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Why Wars are Waged?

Chimps at war


In my opinion, there are three human needs as to why man wages war.

  • The need to protect or gain territory
  • The need for a higher spirit to justify the war
  • The need for spreading the gene pool

I used to believe that wars were fought for economic reasons. But after delving further into the subject, I now believe they are fought to either protect territory or gain new territory. Since the beginning of time, I think this is the reason human beings go to war. Prehistoric man defined boundaries by whatever means available. When others who were not like them crossed their boundaries, they would wage war. I believe that we are hard wired to protect our boundaries. Even our closest relative in the animal world, chimpanzees protect their territory from other chimps that are from other areas. They have been seen carrying tree limbs as weapons and using them to wage war on other clans that are not like them and live in other territories.

Constantine's Standard

Chi Rho

Chi Rho

The Need for Spirit Justification

The other need humans have is to worship some type of higher spirt that they use to justify maintaining their territory or acquiring new territory. Throughout history man has waged war on others who were not like them to gain territory and mostly in the name of their God or Gods.

The Roman Emperor Constantine, while in battle and marching at midday, saw in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, “In Hoc Signo Vinces or "with this sign, you will conquer.” As the story goes, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and told him to make a standard, for his army in the form of the Greek letters Chi (Χ) traversed by Rho(Ρ): ☧, a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. Constantine won the battle and became the first Pope of the Holy Roman Empire. As we all know many more were to follow, most were good, some were bad.

Crusaders and Muslims


The Crusades

The Crusades were fought mainly between the Catholic Christians and the Muslims. The Christians traveled thousands of miles from European cities to Jerusalem to pay homage to Christ. Along the way, they were attacked by Muslims. Pope Urban II created a brilliant idea to motivate not only the Knights, but the entire Catholic population against the Muslims. He decreed that if one died in battle against the Muslims infidels that all of their sins would be forgiven and instead of going to hell for their sins, they would be granted immediate and everlasting entry into heaven. Does that sound similar to how radical Muslims believe today? Only, they are granted 72 virgins by some interpretations and translations of the Quran.

There were seven crusades that lasted almost two hundred years. Saladin was a Muslim leader who was able to unite the opposing factions of Sunni and Shia Muslims into one unified Jihad. While today those same factions are mortal enemies and still wage Jihad to gain and protect their territory.

During World War II, Hitler persecuted all religions because he wanted people to think he was God and his law was the rule of God. He also exterminated 6 million Jews and others to be able to populate the land with the “Superior Aryan Race.”

Spread the Gene Pool

The third need we have is to spread our genes. Almost every conquering force rapes pillages, and interbreeds with those who have been conquered. The Spanish Conquistadores that came to the New World, slaughtered the natives and interbred with them creating the South American and Mexican nations.

White slave owners interbred with the black slaves. Many South American people can trace their heritage from Mayan and Incan to not only Africa, but to Spain as well

When the Europeans came to America, they started acquiring land and waged war on the “Savage” Indians. They killed most of the Indian population in the name of Manifest Destiny and those that were not killed were put onto reservations. Others were interbred with the Europeans.

Have we changed that much?

Today, there is a three-way civil war in the mid-east, between the Sunni, Shia, and the Kurds. They all hate each other because of their very small difference in their religious beliefs. However, their real reason for waging war is to gain and protect their territory. When ISIS first came to the forefront, they tried to invade their enemies World War II style, where, they would start from one end of the country and control the battlefield and the land mass. But they were quickly denied that opportunity because we attacked them from the air. Then then changed their tactics to embed themselves with the civilian population making it much harder to rout them out, even with precision bombing from drones and airplanes.

When they conquer a city, they rape, pillage, and interbreed, just like man has done throughout history, all in the name of Mohammad and their interpretation of the Quran. The head of ISIS, Anwar, al Baghadi, calls himself a Caliph, just like the Ottoman Empire rulers before WWI. His goal is to conquer all of the mid-east and to rule it like a Caliph. I believe, they terrorize us because they don’t want us in their country trying to change them from being theocratic to democratic.

Men draw borders on maps. But the people of the mid-east pay allegiance to their religious sects, not the arbitrary borders drawn by foreign governments. There are still many tribal areas in the mid-east that don’t abide by the borders. When this planet is viewed from space, there are no borders, just land and sea mass.

