War is an organized, armed, and often a prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and therefore is defined as a form of political violence. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of war (and other violence) is often called "peace."

In the 1832 treatise On War, Prussian military general and theoretician Carl von Clausewitz defined war as follows: "War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will."

While some scholars see warfare as an inescapable and integral aspect of human culture, others argue that it is only inevitable under certain socio-cultural or ecological circumstances. Some scholars argue that the practice of war is not linked to any single type of political organization or society. Rather, as discussed by John Keegan in his History of Warfare, war is a universal phenomenon whose form and scope is defined by the society that wages it. Another argument suggests that since there are human societies in which warfare does not exist, humans may not be naturally disposed for warfare, which emerges under particular circumstances. The ever changing technologies and potentials of war extend along a historical continuum. At the one end lies the endemic warfare of the Paleolithic with its stones and clubs, and the naturally limited loss of life associated with the use of such weapons. Found at the other end of this continuum is nuclear warfare, along with the recently developed possible outcome of its use, namely the potential risk of the complete extinction of the human species.

Steven Pinker, in his 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined presents a compelling case that violence in the world has declined both in the long run and in the short.

Other definitions of war

"The continuation of state policy with other means." — Karl Von Clauswitz
"A simplistic and violent response to complexity."
"The legalized slaughter of virile youth by jealous old people." - Medard Gabel
"A process that makes the victor stupid and the vanquished malicious." - Fredrich Nietzsche
"The greatest of evils." - Herman Melville
"The inhuman use of force for illegal ends justified by lies told by sociopaths to rationalize the slaughter of the innocent for the private gain of the few."

Civil Wars

A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly united nation state. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change government policies. The term is a calque of the Latin bellum civile which was used to refer to the various civil wars of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC.
A civil war is a high-intensity conflict, often involving regular armed forces, that is sustained, organized and large-scale. Civil wars may result in large numbers of casualties and the consumption of significant resources.

Civil wars since the end of World War II have lasted on average just over four years, a dramatic rise from the one-and-a-half year average of the 1900-1944 period. While the rate of emergence of new civil wars has been relatively steady since the mid-19th century, the increasing length of those wars resulted in increasing numbers of wars ongoing at any one time. For example, there were no more than five civil wars underway simultaneously in the first half of the 20th century, while over 20 concurrent civil wars were occurring at the end of the Cold War, before a significant decrease as conflicts strongly associated with the superpower rivalry came to an end. Since 1945, civil wars have resulted in the deaths of over 25 million people, as well as the forced displacement of millions more. Civil wars have further resulted in economic collapse; Burma (Myanmar), Uganda and Angola are examples of nations that were considered to have promising futures before being engulfed in civil wars.

For complete article on "War", with sources and references, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War
Also see: http://www.bigpicturesmallworld.com/movies/winningpeace.html
For complete article on "Civil War", with sources and references, see: