Most of the wars we learned from our history classes took years and years. We learned that these are the wars that have made a huge impact in the world. They shaped the lives we lead now. But it doesn’t follow that the longer the war, the bigger an impact it will have on the world. At first glance, that will appear so. However, short or quick wars have also shaped the lives of millions of people today. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and check out the shortest wars in history.
10. Falklands War
This was a conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The war was over the name and sovereignty of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. This short war was started on the second of April, 1982. On July 14 of that same year, Argentina surrendered. The war lasted 74 days. Casualties included 257 dead British servicemen. Six hundred and forty-nine Artgentine soldiers, sailors, and airmen died in the conflict as well. On the civilian side, three residents of Falkland Islands perished.
9. Polish-Lithuanian War
This was a war between Lithuania and Poland after the First World War. Historical records of involved parties do not agree on the exact dates of the beginning and end of the war but it is widely accepted that the Polish-Lithuanian War is one of the shortest in history. The conflict was over territory as well. Both parties wanted control over the Vilnius region. Years after the said war was “settled” there were still disputes over the territory.
8. Second Balkan War
During the First Balkan War, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece were allies. During the aftermath, Bulgaria was not happy with their share of the spoils of the First Balkan War. The result: the second Balkan War with Bulgaria going against Serbia and Greece. This started on June 16, 1913 and ended on July 18, 1913. Despite the short period, there was much casualties from all parties involved. With the creation of the Treaty of Bucharest and the Treaty of Constantinople, the division of the territories was finally settled.
7. Greco-Turkish War
Beating the Second Balkan War by only 2 days, this short war is also called the Thirty Days War. In Greece, it is also referred to as the Black ’97. The cause of the war was the status of Crete, a part of the Ottoman Empire then. The residents of Crete wanted to be integrated with Greece and rebelled. A decision was made that gave the Crete province autonomous rule but this did not sit well with Greece. They invaded Macedonia but they were eventually defeated. Thousands of lives perished in the war.
6. Sino-Vietnamese War
Also known as the Third Indochina War, the Sino-Vietnamese War lasted only 27 days. The fighting took place in less than a month but many lives were lost in the process. Up to 26,000 Chinese and around 20,000 Vietnamese soldiers were killed in this 27-day war. There was also considerable losses on the side of the civilians. The cause of the war was Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in order to take down the Khmer Rouge. The latter had China’s support, however, and the bigger country attacked Vietnam in return. Both parties claim that they won the war.
5. Georgian–Armenian War
The Ottoman forces occupied areas along the border of Georgia and Armenia during the First World War. When they left, Goergia and Amenia went into war over the territory. This conflict lasted 24 days. The war ended with the help of Britain. Both sides ruled the border jointly until 1920. This was the year when Armenia fell under the Soviet rule. The war started on the third of December, 1918 and ended on December 31, just before the new year.
4. Serbo-Bulgarian War
This is another classic case of border dispute coupled with parties being told what empire to side with. This war lasted only 14 days and started when Bulgaria united with an area controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Serbia was not happy that Bulgaria was granting asylum to leaders of their enemies. On November 14, 1885, war between the two nations broke out. This ended14 days later with Bulgaria claiming victory. Around 1500 were killed from both parties. Several thousands more were wounded during the conflict.
3. Indo-Pakistani War
This war took place between December 3 and 16 in 1971. The conflict was a result of the relocation of millions of Eastern Pakistani refugees to India. They had to move to neighboring India because they were being controlled by West Pakistani forces. This was because Eastern Pakistan did well in the 1970 Pakistani Election. West Pakistani forces were not happy that India opened its borders to the refugees; hence, the war. India won, however, with Pakistani forces surrendering. A ceasefire was also negotiated in the Western front of the conflict.
2. June War or Six-Day War
Also called the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, this was fought between June 5 and June 10 in 1967. This is a war with ripples in global scale. This ripples can still be felt to this very day. After the Suez Crisis in 1956, many nations experienced conflicts with Israel. Many political moves and formation of defense agreements took place. Israel declared war with a surprise air strike on Egypt. Heavy fighting took place for 6 days and Israel came out the victor in the end. For this reason, they took over the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Until today, there are still conflicts over territory in these areas.
1. Anglo-Zanzibar War
The winner of the shortest war in history is the Anglo-Zanzibar War. The war lasted approximately 40 minutes. The death of a pro-British sultan was the immediate cause of the conflict. The next sultan was not supportive of British interests and this did not sit well with the latter. The new sultan was given an ultimatum but he refused to leave his palace. At 9:02 on August 27, 1896, the palace was set on fire. The royal yacht was attacked and sank. At 9:40 that same night, the palace flag was shot down. That basically ended the war. A new pro-British sultan then took over the palace.