The U.S. War in Afghanistan ended a year ago last month. The 20-year armed conflict was the longest in American history. The second Iraq War, which officially ended in 2011, was shorter, at eight years. However, a second conflict arose as a direct result of the first in 2013 between the Islamic State new Iraqi government and its allies, keeping the United States involved for several more years.
Not all wars are as drawn out as those two post-9/11 conflicts. In some instances, wars can quickly come to a head – sometimes due to a quick and decisive victory by one side, other times due to swift intervention by the international community that convinces both sides to lay down their weapons. In fact, a number of international conflicts have ended in a matter of days, if not hours.
To determine the shortest wars in history, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a list of major international conflicts that lasted less than a month, as compiled by The Independent.
The shortest wars in history span all different time periods and locations on the globe – one conflict on this list occurred nearly 1,000 years ago, while another ended in 2008. These wars took place in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East.
It can be difficult to pin down exactly when many wars started, given that their beginnings are often messy and irregular, sometimes beginning with small skirmishes before they evolve into full-on conflicts.
These brief wars are not the norm. Often, armed conflicts can drag out for months, if not years. Also, many wars are the result of long simmering conflicts that devolved into war, with countries fighting on and off for generations. These are the longest wars in history.
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