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Forum LockedMajor causes of war broken into percentages

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jakesteele View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22-Feb-2009 at 11:58
I'm doing a research paper on the causes of war, what their rationalizations were, what percentage were religion or expansionism or geo-political, etc.  I am looking back as far as Genghis Khan to the present.

I know it's hard to pin down but I am trying to get at least a general idea.  For instance, say 25% religious, 45% expansionism, 30% geo-political. That type of thing if it can be quantified.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Feb-2009 at 12:00
Well one issue that comes to mind, is that a lot of (most?) wars and conflicts have more than one cause/motive.etc. Expansion and Religious could be argued for say, the First Crusade. And that is very much a simplification - how will you quantify conflicts that have many complex motives and causes? Are the causes of war quantifiable into percentages?

EDIT: Sorry, I realise my First Crusade example is not within your time period - it's just an example Smile


Edited by Knights - 22-Feb-2009 at 12:02

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jakesteele Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Feb-2009 at 17:23
Maybe I could rephrase it like this.  How many of the known wars since the crusades on up have been waged mainly because religion world wide? 

I know atheists will try to pin the vast majority on religion, but that seems much too simplistic especially when you look at this country's history and can find no wars that were fought for strictly religious purposes.  Ours were fought for expansionism, geopolitical, defensive reasons,  I think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Feb-2009 at 17:42
I am with Knights on this. There is simply no one reason for a war. Most wars are waged for other reasons than the "casus belli" typically quoted. That is religion maybe used to gather the masses but the real reason is territorial and economic gain (all Russo-Turkish wars are a prime example).
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Feb-2009 at 18:55
Italian wars of 16th century were started because of French king's personal ambition, he claimed Naples throne and wanted to use it as base for his future glorious crusade against Ottoman Empire.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sun Tzu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Feb-2009 at 15:39
Yea I don't even think the Crusades were fought over religion (at least not what the popes and high nobility saw them as) I think the pope just wanted all of the Europeans full of piss and vinegar to go fight somewhere else. Also the Byzantine emperor had called for aid to fight the Turks at their doorsteps (why the 1st crusade was fought primarily in Asia Minor and Northern Levant).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sheikhu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Apr-2009 at 23:13
Agree with Al Jassas. All wars are as a result of a self serving motive (increased land, economic incentive including resources, etc.) on the part of the aggressor, rarely about religion. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Apr-2009 at 12:14
Religious affiliation itself is largely the result of a self-serving motive.
 
While I agree that few international wars are religious, I'd throw in the thought that civil wars and insurrections are much more likely to have religious difference at the back of them.
 
If a war is fought so that one religious group can get more wealth, land, influence than another, does that count as a religious one or a materiatisic one? Put another way, is it enough to call a war 'religious' if all the people on one side belong to one religion and all the people on the other to an opposed one? That was true of the Crusades, even though both sides were essentially fighting for territory and wealth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Apr-2009 at 17:14
Its all to easy to pin the blame of warfare on religion. Its a handy excuse or maybe even a motivater for war, but never the cause. Religious differences often get mixed up with ethnic differences anyway, which causes more war than we might like to think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-May-2009 at 03:06
Originally posted by jakesteele jakesteele wrote:

I know atheists will try to pin the vast majority on religion, but that seems much too simplistic especially when you look at this country's history and can find no wars that were fought for strictly religious purposes.  Ours were fought for expansionism, geopolitical, defensive reasons,  I think.

Actually, there were a few wars fought strictly for religious purposes. The Religious Wars in France, for instance. The Albigensian Crusade. Civil conflict in ancient Judea. The Thirty Years War (in its opening phases, at least, when it was a civil conflict within the HRE between Protestants and Catholics). And so on.

Saying religion didn't cause these particular conflicts is like saying that the English Civil War wasn't caused by political differences.

The Crusades, I agree, were not primarily a religious war in the fashion of the Albigensian Crusade or the Religious Wars. The Crusades were primarily geopolitical. But not all religious wars were, especially the civil conflicts. It's hard to define the Albigensian Crusade as a matter of expansionism or geopolitics. It was about stamping out a heresy. Geopolitics became involved, but only as incidental opportunism.

In general, though, few wars were ever fought for any one single purpose - but that doesn't get religion, or any other sort of ideology, off the hook. One might suppose that WW2 was fought for expansionist purposes, but Nazism played a crucial role. Similar story with, say, the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. 



Edited by edgewaters - 03-May-2009 at 03:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sun Tzu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-May-2009 at 06:04
The wars against the Pagans in the Baltic region by the Knights Hospitaller were fought over religion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-May-2009 at 19:12
Hospitallers were not in the Baltics, the Teutonic Knights and Livonian Sword Brethren did that. there were also Danish and Swedish (?) Crusades to those lands.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-May-2009 at 22:09
Such a tough question to answer - Reasons for War. Unless we take a pretty good sample and deduce from the multitude of the innumerable we are eventually looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. For starters let's take the obvious and either accept or reject prevalent truths. Wars are relgious! Wars are economical! Wars are necessary!, and so on. Yes, there have existed purely religious wars or so we think. Meccans hounding the fledgling Muslims. Popes crying for revenge. Gengis Khan praying to Tanri. All of these moments share religious connotations. However, are those moments viable references to war alone. Weren't the Meccans' fearful of descension, and contrarily, the followers of Muhammad fighting for liberty? Papal wars were surrounded in ecclesiastical dogma yet intimated kingship. Temujin sought spritual sympathy from Tanri in order to pacify his ego as he spread his dominion over men.
 
Wars are beyond basic generalization. If I were to generalize, I'd say that all wars are aggressive and defensive in nature. How's that for 100%- quantification? I'd also add that rebellions should take up most of our reasoning. Usurpation as well. Whatever the details may be, wars tend to be over differences in ideology, necessity and ambition. They tend to crop up when other means of problem solving have been exhausted.


Edited by Seko - 04-May-2009 at 22:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Little Mountain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2009 at 01:44

Greetings......

I have just discovered this wonderfull site!
Let me introduce myself.  I am a Canadian and  I am a (almost) 60 yr old female who has been interested in the history of the world since I was a child, in search of the foundation of our beginning as humans.
 
I first read Churchills 3 volume set on WW2 at the age of 10.  At the same (probably due to bible preaching I became interested in the areas of Mesopotania and Egypt.
 
What I know little of is the history of early Iranian, Indian (I am studying about Hinduism now) and the countries surrounding Afganistan.......and I am sure to learn much here.
 
Now to the question at hand.
Seko I agree with your statement.
 
I would say that up to 3000 B.C.E wars resulted due to expansionism.
After that period, religion was always in the undercurrents.
For sure, 1000 B.C.E was where we seen that religion took the forfront.......and has been the fuel (as far as I am concerned) that continues to smolder and destroy the world today.
 
As Bush junior said himself, this was the 4th Crusade.  But I must add here, that the American involvement in manipulating many countries of the 50's to the 80's had nothing to do with a religious agenda, and even though the mention of the 4th Crusade fueled the US sentiment, there was a hidden agenda and it wasn't about oil.
 
Personally, I think we are headed for WW3 and I'm all for it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-May-2009 at 09:01
Historians and others disagree about the reasons for particular wars, so any statistics may depend heavily on basics assumptions. Such assumptions, perhaps rooted in ideology may easily direct the way any evidence is interpreted.
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