battles of the war. Sustaining heavy damage in the battle off Cape Engaño, the crew lowered the flag (shown here; note the sharp list to port) and attempted to abandon ship, but were unable to do so before she capsized.
Photo credit: Kazutoshi Hando

Selected anniversaries

August 15

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