Talk:Civil war

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January 5, 2009 Peer review Reviewed
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If you like fried chicken than the civil war is for you! same

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Mv Cristi (talkcontribs) 10:43, 3 October 2011 (UTC) also some reference:
Irrelevant. — ᚹᚩᛞᛖᚾᚻᛖᛚᛗ (ᚷᛖᛋᛈᚱᛖᚳ) 05:31, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
For another reminder, this talk page is how to improve the Civil War article. I highly doubt anyone would put fried chicken in the article. The source was unreliable but it's helpful. But don't forget, make sure you have a accurate source. Do you have an accurate source? Thanks,Allied Rangoons (talk) 23:39, 3 April 2014 (UTC).

this is very important you under stand this for your C.E EXams[edit]

I don't think that is quite right. The overthrow of the established regime is essential if either of the terms revolution or coup are to be applied. It is not the case though that every failed revolution is a civil war or that every revolution is a civil war. The term Revolution would not have been applicable to the US Civil war if the South had won.

Are the timestamps automaticlly added to talk comments? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:53, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

"The term Revolution would not have been applicable to the US Civil war if the South had won." I am not sure that this is correct. Southern propaganda did suggest the war was a second revolutionary war or at least a war in keeping with the spirit of the first revolution. Yankee loyalists in the South were dubbed "tories" (the name given to, or assumed by, by those Americans loyal to the Crown during the Revolution). The real issue should be whether or not the "American Revolution" should be known as a civil war, given that 1/3 was pro-revolution (known as patriots or whigs), 1/3 was loyalist (known as tories) and 1/3 stayed neutral.~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:47, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
In the English civil war there were two powers with rival (and substantial) claims to legitimacy. It is not a revolution as Parliament claimed to be acting to protect its existing rights not create new ones. The same is true in the US Civil war and the Spanish Civil war. The French Revolution was proclaimed as such, it war not really a civil war or for that matter much of a war of any sort. The same is true of the Russian Revolution. There was plenty of bloodshed but most of it happened after the new power was already in control. --Gorgonzilla 06:19, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

The Mexican Revolution is indeed a good example of a revolution that was also a civil war. But the opening generalization is false. In the English Civil War the rebelling party won, yet it was called a civil war not a revolution. Also, although the Americans won their revolution and it was called a revolution, I am not sure I would characterize it as a civil war -- there is a strong argument that the revolution only happened after Americans stopped thinking of themselves a English (or at least, those Americans who revolted). Moreover, the revolutionaries were not fighting for control over England (as was the case in the English Civil War). In short, I agree that there is some overlap between civil wars and revolutions, and the article ought to address this. But the claim that "If the rebelling party was successful in overthrowing the established government, it is usually termed a revolution, but if they were not successful it is other termed a civil war." is at best helpful, at best, leading, AR

What is the English war between King Stephen and Empress Maud called? Surely that was a civil war that should be noted in this article. -- isis 3 Sep 2002

I am not sure but didn't the Holy Roman Empire have a civil war?
Traditionally (and not necessarily logically), the period of competition for the succession between Stephen and Matilda is referred to as "The Anarchy." This may be because it wasn't entirely internal. Matilda was the "empress" because she was sent to Germany at the age of seven to prepare for marriage to Henry V. Her 2nd husband was Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou. For that matter, Stephen of Blois wasn't "English," either. With none of the principals being "English," it's never seemed like a "civil war." At least, that's how I've explained it to my own students! --Michael K. Smith 14:02, 15 March 2006 (UTC)--Michael K. Smith 14:02, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Contributors to this page may wish to know someone has stolen the content without credit, violating our license. See Wikipedia:Copies of Wikipedia content (low degree of compliance), section You may wish to contact the site at to voice a complaint. Derrick Coetzee 00:40, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

A civil war is a war in which parties within the same country or empire struggle for national control of state power.

I have a problem with this opening definition in the context of the American Civil War. Without getting into the eternal, unwinnable political arguments of what the "causes" of that struggle were, it can be fairly argued that the goal of the Confederacy was not to take "control of state power" but to successfully secede -- i.e., to leave the Union and be left alone. You can make the same argument about Biafra's attempted secession and the resulting "Nigerian civil war." Thoughts, anyone? --Michael K. Smith 14:02, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

First sentence[edit]

"civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture, society or nationality." Is it just me or is this an incomplete sentence? I only ask because it's been this way for months, thought maybe I was missing something. --Joewithajay 20:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

At what point does the escalation become a Civil War? The escalating sectarian violence in Iraq, has not been declared a Civil War, yet. At what point, or how many Sunnis and Shi'a have to die before it is a Civil War? (RobertHC 11:17, 12 July 2006 (UTC))

I don't much like the revised version, either. To say that the State must be a party excludes conflicts between factions of equal legitimacy, and to focus on territory suggests there must be distinct parts of the State occupied by both factions, excluding guerilla wars and fluid conflicts. Later in the intr we refer to "the definition", as if there is some prescribed definition of civil war. Cyclopaedic (talk) 00:30, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, first let me just point out that the current revision is actually cited, unlike the old one, and there is a discussion of this issue at the last question in the peer review transcluded lower down the page.
The wording is a catch-22. I cannot think of a single instance where at least one combatant didn't claim to be the government, and often all combatants claim to be the legitimate government. Since one of the combatants will eventually win, that group will have been proven right with their claim. Similarly, even in guerrilla wars, the guerrillas control territory, often in rural areas. I have no idea what "fluid conflicts" means. If a rebel group isn't strong enough to contest for turf, then I can't think of any examples where the conflict can reach the 1000 deaths per year bar, it being relegated to the lesser terms of "terrorism" or "civil disturbance".
On the last point, would "Definitions" be more acceptable? Either "civil war" is a bounded term, e.g. it's possible to reach a general consensus on what fits under the label and what doesn't, or it means whatever the speaker wants it to mean. The academic literature, as well as discussions about if a conflict has reached the stage of "civil war", indicates that it is bounded. - BanyanTree 06:47, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

banyan, Nicholas Sambanis would like word regarding the boundedness of the concept of civil war[1] He argues that "it may be impossible (and some would argue undesirable) to arrive at a consensus on a single definition and measurement of civil war". This is because "it is not possible to arrive at an operational definition of civil war without adopting some ad hoc way of distinguishing it from other forms of armed conflict". Sambanis goes on to highlight the different ad hoc and arbitrary definitions used by researchers to differentiate civil wars from other forms of violence.

Also no one has used 1000 deaths per year since collier and hoeffler in 2001 (i think). By 2004, even they changed to the less restrictive '1000 deaths over the course of a conflcit and at least 100 deaths per year' as has the Correlates of War database much of the quantitative/econometric work draws from (though no one knows when they did it, what they retro-actively changed about their data-set and how it effects the continuity of their statistics because they have an extremely private editorial board/policy). Actually, now that i think about it, PRIO might still use the 1000 deaths/year threshold, though much more work is done using the internal violent conflict data-set that includes all conflict resulting in 25 deaths/year. All this is basically because 1000 deaths/year just doesn't give provide enough civil war events to extrapolate generalizations from...

tldr; there is an extreme amount of diversity in the operational definitions used by research into civil wars.

