What are the three main causes of war?

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One possible factor you might like to consider is the innate capacity of human beings for conflict. The human animal is possessed of a strong territorial instinct, no less than other animals such as lions, tigers, and bears. Though humans are unique in that they possess the power of reason, they're still motivated to a considerable extent by a primordial imperative to defend territory, if necessary by force.

That's not say that war is inevitable, but it does mean that some kind of conflict, however small scale, is bound to happen at some point. Man's territorial imperative ensures that conflict is never far away. However, war always arises out of choices, and it is here that man's innate capacity for reasoned deliberation comes into the picture. But all too often throughout human history, man's reason has been used, not to avoid conflict, but to achieve the quickest, most crushing victory possible, mainly through the development of advanced military technology.

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The "security dilemma"—a term coined by the American academic John Herz—is usually identified as the underlying cause of most major wars. According to it, when one state develops defensive weaponry for its own protection, a neighboring state will need to respond with a similar military build-up to guarantee strategic balance. This will inspire the first state to react with additional militarization and so forth until an arms race is underway.

Eventually, one of the two states will be unable to sustain the arms race. It will then be left with a choice: stop participating in the arms race and see its neighbor build-up an insurmountable lead until it eventually attacks it, or preemptively attack its neighbor before an insurmountable lead can be achieved. States will always choose the second option, leading to war.

Other causes of war include territorial acquisition due to resource scarcity, and the spreading of a political or religious ideology to a nation that is not receptive to it.

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There are several causes of war. They often can be narrowed down to economic, political, and military factors.

Various economic factors often lead to war. In 1898, the United States wanted to become a world power. We wanted to control lands beyond our borders. This would help us economically by giving us more trade and access to resources. Thus, we went to war against Spain in 1898. We fought against the British in 1776, in part, because they were taxing us without our consent. Germany began preparing for World War II, in part, because of the economic depression they had. People were looking for a strong leader who would lead Germany out the depression.

Political factors may also lead to war. When countries are struggling because of economic issues, nationalistic issues, or the oppression of people, people look to change the government. Many Latin American countries were tired of being oppressed by the Spanish and fought for their independence. The Texans fought against Mexico because they felt their freedoms were being violated. The Italians and Germans both felt they had been wronged by the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Both Mussolini and Hitler viewed this as a slap in the face to Italian and German pride. They believed revenge was needed. The movement to overthrow Communist governments in the 1980s and the early 1990s was related to people being tired of not having freedoms, both economic and political. This led to conflict and revolution.

When countries begin to build up their military, this may lead to war. In the early 1900s, many countries built up their army and/or navy. There usually is a purpose for building up the military. Countries build up their military because they plan to use it or because they think they will be attacked by another country. This was one of the causes of World War I. There are many reasons why war occurs.

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