5 Most Pointless Wars

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Throughout history, civilizations have always sought more territories, military hegemony, power and economic superiority above the others. There are also internal wars, such as civil wars and revolutions (i.e. Spanish civil war, American civil war, French revolution) to throw off the country's ruler and establish a new type of government or elect a new ruler for the country's sake.

Although all wars are unnecessary and conflicts between countries could be resolved by diplomatic means, there are some wars that are simply POINTLESS because either the reason to start the war is the flimsiest excuse to invade a country or the pre-war and post-war results are the same or even worse.

This is my top 5 for the most pointless wars throughout history, but let me remind you, they're not arranged in any specific order and I picked them based on my own judgement, but everyone could have their own opinion about it and think otherwise.

Pastry War
April 1838 - March 1839

Most of you probably haven't heard of this event so I'm gonna narrow it down. The decades following Mexico's Independence were characterized by economical, social and political instability. At that point, Mexico was indebted to countries such as U.S., France and England. Remontel, a French pastry cook, owned a shop in Mexico City. Some say Mexican officers ate some cakes and didn't pay the bill, other say they just looted the shop. Anyway, Remontel sailed to France, appealed to King Louis-Philippe I and demanded $600,000 pesos in damages to his shop. It was a lot of money back then and Mexico already had an ongoing debt with France so the Mexican government refused to pay.

Remontel came back to Mexico but not to visit it's beautiful beaches, he arrived to Veracruz with a fleet of 10 ships and 20 more under the command of Charles Baudin. He ordered the blockade of the whole Gulf, confiscated all the boats, giving them an ultimatum, threatening to invade if Mexico refused to pay. Mexico's Navy was also seized and from 27 November to 5 December 1938 Admiral Charles Baudin engaged heavy fire on Fort San Juan de Ulua, seizing the port of Veracruz.

Santa Anna, a retired General and ex-president, came back from retirement to fight against the French. The result? He got shot in the leg and had it amputated. He used it as propaganda and everyone claimed him a national hero. Anyway, thanks to English diplomatic intervention, Santa Anna managed to sign a treaty with the French and promised to pay up.

Vietnam War
November 1955 - April 1975

Military conflict between communist North Vietnam, supported by Russia, China, North Korea and anti-communist South Vietnam supported primarily by the United States.
When Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam gained independence back in 1954, Vietnam was divided into Communist North and Anti-communist South. The U.S. were afraid of Vietnam becoming communist and creating a "domino effect" on the surrounding countries (Burma, Japan, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Cambodia) so they aided South Vietnam with money and later on 1963, they sent about 16,000 troops to fight communism.

By 1968, at the time of the Tet Offensive, the war escalated quickly and there were about 530,000 U.S. troops fighting a war that wasn't theirs, facing terrible fighting conditions, many became angry, suffered from low morale and some used drugs.In 1970, the U.S. bombed Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese supplies, violating Cambodian neutrality. In 1971 Nixon faced pressure from the anti-war protests in the U.S. so he began withdrawing troops, giving South Vietnam a greater responsibility for fighting their own war.

By 1973, most of the troops were withdrawn and war's budget was cut significantly. Despite signing a peace treaty, the fighting between North and South Vietnam continued untill the Fall of Saigon in 1975. War casualties? Around 58,000 American lives, 350,000 casualties and more than 3 million civilians.
By the end of the war, North and South united as intended at the beginning but at a much, much higher cost.

First and Second Opium War
First Opium War 1839 - 1842; Second Opium War 1856 - 1860

Since maritime trade between Europe and China began, China was characterized by adopting a defensive posture, also called isolationism, against Westernization because they didn't want the Occidental's ideological and cultural influence over their people. By the 19th century China's population escalated to 450 million people, up from 200 million from the previous century and was ruled by the Qing Dynasty. In 1757, the Canton System was established, limiting the ports on which European traders could do business. It also restricted foreign traders from residing in China. During the 18th century, Western countries began importing opium into China, since China was largely populated and there was a high demand on silk, tea and porcelain (hence the word "fine china") from Europeans.

Opium was a common remedy for diarrhea, but other people began using it in different ways.  British India and Turkey were the largest opium producers so Britain  began exporting large quantities of opium into China by 1775. They were making huge profits from the growing number of Chinese addicts. The government in Peking noted that the foreigners seemed intent on dragging down the Chinese through the encouragement of opium addiction so Emperor Dao Guang demanded action.

In 1838, the court suppressed the legalization of opium, so authorities started arresting Chinese opium dealers and confiscating opium from foreign traders and burning it. In response, British troops were sent to Canton to enforce the terms of settlement. The Chinese were no match to British military technology so they were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking, granting indemnity to Britain, opening 5 ports and the ceding Hong Kong. The "most favored nation" treatment came to be extended so far that China's right to rule was limited, starting a period called "the century of humiliation".