The political parties and their constituents today are divided into two ideologies those that believe we should protect our borders and those that believe we should open our borders. Both are consistent with the needs of human nature, as I have indicated.

Minuteman Missile



Primitive man must have used rocks and spears as projectiles. Through the ages the technology for thrusting those projectiles has improved to the point where we can now destroy human kind a 100 times over. The only difference is hopefully, we and many other countries store those "rocks" only as a deterrent.

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Air, Land, and Sea

Today major powers have defined their territories as not only land and sea but also as their air space. Violating a countries air space can be justification for war. Major powers all have treaties that are mutually agreed upon by member countries. Violating those treaties may also be a cause for war.

Our second amendment reads as follows:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Although subject to much interpretation, it gives us the right to bear arms against any threat that invades our space or our countries space, including the tyranny of our own federal government.

Thank you.

Thanks for reading this article. I hope this has enlightened you in some way. I just gave a few examples of wars and how the three needs are the motivating factors. I'm sure you can think of many more examples. Comments are greatly appreciated.


Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 05, 2018:

A B: Whatever you think is right. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Was your Dad airborne or ground radio operator?

A B Williams from Central Florida on August 05, 2018:

I am sure that I am not the first, will not be the last to take issue with the term “occupy” and its multiple implications. I prefer the term, the post-surrender phase, following WWII. (I may delve into this a little deeper in the near future)

My Dad was in the Air Force and he was a radio operator.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 04, 2018:

A B: You are right. They are not occupier troops as in after WWII, but they are there and stationed all over the world to protect our interest.

If you don't mind me asking, what did your Dad do while stationed in England?

I was in Japan for one year during the Cold War. I was on a remote radar site, watching for Soviet Bombers crossing into our territories.


A B Williams from Central Florida on August 04, 2018:

I’d add; the need to protect and defend and stop the spread, to the list.

My Dad was stationed in England, he wasn’t there as an occupier.

We have military stationed throughout the world, we may be occupying space, but we aren’t in those places you’ve mentioned, as occupiers.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 04, 2018:

A B: What I'm referring to as "WWII style" is the way conventional wars were fought like WWI and WWII. All military wore uniforms, so they could differentiate the good guys from the bad guys. The goals was to start at one end of country and control the land mass by sea and/or by air until the enemy lost their will to fight any further.

Today, we don't know who the enemy is because they don't wear uniforms and they don't try to control the land mass by invasion, but they use pockets of terrorism and cyber attacks.

I still believe wars are fought for the following reasons:

The need to protect or gain territory

The need for a higher spirit to justify the war

The need for spreading the gene pool

We didn't conquer their lands in WWII, but we did occupy their territories. We still have troops in Japan, Germany, and Italy. They are their to protect are territory here in the U.S. They are the watchdogs of our country.

Today, we have very sophisticated cyber attacks. The purpose of those attacks is to keep us off balance so those countries included Russia can protect their territory. We have even cyber attacked Iran and shutdown hundreds of their centrifuges used for enriching uranium.

AB, thanks for stopping by. I look forward to our conversations, if you still want to have them.

A B Williams from Central Florida on August 04, 2018:

Hi Mike, I don’t agree with you the majority of the time, but I know good writing when I see it.

As I was reading through, the phrase “WWII style”, jumped out at me. That style (the goal) was World domination and it was moving, not only at the speed of locusts, it was doing the damage of locusts. It had to be stopped.

The United States Of America became involved, not only for the benefit of those in the path of the locusts, but for all the paths that were at their disposal. Paths that could have easily been at OUR disposal, if ‘conquering’ was in our nature, but as a united, sovereign Nation, we’ve always gone in, in a supportive, non-conquering manner. Our hands often tied, the News back home often misleading....and yet we still go.

What bothers me is knowing this, understanding our character, our nature and watching, reading, hearing us described by Professors, former Presidents, members of the Media, Individuals currently running for some kind of horrible Nation, horrible people....that shouldn’t even exist as a Nation.

I often think of the U.S.A. as the Winston Churchill of the World, needed for a time, to serve a purpose and then.... the finger pointing begins, backs are turned and a different version of history goes forth.

I know I’ve gone in a different direction than you intended, but we desperately need to be having this conversation.

