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Limited vs. Total War

What is limited war, how does it differ from a total war? This post discusses the philosophical and practical differences between the two. It also discusses that the views of the various combatants in any single conflict can be different as to whether they are waging a total or limited war. The difference lies in the war aims of the combatants.

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This question is both simple and difficult at the same time. I will first give you the simple definitions of the two terms. Total war is a war in which one or both combatants mobilize their entire nation to prosecute a war to its conclusion. Limited war is one in which the entire nation is not mobilized. World War I and World War II are both good examples of total war on all sides. Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq are good examples of Limited war on the part of the US although they were generally total for our opponents and even total for South ...

Solution Summary

A discussion of the philosophical and practical differences between what defines a war as total or limited.