However, this is predominantly a problem restricted to statistical studies of conflict and there is a degree of consensus on what defines civil war in a theoretical sense, though precise definitions still vary (its kinda like pornography, we know it when we see it). To my mind, the best definition is taken from Stathis Kalyvas who defines civil war as “armed combat taking place within the boundaries of a recognised sovereign entity between parties subject to a common authority at the outset of hostilities”[2] ). The point is that the sovereign unit in question need not be a nation state, but may instead be an empire, federalist association (depending on the concentration of sovereignty) or any other form of political unit that possesses (or is seen to posses) ultimate authority over a given territory. The problems of organisation, severity and reciprocity of violence (after all this is what separates war from any other form of violence) seem well covered by the term combat, which strongly implies all these things. Also, inasmuch as academics are inclined to achieve consensus in such matters, this definition seems to be quite common within contemporary literature regarding civil wars (Citations availible on request, cannot be bothered trawling through pdfs right now).

Anyway, i hope i have helped more than hindered, also i am impressed by the overall quality of the article and wish to contribute in any way that is helpful.Skankenstein (talk) 04:36, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

First sentence[edit]

I agree. I took the liberty of changing it to something more complete by adding the words "fight for control" to the end of it. none of this is correct...i am are wrong! ah hahahah!'

No I'm not I am smarter than you hahaha right back Cutegirl00 (talk) 03:19, 20 November 2014 (UTC)


This article has been vandalised so frequently, should it be semi-protected? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Draicone (talkcontribs)

I dunno. It often seems like no edits are done to this article except vandalism/reverts. See WP:SPP, this kind of falls in the grey area. It's not really kosher to just semi-protect an article perpetually because it might get vandalized. But then again, this article sees 10-20 vandal edits a month pretty much perpetually, spiking quite a bit when school is in session in the US/UK. But it doesn't seem to be anything we can't keep up with... so for now semi-protection doesn't really seem needed.or dose it.!!!!!!! --W.marsh 02:01, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Who the hell made Civil War refer to demons, the devil or HELL. This article is certainly vandalised and please have some integrety, It's not our fault you are stupid and uneducated. (I'm refering to the devil guy lol). And yes seriously the guy doesn't even know what the hell civil war is or what not. I came from a country that was in a civil war. El Salvador 1980 - 1992. Very recent huh? Anyways I agree with the dude above me. This should be protected (even thou its been a while). -- Xangel 07:02, 9 December 2006 (UTC)


The following passage uses condescending, unsupported and subjective terminology against monotheistic societies that do not respect Wikipedia's NPOV policy. I ask the moderators to please edit it with the following nuances (in bold text).

Quote: In the history of Abrahamic religions, civil wars fought over religion have tended to be reported more frequently in monotheistic societies than in polytheistic societies; one explanation is that the latter tend to be more easily "assimiliated" in terms of dogma, for being bound by strict articles of faith.

In its current version, the text not so subtly suggests that monotheists are bigots, whereas the destruction of Jerusalem by Saduceans Geeks and later Romans was caused by Greco-Romans' imposition of their worship views on Israelites, who refused assimilation. Likewise, early Christians were a persecuted sect under Roman polytheism, as are modern-day Falung Dung under Communist ideology in China. Conversely, Christianization of pagans during the Early middle ages showed an inverse movement against polytheists. The issue is that powerful groups tend to force their views over less powerful groups; the assertion hat monotheism is by default more enclined to civil war is a subjective and highly debateable opinion. In this article, teducing this complex issue to gross presumed tendency of monotheists to impose their faith on polytheists is not a NPVO. Hence I ask the moderators to nuance the facts therein.

Thanks - ENB, Canada (Oct 5 2006)

the whole article under Pre-modern civil wars should be deleted. First of all prior to the Middle Ages and during Civil Wars didn't occur, because there really wasn't nation states. The pagan Romans had many civil wars, often fought for control of the Empire, but the barbarians, who were not always pagans, lived in tribal societies, not nations. Perhaps it is a case of rural versus urban. Most wars then were conquests. Anyway everything else following also seems unencyclopedic, even if it is scholarly, it is an opinion and theories. Perhaps a list of civil wars based on religion would help. I believe the main difference between different Islamic sects is who is the rightful leader, in a way a political issue. Also, wars against catholics have been seen as wars against the Pope's political authority. These wars occurred in societies with a poor concept of the separation of religion and State. This includes polytheistic nations where the rulers were viewed as divine. Rds865 (talk) 21:14, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

"Criteria is"[edit]

The following sentence appears: "Other historians state the criteria for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not)." be "criterion." I'm not a trusted member, or whatever it's called, so I can't change it, but I wish someone would. Plkldf 13:30, 7 October 2006 (UTCPTK, Batimore MD USA

Stone Arm's and Deadleg[edit]

There is a civil war story that hasn't been proved so is considered myth. The story of the two soldiers Brian Breeding and Micheal Lockhart. Brian "Stone Arm's" Breeding was a soldier who gave his life in battle and his friend Micheal "Dead Leg" Lockhart who did not leave Brian behind. Brian and Micheal was sent out into the field as scouts. The two were deep into the enemies territory when they were spotted and shot at. Brin was hit in the stomach and Micheal was fine. Brian died by Micheal's side. Micheal remembered a quote he heard long ago, "Never leave a man behind", and with that he carried Brian home. It took the two 5 days to reach the base. That is a hero if I've ever heard of one. (UTC)

what does that have to do with anything? Rds865 (talk) 21:34, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Revoltuion and Civil War - MUST BE CORRECTLY DEFINED[edit]

This is Xangel and I gotta tell ya there is confussion wit revolution and civil war. The Sub-artice Revolution is completely false. I hate it in fact. "A revolution is generally seen as a civil war fought over issues of ideology" - IT IS NEVER AN IDEOLOGY. Ideology is simply a basis to implement the change needed. And that what a revolution is it is change. The Industirial Revolution is an major economic change and is not around ideology. olution refers to change, and a civil war can lead to a revolution. In the case of the United States of America, they had the American Civil War between the Americans and the British. Two parties fighting each for their own purpoor reason. The Americans were fighting against the tyanny of the British and for their liberty from them. The British, I assume, retaliate to gainack th power. When the Civil War ended with the Declaration of Independance now the American Revolution began, implementing the change of a new democracy for the United States. Revolution an civil war are not the same. I don't think you can ever say a revolution is a civil war becse they are two different phases in history. And certainly what I've been taught in History class is that the Civil War is the Pre-condition and Critical Period for the American Revolution.

Also with reference to Russia, Red Guards organized by Leon Trotsky initiated a coup. It was certainly quick in which always there is that confusion that a revolution is quick which in fact is never an element for a revolution. Also you were wrong Gorgonzilla, there was barely, or at most no bloodshed for the October Revolution (Russia had three Revolutions in case you didn't know: the March Revolution of 1901, the February Revolution of 1917 and the October Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 that formed the Soviet Union). Now this was a coup, a quick overthrow of a regime which then initiated the Communi Bolshevik Revolution. There was no civil war. The only civil war Russia had was when the interventionists compose of the allied parties, the White Army from the other opposition parties fought against the Bolsheviks. Another group included the Greens a peasant oppositi group that is against the both Reds and Whites. Now this is a civil. Several parties fighting against each other within a nation. But it is not a revolution, in fact if the Whites had won it is the destruction of a revolution.