I am okay with a delete, wouldn’t be the first time ;)

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 04, 2018:

Thanks Paula. It's always nice to know when people respect you for your efforts whether they believe in them or not. I also give you credit for choosing your own battles. That takes conviction as well.

Have a great day.

Suzie from Carson City on August 04, 2018:

I don't worry about you can surely handle it. I will though, give you the credit you deserve for being a fierce supporter of what you believe. I'm always impressed by anyone who fights the good fight!

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 04, 2018:

Thank you Dr. John. You have piqued my interest. I will email you right away.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 04, 2018:

Paula: Thank you for your concern, but not to worry about me being battle worn or war weary. But what you should worry about is I am addicted to debating the other side.

I enjoy it because it sharpens my writing skills and logical reasoning. I like to do the research and analysis to try to prove my points. I know it may be an exercise in futility, but I enjoy the challenge. I have to admit, there are times when I get frustrated, but I do get over it.

I would like to think we can make a difference. They say, the flapping of the wings of butterfly can contribute to a change in the weather.

Thanks again Paula, you enjoy your weekend off as well. I look forward to seeing more of your work on HP.

Dr John Bridges from Portland, OR on August 03, 2018:

Mike, I never actually considered you to be at war on HB. I actually respect you and your writing, and am able to take your political views with a grain of salt. In other words, you are one of the few liberals I enjoy talking with these days. Drop me an e-mail I am considering a project that you may consider collaborating on.

Suzie from Carson City on August 03, 2018:

Mike... I just happen to see this in my thread and I sort of laughed when I saw the title. I don't have a comment about war, except that I deplore the entire concept, always have & always will.

What made me chuckle was, I figure you are most definitely an expert on 'WAR." You've been actively involved in one hell of a war, right here on HP for some time now!! LOL.....Are you battle weary & worn yet? Shell-shock?

I can assure you, I haven't the desire or need to be a war hero in this case. I've retreated. I'm smart enough to know there are no winners in this case. Just a whole lot of destruction & disillusionment.

The real truth is, at the end of the day, we have no power, no say in any of this, in terms of what ultimately occurs. Since the beginning of time, for the little people, we just make noise with zero results.

The big guns are in charge. They control our world.

I will not take up arms to fight any of these crooked bastards....Take a week-end pass from the war, Mike and enjoy yourself! Paula

Dr John Bridges from Portland, OR on August 02, 2018:

I still think resources and the desire for resources is the major factor of most wars. The cold war turned those resources from just physical to ideological resources (influencing people). But the 3 things you listed certainly could apply, especially with the examples you presented.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on August 02, 2018:

Dr. John:

That's your prerogative. Again thank you for stopping by. After I send this reply. I will go to your site and become a fan of yours.

Dr John Bridges from Portland, OR on August 01, 2018:

interesting take. not sure if I agree or disagree yet.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on June 07, 2017:

Oztinato: Thanks for the information.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on June 06, 2017:


Theories will always be tweaked over time.

There are both physical and spiritual explanations.

Corrupt physical forces need to be fought against. This is also a huge archetype expressed in literature.

The "gene war" is physical but it's opposite is the "good fight".

Carl Jung expressed these things.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on June 05, 2017:

Oztinato: Professor Joseph Campbell in the Power of Myth said the same thing, that the father figure is both feared and respected. I believe men in high power places get there because they are alpha-male types and they have an innate need to spread their gene pool. Thanks for information.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on June 05, 2017:

Here is a wiki summary of chapter 4 from Freud's "totem and taboo". This chapter has to be one of the most insightful analysis of "war" and it's pre human roots.

Chapter 4

In "The Return of Totemism in Childhood," Freud combines one of Charles Darwin's more speculative theories about the arrangements of early human societies (a single alpha-male surrounded by a harem of females, similar to the arrangement of gorilla groupings) with the theory of the sacrifice ritual taken from William Robertson Smith to conclude that the origins of totemism lie in a singular event, when a band of prehistoric brothers expelled from the alpha-male group returned to kill their father, whom they both feared and respected. In this respect, Freud located the beginnings of the Oedipus complex at the origins of human society, and postulated that all religion was in effect an extended and collective form of guilt and ambivalence to cope with the killing of the father figure (which he saw as the true original sin).

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on June 01, 2017:

It's interesting to see the different views on the subject. But I believe it is the innate need to spread the gene pool. Thanks for the link.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on May 31, 2017: