a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial

The list of wars since 1900 just got longer

By: Jon Brunberg | posted: 8/1/2013 10:21:59 PM


As you may already have noticed I maintain a list of wars since 1900 on this website. That list is important in the sense that it was the urge to learn about the wars of the last century that eventually led to the start of the Polynational War Memorial Project. More importantly, it also serves as an important reference point and historical background to all memorials presented here. To be honest I always saw the list as a complement and I was never really interested in making it perfect. I’ve updated it every year with new conflicts and added some functionality and texts but that was basically it. The first part of the list more or less stayed the same for years.But I’ve noticed by analyzing website traffic that the list has become one of the most popular pages on the site and I’ve realized that I need to to keep it tidy, updated and well referenced and I’m currently doing just that: filling in the gaps, updating texts, referencing fatality data and adding functionality.

That’s why, as you may have noticed, the list of wars since 1900 grew longer in the last few days. The reason is because I’m now basing the first part of the list, up to 1946, on the latest battle-deaths datasets from Correlates of War (COW)[1] which were released in 2010, and it turned out that COW:s datasets included many minor wars that weren’t included in my list from the beginning. For wars from 1946 to today I’m relying on the datasets from Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP). COW, PRIO and UCDP all use fatality data based on battle-deaths, with which means militaries and civilians killed in the course of fighting for the military goals of the belligerents. The numbers therefore mostly, but not always, exclude deaths that were not caused directly by warfare, such as famine, genocidal acts or disease [2].

There are exceptions (such as the Armenian genocide) that I believe are not included in a satisfactory way but I’m working on that. There are still gaps to fill, flaws to fix and solutions to be found. And even though I have since long accepted that the list will never be ”complete” I still believe that the updated version is a great improvement. I hope that you’ll agree with me.

[1] Correlatesofwar.org, Sarkees, Meredith Reid and Frank Wayman (2010). Resort to War: 1816 - 2007. CQ Press
[2] See the article on sources


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