This article is completely wrong and I disagree with it fully. I would like it to be changed completely or at least cleaned up.

A revolution is generally seen as a civil war fought over issues of ideology, over how power should be organized and distributed, not merely over which individuals hold it. The classic example of a revolution, and by some arguments the first is the French Revolution, which is seen to have pitted the middle class and urban poor of France against the aristocracy and monarchy. Some argue that revolutions are a modern continuation of the peasant revolts of the past. Unlike peasant revolts, however, revolutions are almost always led by members of the educated, but disaffected, middle class who they the large mass of the population to their cause. Others see ideology as merely replacing religion as a justification and motivation for violence that is fundamentally caused by socioeconomic factors. To be successful revolutions almost always require use of armed force and sometimes escalate to a civil war, such as in the Chinese Civil War. In some cases, such as the French and Russian Revolutions the revolutionaries succeed in gaining power through a ick coup or localized uprising, but a civil war results from counterrevolutionary forces organizing to crush the revolution.

Peasants revolts?? Always led by members of the cated, but disaffected, middle class?? What the *&$% (excuse my language lol) but seriously this generalisation has gotta stop. A Revolution is never ever a fight. Look at Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez Frias initiated the Bolivarian Revolution (still going on by the way) which is economic, social change and is not a fight or civil war.

By the way I'm sorry that I have given a lecture. I tend to do that in order to achieve a point. Sorry. But yeah a revolution is not a civil war and only refers to change.

--Xangel 07:05, 9 December 2006 )
The Wiki policy is No Original Research--definitions and analysis must be based on the consensus of experts and fully referenced. IF Xangel wants to point to some studies we should look at, please cite them.Rjensen 06:40, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Scholars who are experts on revolution disagree about the definition. Samuel P. Huntington has a narrow definition, excluded wars of independence, coups, and other wars that change only politics, and also requires violence for it to be a revolution. On the other hand many scholars define the American Revolution, English Revolution and India's struggle for independence, revolutions, as well as any communist movement. Huntington says the point of a revolution is to expand participation, but that it also has social and economic changes, as well as political. The basic agreement is that revolution is about rapid change, as opposed to reform, which is about gradual change. That is revolutionaries want a new system, reformers want to fix the old one. As far as this article is concerned a civil war can be a revolution, but not a revolution is not a civil war. Rds865 (talk) 20:14, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

International and Military Definitions[edit]

The Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949, (Volume II-B, p. 121) does not specifically define the term ‘civil war’. It did, however, describe the criteria that separate any act committed by force of arms (anarchy, terrorism, or plain banditry) from those qualifying as ‘armed conflict not of an international character’ (including civil wars). Among those conditions listed are these four basic requirements.

• The party in revolt must be in possession of a part of the national territory.

• The insurgent civil authority must exercise de facto authority over the population within the determinate portion of the national territory.

• The insurgents must have some amount of recognn as a belligerent.

• The legal Government is “obliged to have recourse to the regular military forces against insurgents organized as military.”

The ICRC further clarified the nature of ‘armconflicts not of an international character’ that was referred to in Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. They stated that this type of conflict “generally refer to conflicts with armed forces on either side which are in many respects similar to an international war, but take place within the confines of a single country.”

The U.S. military has adopted the tenets set forth by the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva for their definition of a civil war. Their definition, however, includes an additional requirement for identifiable armed forces. The December 1990 version of FM 100-20 (Military Operations in Low Intensity Conflict) defines a civil w “A war between factions of the same country; there are five criteria for international recognition of this status: the contestants must control territory, have a functioning government, enjoy some foreign recognition, have identifiable regular armed forces, and engage in major military operations.” --Uwops 20:45, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

At the end of the first bullet it states (currently) that "This is surprising." It does not expand on this statement, nor does it seem to to the information contained therein. -fauxanadu

Political Scientist vs. Scholars[edit]

I moved the sentences that defined civil war based on the view of 'political scientist' to the section on definitions. Most of that content was already here and was redundant. I also corrected 'Political Scientist' to 'Scholars' to acctely reflect the citation. The citation did go on mention one political scientist, but he offered no opinion on the definition. Also, this citation required a subscription to read. Is it possible to limit citations to articles that do not incur costs? --Uwops 13:19, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree with cleaning this article up a little. I don't disagree with it totally, though. Someone pay attention to the precise wording in this article, please.

i added a comma where it was needed


Since I don't have an account on the en-Wikipedia, could you please add the lb-Interwiki Link ? -> [[lb:Biergerkrich]]. Thx. -- 22:38, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

'pre-modern civil wars'[edit]

I removed the para about religion, ideology or nationalsim not playing a apsrt in 'pre-modern civil wars'. First of all, that is demonstrably not true. Look at the French Wars of Religion, the English Civil War, the Fronde, the Dutch Revolt, the Irish Rebellion of 1641 etc etc. While feudal and dynastic factors may also have been important, this does not mean that religious, ideological or ethnic factors did not play some part. In any case, it is far too broad a statement for the opening paragrap of the article and far too pov. Jdorney 15:04, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I have removed this section as being both entirely unreferenced and totally disputed for half a year. It was very badly organized, e.g. a discussion of nationalism in the Cold War in a section named "pre-modern civil wars", and I gave up trying to find a way to salvage something from it. I hope to add some cited content on pre-WWII civil wars from Hironaka's book soon. - BanyanTree 02:14, 3 August 2008 (UTC)


For some reason, a dictionary definition is absent in article. I placed the MW defintion of civil war under 'definition'; MW being a commonly accepted dictionary. The content that was there was placed under 'scholarly opinion' as the citations do not refer to anything other than selected scholar's opinion of the classification of the Iraq War. Angncon (talk) 06:38, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Comment 1 to Definition

I can't do this right now, but will someone please adjust the accreditation for this definition. Fearon is not the first person to argue this by any means, nor should it be attributed to him. The original criteria academics use for defining a civil war in these contexts goes to Small and Singer (1982) "Resort to Arms: International and Civil War, 1816-1980," and the criteria were as follows:

1. Internal military action within a sovereign boundary, 2. National government is involved in the fighting, 3. Effective resistance by both sides.

The definition has been used repeatedly, and to attribute it to a 2007 article is a little bit of a push. Thanks.

