How has warfare changed over the last 100 years?

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The essential goals of warfare have not changed, but the way wars are waged certainly have.  A hundred years ago, men marched to battle, lined up against one another, easily identifiable in their uniforms, and used weapons that, for the most part, would only work "up close and personal."  While...

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The essential goals of warfare have not changed, but the way wars are waged certainly have.  A hundred years ago, men marched to battle, lined up against one another, easily identifiable in their uniforms, and used weapons that, for the most part, would only work "up close and personal."  While there were some longer-range weapons, the cannon, for example, they were not very long range, and people who killed one another were in close proximity.  As time went on, longer-range weapons emerged, and people began to be able to kill one another from greater and greater distances. Today, the United States has the capability of decimating towns without having to have a person within a thousand miles.  When people can kill one another without seeing one another, this is an essential change in the nature of warfare.

In more recent years, we have seen the advent of more "guerilla" warfare, in which the enemy is not easily identifiable because there are no uniforms and no "front lines." Vietnam might have been the first such "modern" war.  Today, the war in Afghanistan is a good example.

Another difference, a more recent one, is the inability to identify an enemy because the enemy is not a national entity.  This is the essence of terrorism, I think.  When we are at war against another country, there are international conventions that all must at least theoretically adhere to.  There can be negotiation for peace, treaties over land.  But when the enemy comprises people from multiple countries, this is not the case, and this is a major difference that is recent.

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