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Old May 16th, 2018, 12:13 PM   #1
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The first five world wars


If WWI was a world war, why couldn't four preceding multinational European wars be called world wars (including the Napoleonic Wars as a single world war)? The others would be the Nine Years War, the War of the Spanish Succession, and the Seven Years War. All saw fighting on the high seas and other continents and involved all the great powers of their era except Russia (in two) and Sweden.

WWII was in a class by itself because there were two major theaters. So either WWII was the only World War or there were six world wars.

Last edited by stevev; May 16th, 2018 at 12:22 PM.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 12:19 PM   #2

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for me there were several world wars before the two actual named ones:

- Anglo-Dutch Wars
- Spanish Succession
- Austrian Succession
- Seven Years War
- American Revolution
- Napoleonic Wars/French Revolutionary Wars

The American Revolution wasn't just the colonists/France vs. Britain. Spain, the Netherlands, and some German states were involved, and Britain fought battles in Africa and Asia as part of the overall conflict.

WWI was fought in Africa and Asia too, though most of the fighting was in Europe.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 02:01 PM   #3

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Some could call the Cold War and the War on Terror world wars as well.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 02:46 PM   #4
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I wrote my UG thesis partially on this and the truth is in the past some of those conflicts were referred to as "world wars", including by Winston Churchill in some of his works but in the aftermath of WWII the meaning was standardized. In terms of why that happened I recall it being to fall in line with the American view of the conflicts(Churchill ironically is the one who officially approved this). I might pull up my thesis later to bring out the exact timetable and the terms used in what period but it was quite fascinating and is a rarely talked about story. I will say the actual reason these conflicts were labelled had nothing to do with the merit or whether they made sense(was the conflict global?) and that they are labelled the way they are for political reasons.

In terms of the merit I'm more inclined to merge conflicts with brief pauses together and think the same should have been done with WWI and WWII(and to an extent it was done while they were going on at least in the UK). I typically would merge the Nine Years War and Great Northern Wars with Spanish Succession, Austrian Succession and Seven Years and Napoleonic Wars more or less follow this format already. Could make the Wars of Austrian Succession and Seven Years the "Frederickian Wars".
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Old May 16th, 2018, 04:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor of Wurttemburg 43 View Post

In terms of the merit I'm more inclined to merge conflicts with brief pauses together and think the same should have been done with WWI and WWII(and to an extent it was done while they were going on at least in the UK). I typically would merge the Nine Years War and Great Northern Wars with Spanish Succession, Austrian Succession and Seven Years and Napoleonic Wars more or less follow this format already. Could make the Wars of Austrian Succession and Seven Years the "Frederickian Wars".
I merged the Napoleonic wars (and by implication with the wars of the French Revolution) for practical reasons. I didn't include the War of the Austrian Succession, but maybe I should have. However I wouldn't merge them. Each of these wars had enough distinct features to set them apart IMO. Russia was mainly involved in the Seven Years War and Napoleonic Wars but only marginally involved in the Austrian war. Britain formed an alliance with Austria against Prussia in the Austrian war although later signed a separate treaty with Prussia. Britain was allied to Prussia in the Seven Years War and the Napoleonic Wars most of the time. Although all these wars reflected the great game of the leading 18th century European Powers, they're different enough that I would not merge them.

Last edited by stevev; May 16th, 2018 at 04:55 PM.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 04:33 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor of Wurttemburg 43 View Post
I wrote my UG thesis partially on this and the truth is in the past some of those conflicts were referred to as "world wars", including by Winston Churchill in some of his works but in the aftermath of WWII the meaning was standardized.
Out of curiosity--has your thesis been put online? After all, I'd love to read it.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 04:36 PM   #7
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Out of curiosity--has your thesis been put online? After all, I'd love to read it.
I'm actually not 100%sure, I don't think so(I did submit it to a journal or two, unsuccessfully)though, feel like I would have been told about that. I have a word doc of the final version which I was going to share via pm.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 05:02 PM   #8

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Originally Posted by Emperor of Wurttemburg 43 View Post
I'm actually not 100%sure, I don't think so(I did submit it to a journal or two, unsuccessfully)though, feel like I would have been told about that. I have a word doc of the final version which I was going to share via pm.
OK.

Anyway, would it be OK for you to PM me this word doc?
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Old May 16th, 2018, 05:06 PM   #9
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OK.

Anyway, would it be OK for you to PM me this word doc?
Yes, I will take my name off though if that is fine with you.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 05:07 PM   #10

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Yes, I will take my name off though if that is fine with you.
Yes, please do.
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