American Revolution[edit]

is it really a civil war? a civil war is different than a war of independence, although it isn't always clear. Rds865 (talk) 20:16, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

In that case, the American civil war wasn't a civil war either. Both were wars of independence, it's just that the rebels lost the latter. (talk) 14:55, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Wrong, according to my sources, the American Civil War was about the right to keep slaves. The south wanted to keep slaves, and the North didn't want slaves. The south didn't want to be bossed around so they seceded. If the slaves were fighting, then it would be American Revolution because the slaves wanted independence. Yet that did not happen because only few slaves formed regiments to fight the South. The North did most of the fighting. The word "civil" means two sides but were once a country. Hopes this answers Rds865's question.Allied Rangoons (talk) 23:59, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Correct. The so-called American Civil War was not a civil war. It was a war of secession. That's why it doesn't fit the model. (talk) 15:02, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

grammar, grammar, grammar[edit]

1st sentence as of 5/30/08: "A civil war is a military conflict what arises..."

"what" should be "that"

Okay, I'll assume it's a typo, not poor grammar.

Just to say, it's not a typo, it's not poor grammar. The word "arises" was and professional ancient way of saying "rises".Allied Rangoons (talk) 00:02, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

a question of degrees in definition[edit]

civil wars are hard to define. as are all conflicts. a suggest that civil wars be annakyzed according to certain parmeters: 1) level of violent interaction.

civil wars are a level of conflictual social interaction. this "spectrum " include other, less destructive levels , such as non-violent protests at one extreme, and a world war on the other. this of course does not mean that in a certin conflict, other , less dramatic forms will come to pass. in many cases, a certain conflict will shift and esscalate, or will calm down. the main differances in this spectrum is the level of organization of the parties involved. a conflict between a worker's union,and the state, for example will never posses the organizational resources to wage a nuclear world war. keeping that in mind we can undrestand the importance of understanding the type and size of the parties, as a way to understand this phenomonon.

2) sub-classification of civil wars. this subject is problematic because every civil war falls within criteria of all sub-classification. i can find three differant archytypes of civil war (regarding causes, outcomes etc.) -the ethnic civil war /tribalism. this type of conflict is brought about by ethnic tensions, and a fear of subjugation of ethnic groups by others. it's important to note that this kind of conflict dates back to a time before the foundation of nation-states, where local fewds where resolved in similar, this type of civil war is predominant in post-colonial countries, when ethnic tensions were often used to solidify control for many years, and where a national movment , nagating tribalism, was never fully established. this kind of conflict often has more then one side, and alliances between groups are temporary and shift often enough. this kind of conflict takes many years to resolve. in fact, in many cases, even after an official ending to the conflict, it lives on , sometimes erupting again years later.examples for this type of civil war are the yougoslavia wars of the 90's , the lebanese civil war , and most civil wars in central africa (congo, uganda, angola etc.) -revolutions-revisionism values change over time, and new ideas form, bringing a demand to revise the society , based on a new ideology. this form of conflicts usualy comes as a reaction to flaws in the exitsing regimn . although, usualy highly influanced by outside sources, it always contains also a solidyfing nationalistic nerrativ. it's important to note, that only in this kind of civil war there is a call to destroy the ruling elite, and establish a new goverment (with a new elite), preferable for the people. a good example for this is the french revolution, the russian revolution of october 1917, etc.

-warlord civil wars. in this kind , there is generaly an established nationality, but power struggles within the governing elite, that are irreconcilable, turn to violent conflict. in this case, the military, the "last vestige of stability" is factioned , and generals back their local elite, forming power bases and alliances. this kind of conflict is common, usualy in large countries, and is usualy short-lived. however it sometimes takes on different characteristics as time goes on. a good example of this is the warlord wars in china in the 1920's which turned later into revolutionary conflict. another example, is the american civil war, which also changed to a more revisionist based conflict. it can be argued that this kind of conflict is a prolonged version of a coup d'tat , rather then a civil war, however, the scope of this conflict is much larger then a limited struggle.

3)degree of foreign intervention the outcome of conflicts is important to foreign parties (goverments, n.g.o's , the u.n. , etc.). as a result most civil wars are influanced and even manipulated to suit the needs of these players. intervention includes military assistance (meterial, inteligance, leadership) and ideological influance. in some cases, invasion will change the nature of the conflict, from a civil war to a regional war. (a good example of that is the israeli war of independance, that was, for a while a predomenantly civil war, but later became a regional war) it's hard to generalize the reason for intervention, but , in general it can be assumed that: - a commercial interest in the country will raise the level of interferance. - a security threat from one of the combatants will also raise the level of involvment - geogarphicl proximity - ideological proximity the level of foreign intervention can shape the outcome, and it can be argued that the distance between a purly "civil war" to a "proxy war" is not great. 4)availabilty of resources. every civil war is partialy defined by the availability of resources. the independance of one party from the other greatly effect the outcome, and usualy , also the cause of the conflicts. in many cases, however, a high level of foreign aid can offset initial disparities in resources. it can be assumed that the antebelum dependancy on foreign trade of the country will determin both the innitial devision of resources during the war (greater importance on harbours, roads) and also , indirectly the level of forign involvment in the conflict. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:39, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Peer review now open[edit]

act, often missing out the hedges and underlying assumptions that those studies rely on and present it here as undisputed facts and in the article these facts are not attributed to a study.

They are "attributed", per Wikipedia:Attribution, as every sentence that I wrote in this article, which are a majority, has an associated reference, with the exceptions of several transitional sentences that I intentionally left at the end of paragraphs without citations. As for the reliability of statistical studies, I figure that the only thing more worthy of skepticism than a statistical study with massive amounts of data is such a study done without statistics. I would be happy to point readers to Statistical hypothesis testing#Criticism, though that article is far worse referenced that this one. In any case, hopefully a broader range of sources would meet some of your criticisms. - BanyanTree 15:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

For example this statement in the passive (none attributed) voice of the article:

"A high proportion of primary commodities in national exports significantly increases the risk of a conflict. A country at "peak danger", with commodities comprising 32% of gross domestic product, has a 22% of falling into civil war in a given five-year period, while a country with no primary commodity exports has a 1% risk."

Australia better choose sides! (see Mining in Australia#Econmics: "In contrast, mineral exports contribute around 35% of Australia's exports. Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal (35% of international trade), iron ore, lead, diamonds, rutile, zinc and zirconium, second largest of gold and uranium, and third largest of aluminium.")

And those in power in Zimbabwe must have a cunning plan to totally destroy their economy because then there will be no exports at all, so they will reduced the chances of a civil war down to 1%.

To emphasise, it is not just the above statement that concerns me but lots of statements throughout the article eg: "High levels of population dispersion and, to a lesser extent, the presence of mountainous terrain increased the chance of conflict. Both of these factors favor rebels, as a population dispersed outward toward the borders is harder to control than one concentrated in a central region, while mountains offer terrain where rebels can seek sanctuary". Really! then add another tick box to Australia, tick in the box for New Zealand, but the Vatican and Monaco can heave a sigh of relief.

I will certainly look to change to active voice as I go into another round of research. However, I'm afraid your picking states with strong governments, who are described in the article as being at lowest risk of civil war, and then writing as if a '22% chance of civil war occurring' is certainty has lost me. Are you envisioning a '22% chance' as being like a random roll of the dice for every nation with that characteristic, regardless of its other characteristics or government strength? Or are you saying that the concept of state weakness is not explained adequately in the text? Please specify as you've thoroughly confused me. - BanyanTree 15:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

If the section "Causes of civil war" is based on just one paper then it would be better to retitle the section to emphasise that it is the opinions of just one paper with a very specific set of assumptions and to make it clear in the text that these are the findings of that paper.