European imperialism proved to be disastrous for China.When the court refused to accept foreign ambassadors and obstructed the trade clauses of the treaties, disputes led to the Second Opium War and ended with another disastrous defeat for China and subsequently forcing the Chinese government to sign the humiliating Treaty of Tianjin, which implied that heavy indemnities had to be paid by China, and more territory and control were taken over by the foreigners. They also had to open 11 more ports and allow foreigners to travel around China, which back then, was banned. The result was the legalization of opium, total humiliation for a nation full of tradition and a rich culture, the loss of territory and westernization, which eventually led to the Boxer Rebellion.

Falklands War
April 1982 - June 1982

Located east of Argentina, the Falklands Islands have been long disputed between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Argentina had been under military dictatorship since 1976 and was in the middle of an economic crisis. In order to divert public attention away from the economic crisis and the regime's ongoing human rights violations, General Leopoldo Galtieri wanted to claim the islands, believing that the UK would never respond militarily.

On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted an attack on the Falklands Islands, throwing off Governor Rex Hunt from the Government House. The UK responded with a naval task force, air strikes and aircraft fights. The conflict lasted 74 days and the result was the death of 257 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and the deaths of three civilian Falkland Islanders. Argentina's loss also sparked more protests against the military government, which hastened it's downfall. It's said to be the "cleanest" war on the matter of civilian deaths in the whole century.

Korean War
June 1950 - July 1953

Military conflict and proxy war between North Korea, supported by the USSR and People's Republic of China, and South Korea, supported by the U.S. and the United Nations. From 1910 until 1945, Korea was a Japanese-ruled country. It was considered an industrialized colony and provided Japan with many supplies, using Korea's food, livestock and metals for WW II. Towards the end of WW II, as planned on a US-USSR agreement, the USSR declared war on Japan and Soviet troops occupied the northern part of the peninsula and waiting for the U.S. troops arrival at the south part of the peninsula, dividing Korea in two with the 38th parallel as a boundary. It literally  Then, by the end of WW II, both countries' troops remained there because both sought to control the peninsula.

The peninsula was unilaterally divided by the allies without consulting the Koreans. A U.S.-USSR joint commission decided that the country would become independent after a five-year trusteeship because both sides had different ideologies. The Koreans were mad at this because after 35 years of Japanese rule, they didn't want another foreign occupation. The U.S. created an anti-communist puppet government, led by Syngman Rhee, on South Korea while the USSR created a communist government, led by Kim Il-Sung, on North Korea. Soviet troops withdrew as agreed in 1948 and U.S. troops withdrew in 1949. By Sunday 25 June 1950, North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. The war escalated and the USSR sent weapons  to North Korea, along with China joining forces with N.K.and the U.S. - U.N. intervention with South Korea. South Korea troops were poorly armed and inexperienced so they begged the U.S. and hence the U.N. for help.

Territorial gain often changed with North Korea almost controlling all of it but then they were repelled until the border stabilized and the border is still the 38th parallel. Around 2.5 million civilians were killed/wounded, 990,000 South Korean troops killed/wounded/missing, while North Korea suffered from 214,000 to 520,000 casualties.


Otto said...

To be honest all wars are Pointless Wars.

Monoriss said...

Make Love people not War :/ if i mean by Love Bombarding any city in the country Na-ah... no thanks i will stick to the real love

Rob said...

Good post, I enjoyed reading that- lots of spot on points.

phosports said...

vietnam and korean war so pointless.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I would've thrown in the Spanish-American war as well, but I think you hit on the five MOST pointless. I sure hope we learn a better way of settling our differences soon, almost everyone has nukes now...

Jandro said...

I've never really given much thought to these wars until now really. I'm not much of a history expert though so thats why lol. But reading this article has opened me to looking these wars up on wikipedia and such.

#19 said...

The sad reality is most wars that have occurred in our history have been pointless. Seems like violence is too often the response.

Magnum said...

Some say that during Vietnam War American G.I.s needed 50 000 bullets to kill one enemy. That really speaks volumes of the sheer madness of the conflict - Apocalypse Now, eh?

Publius said...

LOL most pointless wars! Love the title! Great info, I never knew about some of these other wars! +followed

Anonymous said...

WAR = pointless

Jackson.k said...

Its really a shame that some wars are sstarted over such little things..

This Guy said...

Many wars are pointless. It's basically whipping it out to see who's is bigger and in the end result a war cause even then no one wants to believe the truth.

The Sorrow said...

Every war is pointless

Dalf said...

Man, Falkland was insane. I'm Chilean and I have a lot of argentinean friends, so it hits closer to home.

Anonymous said...

what and ww1 was'nt pointless were millions died just so germany could do it all again 20 years later?

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