I have renamed the title of the causes section to attribute the current content. Given that the lead-in paragraph to that section begins "A comprehensive studies of civil war was carried out by a team from the World Bank in the early 2000s." and ends "The factors that were shown to have a statistically-significant effect on the chance that a civil war would occur in any given five-year period were:", I"m have difficulty clarifying the source further, per your suggestion. On the peer review page, it has already been suggested that I expand the sources, so the section title rename will likely not be permanent as new sources are integrated in. - BanyanTree 15:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Another problem with this article is statements like "The modern history of civil wars may be divided into the pre-nineteenth century, nineteenth century to early twentieth century, and late twentieth century." Well yes they can, but they could also be divided into hundreds of other permutations. Why choose this particular division in the passive narrative voice of the article as to do so without attribution is original research? If it comes from a specific paper then those divisions have been made to support the hypothesis that the paper is presenting and it should be explained why those particular divisions have been used.

If this is a question as to if the reference at the end of that paragraph covers its entirety, the answer is that it does. Do you wish to assert that the sentence is controversial and requires a duplicate ref? I would be happy to provide one, if that's the case. If one wanted to know why this division, I would look to the sentences immediately after the one you quote: "In nineteenth century Europe, the length of civil wars fell significantly, largely due to the nature of the conflicts as battles for the power center of the state, the strength of centralized governments, and the normally quick and decisive intervention by other states to support the government. Following World War II the duration of civil wars grew past the norm of the pre-nineteenth century, largely due to weakness of the many postcolonial states and the intervention by major powers on both sides of conflict." - BanyanTree 15:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
When I see articles like this and wish to review them, I think what would the average 13 year old assume when they read this sentence, would they draw the right conclusions from it? I used the divisions, as an example because, as it is only one point of view I think that it should not be presented in the passive narrative voice of the article, because it implies it is a near universal description used by many historians, instead of divisions made to support the hypothesis of the paper presenting and it. -- This is a specific example but it holds true for many of the points presented in this article. --PBS (talk) 12:49, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Another point that was raised on this talk page but does not seem to have been addressed is why is it that some wars in the past have been labelled civil wars but others are not. Above the question of the American Revolution is raised and compared with the American Civil War. What about the 45 or the Anglo-Irish War? Were they civil wars or wars between nations? What do most historians say and has anyone published an article on why the say it? Without such analysis it is very difficult to define what is a civil war without noting that the label carries a political element which can not be reduced to a formula of so many battle deaths etc. Recently we have seen that in Iraq and whether one calls the fighting in Baghdad that seems to have caused ghettoization a civil war or an insurrection depends on the political perspective of the commentator. British forces in Afghanistan consider themselves at war, (a term that the MOD uses when they forget that to the politicians is only an insurgency [1][2]), because to recognise that it is a civil war (with NATO supporting one side) would be to give political recognition to the Taliban.

I see two points here. On the first, this article as a necessity deals in trends, general structures and broad similarities and, as far as I can tell, every actual conflict used to illustrate a point or exception in the main text is used in the cited source. (The picture captions are mine.) Frankly, I don't know the answer to the question about the wars you raise and the case of any particular war isn't particularly germane to the article, since a data point of one conflict isn't enough to draw any conclusions about the class of conflict to which it belongs. Hence, all the statistics cited in this article. The Correlates of War may have the conflicts you mention, and I'll add a relevant link if I find one, so the curious can go in and look up their pet war to see if it meets the various criteria described in this article, but I see no reason to make this article the clearing house of "civil war or not". That would require MILHIST to agree on a sitewide definition, including an intensity cutoff, and I don't see any potential payoff worth the wikidrama of that process. (If anyone feels up to it, List of civil wars would appear to the likely place to implement.) On the second point, a brief general discussion of the political sensitivities of the word, which the Foreign Affairs article used in the references explicitly discusses, would be quite useful. I'll try to find more sources to fill such a section out. - BanyanTree 15:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

An area that is not addressed in this article is the post war legal aspects. Usually if there has been a civil war then some form of general pardon is agreed to at the end the war so that actions that would be considered as crimes under civilian laws are recognised as acts of war and the perpetrators are indemnified against prosecution. These come under various names -- the one and the end of the Biafran War General Pardon was very similar to that at the end of the English Civil War (Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion) -- and take many forms see for example the clauses for prisoner release under the Good Friday Agreement. --PBS (talk) 12:53, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I came across: Emilios A. Christodoulidis & Scott Veitch. Lethe's Law: Justice, Law and Ethics in Reconciliation Hart Publishing, 2001 ISBN 1841131091, 9781841131092. p. 33 while looking for something else. Chapter III "The Legal Politics of Amnesty" which starts on page 33 might prove useful as a template for a new section on amnesty as it makes the point I made but using the Treaty of Westphalia, Indemnity and Oblivion Act, and the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 and then expands on it. --PBS (talk) 14:29, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

I admit to knowing absolutely nothing about this subject, but will see what I can turn up. Thanks for the leads.
Thank you for your comments, BanyanTree 15:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Banyan calling the section the "Causes of civil war in the Collier-Hoeffler Model" helps to clarify the article's POV. But please also see what I wrote above about presenting one paper's arguments in the passive narrative voice of the article (the finer points of the sections heading might be missed by many people. -- PBS (talk) 12:49, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
What about the second half of the page from the start of the section Duration of civil wars only one source is used, which suggests that is the "Duration of civil-Hironaka Model". -- PBS (talk) 12:49, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The two weaknesses you have focused on, limited sources and passive voice, are valid, and they are most probably linked in that I would feel the need to identify writers in the main text if I was layering ideas from different authors. The scarcity of sources in particular has been mentioned repeatedly by the editors on the peer review subpage. While it took me about six months of very casual editing using the books within reach to get the article to the current revision, hopefully the peer review comments will motivate me to work a bit quicker on a subsequent draft to address the points raised. Thank you for your comments and I hope you will be able to return to the article when it is ready for another round. BanyanTree 01:33, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

Peer review transcluded from Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Peer review/Civil war

Civil war[edit]

I have been expanding this article, off and on, for the past couple months using books on my shelf and no longer have any bright ideas on what to add. Given the extremely general nature of the topic, I have relied heavily on statistical studies, which are not usually considered gripping reading. I would appreciate, in particular, constructive criticism on if I've managed to discuss the statistics in a readable way and suggestions on what else people want to know about this type of war, though people are of course free to comment on anything they wish. Thanks, BanyanTree 02:18, 29 December 2008 (UTC)


Kudos for taking on a difficult but important topic. I encounter a lot of similar challenges when I try to do the same thing with abstract topics in video games. (Much easier to focus on a specific civil war, isn't it?) So when I put out these comments, I just want to let you know that I'm really sympathetic to how difficult it is to research an article like this.

I wouldn't say "take on" so much as "sleepwalk into", but thanks for the comments. And yes, it's far far easier to write about a specific actual conflict than about a class of conflict. - BanyanTree 09:30, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • In the definition section you jump right into what the Geneva Conventions say. There's no context. The academic definitions should probably come first. And you'll probably need a suitable heading for the other definitions: (policy definitions? legal definitions?)
    That's actually one of the few sections that largely survived after I got my grubby paws on the article. There were no academic definitions previously. I've put the academics first, cut down the other definitions and put them under "further definitions". On a second look, I couldn't figure out why the article needed an indepth discussion of things that were not but are related to civil war, and might just end up cutting that entire "further" section later. - BanyanTree 09:30, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • In the "causes" section, you put a LOT of weight onto Collier, Hoeffler and Sambanis. Even if they're pretty reliable themselves, I don't think this will be enough to provide a comprehensive look at the causes. You could really use a wider number of sources to either confirm or criticize these viewpoints. Your goal should be to get away from attribution to any one single source, and instead achieve a WP:NPOV from no perspective in particular.
    That's very true. Hopefully I, or someone else, will get around to the one redlink I insist on keeping in the article (despite attempts to at least one editor to 'fix' the redlink by delinking it), "greed versus grievance", which is generally how the two broad schools of civil war scholarship divide. The Collier-Hoeffler model, considered a massive assault by the "greed" school, has certainly been the focus of much of the debate, with many of the "grievance" folks reduced to the rearguard action of insisting that identity issues form the basis of civil wars but are too complicated to be measured by statistics. (I've actually read wider than the sources I used, but found these to have the most explanatory power, so I guess the minor role grievance explanation play in this article is my POV.) - BanyanTree 09:30, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Even the other sections, for such an important topic, you could draw on a wider number of sources. I'm almost 100% sure that academics debate what is or isn't a civil war, and I'd really like to know where the debate usually ends up. I imagine there's less room for POV in merely summarizing the timing of several civil wars. But even here, there's some potentially controversial ideas when it comes to correlating civil wars with the cold war -- and it might help to have other sources confirm or elaborate on these ideas.
    All good points. I will try to cast my net wider. There actually doesn't appear to be a lot of disagreement on a the number cutoff, probably because scholars can simply preface their work with "I'm using the 1000 casualties total criterion" or "I'm only counting 100 casualty per year conflicts where the rebel leader was left-handed" rather than coordinating a shared definition like us poor Wikipedia editors. The end of the Cold War situation is quite humorous in that it is quite clear from recent scholarship that the Cold War resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of civil wars over the next decade or so. Nevertheless, many war scholars at the end of the Cold War, who apparently had been entirely focused on superpower conflict and now needed to find something else to do to earn a salary, had missed the steady buildup of ongoing civil wars over the previous decades and published widely disseminated and quoted works concluding that the end of the Cold War had caused the abnormally large number of observed civil wars. The more difficult argument is the one that Hironaka suggest by measuring explicit correlation between superpower/communist involvement and increased length. I'll see what I can dig up and add. - BanyanTree 09:30, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I might like to know more about civil wars before the 19th century. (Or, if these wars weren't generally called civil wars, it would be important to clarify why. I'm not a historian, but if they generally don't classify the Roman civil wars as such, then it might be because of the lack of Nationalism.)
    Yeah, the argument over if pre-nationalism states can be credibly compared with modern states been a major problem in political science, not just with this field of study. Also academics have only recently begun looking at the "ecology" of civil wars and how they are similar; previously most scholarly work took the shape of a study of a particular civil war and all of its peculiarities that made it different from every other war. The major problem with the sort of statistical studies that these "ecology" studies rely on is the lack of data once you get back into even the beginning of the 20th century, e.g. demographics from census takers of the size of ethnic minority groups, accurate measures of miles of railroad track per capita (used as a proxy for government strength), etc. Several of the measures that Hironaka used for post-WWII wars simply aren't available for the earlier wars she discusses, and are omitted. Nevertheless, I'm sure someone has taken a stab at it and I'll see what I can find. - BanyanTree 09:30, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Otherwise, the article is generally well-written and clear. The statistics are incorporated in a pretty readable way. I think you might go into too much detail at some points, but that's the kind of thing that comes from researching a wider variety of sources. They'll quickly show you what the major points are.

Research, research, research. Randomran (talk) 04:19, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments. It'll take me a while to work on your suggestions but I hope you'll have a chance to go back over the article when I feel it's ready for another round of review. - BanyanTree 09:30, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good. I mostly stick to WP:VG, but before I ended up there I used to poke in and around some historical and political articles. Feel free to seek me out directly whenever you're ready for the next round of review. Randomran (talk) 15:37, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Patar knight[edit]

Alright, this is my first peer review, so don't complain about it. :p A couple of points

Wait, I thought the whole point of Wikipedia was to provide a forum for people to complain about every possible topic. Oh yeah, and also something to do with an encyclopedia.  ;) - BanyanTree 23:56, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
But of course, why else do we so many articles with criticism sections? And all those edit wars, and talk pages to argue on. In fact, one of our core policies, Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, seems to be the very recipe for anarchy! Indeed, this is no encyclopedia. ;) --Patar knight - chat/contributions 03:18, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • The greed versus grievance link in the introduction really stands out. Perhaps it'll be better to just remove it?
    I notice more recent editors tends to share this view. I see redlinks as invitations, and an article without redlinks to be rather melancholic, as there's no avenue for sudden expansion into new related topics. I have and continue to strongly defend that redlink, in the expectation that either I or someone else take up the invitation. - BanyanTree 23:56, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
    Okay, seems reasonable. It just really stands out. But hey, if that results in a new article, everyone wins. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 03:18, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • All the pictures line up on the right-hand of the page, making it seem visually unbalanced. Some of them could probably be moved to the left hand side without a problem.
    I'll experiment and see how it looks staggered. - BanyanTree 23:56, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
    'Kay. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 03:18, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • 25 out of the 41 inline citations refer to Hironoka, and another 9 point towards Collier, Hoeffler and Sambanis, while one inline citation points to both of them, bringing the total to 35/41 inline citations being attributed to two sources. However, in your bibliography, there are far more sources, so this shouldn't be hard to fix.
    Actually, the bibliography was added before I started working on the article, though there's little evidence that the sources listed were actually used in the article. I have a feeling someone just copied a bibliography from somewhere. One of the recurring critiques I'm hearing is about the lack of diversity in sources and I'll certainly make that a priority. - BanyanTree 23:56, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
    That would explain it. It would be unusual for someone to leave the task half-done, with all of those sources available. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 03:18, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

That's all I have to say for now. It's a better article than I expected from so complex a topic. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 23:09, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments. - BanyanTree 23:56, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
No problem, it was my pleasure. Thanks for not biting. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 03:18, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Is there only the Collier-Hoeffler model and must one party be always the state? Wandalstouring (talk) 09:59, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
    No, the Collier-Hoeffler model changed the way people approached the subject because nobody seems to have done a massive statistical study to examine the causes of civil wars before. As such, there are many many scholars who have built on the C-H framework to refine or modify its conclusions. Alternately, those who hold that grievance better explains the cause of civil wars, in particular those who hold that ethnic conflict is both fundamentally different from and worse than other types of conflict, have been busy trying to blow holes in the C-H model or find proxy measures that would prove their point through the C-H framework. While I've been expecting a need for greed versus grievance, it may be worth creating Collier-Hoeffler Model as well. In any case, this points to the need for more sources so readers can see the back and forth.
    The Geneva Convention Protocol II on Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts mentions "the territory of a High Contracting Party between its armed forces", while Hironaka's definition, which I've used in the lede, requires the state as a belligerent. However, the Geneva Conventions were written for states that would sign on, and Hironaka spends a long time pointing out that the whole idea that all of the ex-colonial states are the same structurally as the older states is absurd. That said, even in a collapsed state like Somalia, there are still centers of power that claim that they are legitimate. (Tangentially, one could imagine that the 'autonomous regions' described in Consolidation of states within Somalia (1998–2006) would have been relatively quickly seen as legitimate states in an international system like that of 18th century Europe.) James Fearon, whose definition I use to lead off the definition section, doesn't mention a state at all, which may be more intuitive for people, as several people have tried to change the lead to make it more general.
    Thanks for the comment. - BanyanTree 02:25, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Re: Dr pda's edit summary here[edit]

[3] It was promoted with no review in 2006. —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 07:19, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

OK, so it was rated GA-class by the MILHIST WikiProject, rather than being a WP:Good article. Dr pda (talk) 09:43, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

first sentance is incorrect definition.[edit]

"A civil war is a war between organized groups to take control of a nation or region, or to change government policies" This is not the definition of A civil war. This could explain so many other things, but not A civil war, for a civil war is a war inside a nation, usually derived from a side either trying to leave or insert a new type of coontrol in a nation. Since I cant edit I would hope that somebody who can would edit it( and put a better explaination than I did.) Mindwarper06 (talk) 01:20, 9 April 2009 (UTC)Chris Ray (mindwarper06)

Note that sentence is referenced to an article in Foreign Affairs, and cannot be changed without a reference of equal or better credibility. See #First sentence above for more discussion on the lede. - BanyanTree 01:36, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Looking at a Dictionary for Better Credibility[edit]

American Heritage Dictionary: civil war, noun: a war between factions or regions of the same country. Oxford American Dictionary: civil war, noun: a war between citizens of the same country. These are commonly accepted definitions of a civil war--and they are actually more exact than the imprecise sentence that has caused so much controversy here; stunningly, this sentence makes no reference to a civil war's necessity of having actors who are nationals of the same nation on different sides of an internal conflict. As the introductory sentence stands, one of the "organized groups" could be just as easily an invading army of a nation looking to establish its preferred form of government on its neighbor. To say that could not be the case would be to presuppose the commonly accepted view that a civil war is amidst fellow nationals. In defining terms, such a supposition is too important to leave out. This article would be well served by having this commonly accepted definition of civil war at least entertained in the first paragraph. Yes, the first paragraph under Definition starts to define the term according to the commonly accepted definition. But even that is rather inexact--"within a country"? None of the definitions stated here deal with the real issue of civil war--it's citizens fighting against their fellow citizens: their neighbors, brothers, sisters, parents. Indeed, the Oxford American Dictionary's definition of civil war is the more exact of the two.Francis Smith (talk) 03:14, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Looks like I lost the wording specifying internal conflict in the last rephrasing in response to complaints. Feel free to replace the wording with one of your own choosing, but please add a reference since it is absolutely certain that someone will disagree and try to change it. For instance, some militants will deny that they were ever part of the "same country," regardless of what the international community says. I run into those people fairly regularly in Somali related articles, e.g. people arguing that Ogaden is not and has never been "really" part of Ethiopia, and, from what I hear, the Balkans are even worse. That said, you certainly identify a major flaw and you are welcome to attempt a better wording. Thanks, BanyanTree 04:01, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


Section "Causes of Civil War.." > "Availability of Finance" > second sentence "...has a 22% of falling into civil war..." should probably read "...has a 22% risk of falling into civil war..." FadeToGrey (talk) 22:27, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Quite right. Fixed. - BanyanTree 01:28, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Servile War[edit]

Why is there a picture of Spartacus on this page? Neither the Romans nor the slaves considered the struggle to be a civil war and I have not heard it described as such (but someone please correct me if it has been treated as such). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:33, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

I think the confusion comes in where you try the describe the class of ancient conflicts in which large organized bands of anti-government combatants controlled territory, but before the rise of romantic nationalism created the idea of the nation-state as we now think of it. It's problematic however you try to approach a definition. In any case, I have replaced the Servile War image with one of a modern civil war. - BanyanTree 10:03, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Farrapos Civil War, in Brazil[edit]

My take is that it was as "unusual" as the American civil war. It was also a war based on state/regional identities (there were also political ideologies into play, since Brazil was a Monarchy and republicans were involved in the war, but those werent the motivating factor), and, lasting 10 years (quite a long time by any standarts), it also was an war of atrition that did not end with any decisive battle, nor did it depend on the conquest of the capital (the rebels never tried nor wanted to invade Rio de Janeiro, nor did the possession of the province capital, Porto Alegre, prove to be a decisive point in the war) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:34, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

The Naxalite-Maoist insurgency‎‎[edit]

I recently added Category:Civil wars involving the states and peoples of Asia to the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency‎‎ (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) and its related category. Now this is being removed by two other editors and I think they are in the wrong. I suspect both to merely promulgate the official Indian government position since they are both apparently Indian, althoug that is not something I dare allege. From looking at the present article and comparing that with the insurgency taking place over a substantial part of the Indian subcontinent it appears convincing, to me at least, that civil war is indeed an accurate description of the conflict. Would other editors give their opinions on this issue. please? __meco (talk) 14:03, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

More than simple semantics; article misleads.[edit]

The Article says that intervention in civil wars "lengthens" the conflict, using comparative data from one civil war to the next. This is unquantifiable. It is easy to say that one conflict is longer than the other, and to quantify the disparities in length between civil wars that had intervention, but it doesn't follow that those very same civil wars would have been shorter if there was no intervention. It's impossible to quantify that because one cannot go back to exactly the same conflict at the same time under the same conditions and stop the intervention. If you were to control for number of belligerents, public opinion, etc., and compare those with the final outcome you would get closer, but it still isn't fare to say that intervention necessarily prolongs a civil war. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:38, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

"nation state"[edit]

The lead suggests that the definition of a civil war depends on whether the country in question is a nation state. This is completely unsubstantiated, either in the reference linked, or in the "definition" section of the article body. Neither of the prototypical examples of civil wars, Caesar's Civil War and the English Civil War, nor of course the American Civil War, took place in nation states. In fact, the question whether the country is a nation state is completely irrelevant. What is relevant, on the other hand, is whether one side of the conflict is republican, i.e. claims to represent the state's civil society. Thus, Caesar's Civil War spelled the end of the Roman Republic (because the republican side lost); otoh, the English Civil War introduced the "crowned republic" of the British Commonwealth, because the republican side won. The American Civil War of course also resulted in a republican victory.

This is the crucial factor which distinguishes a civil war from a mere dynastic war of succession, which also takes place within a single state, but not within a republic, but between two feudal parties.

The article misses this crucial distinction because if focusses entirely on modern civil wars taking place after 1861.

The reason why I bring this up here is the fact that the fitnas in the early Islamic Caliphate are casually identified as "civil wars", see {{Campaignbox Islamic Civil Wars}}. The Islamic caliphate was clearly neither a nation state nor a republic, it was an empire, and the fitna was a war of succession within that empire, with two parties in dispute over who should be caliph. Nothing whatsoever would justify referring to this conflict as civil.

It cannot be disputed that the term "First Islamic Civil War" has occasionally been used in print for the First Fitna, but it should be pointed out that this is a loose, colloquial use of the term that doesn't really satisfy the definition of "civil war" in a strict sense. --dab (𒁳) 12:06, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

"Taiwan"/"Cyprus" secessionist regimes[edit]

I just changed:

"Similarly, the international community has largely refused to recognize secessionist regions, while keeping some states such as Cyprus and Taiwan in diplomatic recognition limbo."

slightly to:

"Similarly, the international community has largely refused to recognize secessionist regions, while keeping some secessionist self-declared states such as Taiwan in diplomatic recognition limbo."

because the previous didn't seem to make much sense. Firstly, because just "Cyprus" rather than the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" was referred to as a secessionist regime. "State" also is not qualified when it probably isn't NPOV to refer to Taiwan as a state without some kind of qualification.

Moreover, Northern Cyprus's situation is probably not a good example compared to Taiwan, since Taiwan receives US military aid and is arguably treated as a de facto state by many other states regardless of a lack of recognition, whilst Northern Cyprus is under UN sanctions and Western embargo and officially considered occupied Republic of Cyprus territory by most states, with only Turkey recognising the TRNC. So I'm not sure if Cyprus makes much sense as an example here. Kingal86 (talk) 11:51, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Bibliography and Other Models[edit]

Breaking the Conflict Trap is incorrectly credited according to Collier had 5 co-authors: V. L Elliott, Havard Hegre, Anke Hoeffler, Marta Reynal-Querol, and Nicholas Sambanis. However, none of them are credited, even in an "et. al.". Also, the link above will take you to a free PDF of the book. The Bibliography contains no link. How can this be corrected?

Next, the primary discussion of causes is the Collier-Hoeffler model. The Trap also cited a 1989 paper presented to the Public Choice society meeting by Wayne Brough and V.L Elliott, "The Economics of Insurgency", also printed in 1999 Kimenyi & Mbaku's Institutions and Choice in Developing Countries. In the Brough-Elliott model, nations start to experience some GDP growth away from absolute poverty and either a dip in growth or develop some notion of comparative deprivation, à la Ted Gurr, or somebody starts to get greedy. At this point, enough resources exist in the economy that a group can contemplate rebellion -- the potential rebels find they have some hope of success (see: Ted Gurr, Why Men Rebel). In this model, absolute poverty a limiter on rebellions; the principle example being Haiti. In Brough-Elliott, the State and the rebel leader want to be able to either promote growth or undo development, i.e., to impoverish. The State wishes to do this on a general level. The rebel leader may be able to do it on a more local level. They demonstrated in their two pieces that as the poverty level became more intense, everybody's preferences were made more uniform by it because they had to focus on survival across the entire group. If any member of the group did not fulfill their responsibilities for group survival, a coalition of the whole would form in the group to expel the dissenter. Absolute poverty thus created extreme incentives for conformity and disincentives for innovative behavior across a wide range of activities. Successful rebellion under those conditions thus requires the kind of triggers for spontaneous action described in Timur Kuran's "Sparks & Prairie Fires", Brough & Elliott certainly informed Collier & Hoeffler as V.L Elliott was invited onto the World Bank research team for The Trap, both for his practical knowledge and his development of a historical bibliography on the subject.

Lastly, the bibliography on the page is very, very thin. A far superior chronological bibliography was assembled by V.L Elliott for the Social Science Research Council meetings for April 20-21, 2004 where they discussed Breaking the Conflict Trap and empirical studies of civil war. A copy of that bibliography can be found at That is the most complete bibliography on the subject through early 2004.

Full disclosure: V.L Elliott & I are related. We are the co-authors of Chapter 14, "The Economics of Sustaining the Peace", of Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in Post-War Societies: Sustaining the Peace, T. David Mason and James Meernik, eds., and I was an attendee at the SSRC April 2004 meeting.

ConnieElliott (talk) 06:39, 26 May 2013 (UTC)ConnieElliott


[4](Lihaas (talk) 11:22, 25 November 2013 (UTC)).

"Nation state"[edit]

I changed "nation state" in the first sentence to "state". There is an important distinction between the two (civil wars often, if not usually, are fought between different nations), and the source provided doesn't mention nation states at all. CORBAN NEEDS A SWAT

(talk) 16:50, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

"Civil War" vs "The Civil War"[edit]

I wanted to know when the Civil War was, so I typed "civil war" in the search box. It brought up this article, which doesn't mention the Civil War at all! So I typed "the civil war" instead, and that page had a helpful link to what Wikipedia apparently refers to as "American Civil War." Might it be helpful to add a helpful link like that to this article? I'd just do it myself, but I learned a long time ago that one doesn't change anything on Wikipedia without somebody getting mad at them and immediately changing it back. -- (talk) 03:40, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

What "the Civil War" refers to would depend on which country you are in, so needs to be avoided in an international encylopaedia. Cyclopaedic (talk) 23:36, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
the photo caption and meta data refer to the image in the post 1945 section as a Cadillac

Gage LAV, or similar to that, which it is not. It is a "General Dynamics Land System - Canada" LAV-25. WindyCityABBoy (talk) 19:52, 22 April 2015 (UTC) WindyCityABBoy (talk) 13:52, 22 April 2015 (MDT)

Absurd name[edit]

"Civil war" sounds like a "non-military war". Let's change the title to "domestic war" (talk) 04:41, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Doesn't make sense[edit]

" Roughly stated: are conflicts caused by who people are, whether that be defined in terms of ethnicity, religion or other social affiliation, or do conflicts begin because it is in the economic best interests of individuals and groups to start them?"

People who are what? (talk) 21:56, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Evaluation for Ling A101[edit]

For Wikki Assignment #3 I am evaluating this source on the Civil War.

The article is extremely neutral when explaining the Civil War, without siding with the Confederates or the Union. This is a very broad topic, so of course every little battle could not be included, but it does allow room to explain the Civil War as whole without leaning towards one side.

The links for each citation work and is a credible source. Obviously the Civil War is a really broad subject and there is a lot of information out there about the Civil War, so checking each source was time consuming, but worth it to know that the are reliable sources.

Cmthomas16 (talk) 20:20, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ What Is Civil War? Conceptual and Empirical Complexities of an Operational Definition Author: Nicholas Sambanis Source: The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 48, No. 6 (Dec., 2004), pp. 814-858
  2. ^ (Kalyvas 2006:17 the logic of violence in civil wars