History Main / SillyReasonForWar

11th Jun '17 5:33:55 AM Morgenthaler
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* Invoked on the first page of ''GoneWithTheBlastwave'', as part of establishing the setting. The protagonists are fighting a war. But all the land is ruined, money is useless since there's nothing left to spend it on, and it's not about religion... so, why do they fight? [[spoiler: To win the war.]]

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* Invoked on the first page of ''GoneWithTheBlastwave'', ''Webcomic/GoneWithTheBlastwave'', as part of establishing the setting. The protagonists are fighting a war. But all the land is ruined, money is useless since there's nothing left to spend it on, and it's not about religion... so, why do they fight? [[spoiler: To win the war.]]
9th Jun '17 4:26:46 AM outlander2012
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** Once (thanks to meddling with the past) that war is resolved, the three former aethiest groups promptly ally to go to war with the "French-Chinese" over who owns Hawaii.
8th Jun '17 11:07:15 PM Madrugada
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Note: While many of these wars were ''triggered'' by ridiculous things, they are often the culmination of larger tensions between two enemy states that may go back for generations.[[note]]The same happens in weird news stories, too. While the headline "Wife murders husband for forgetting her birthday" may sound ridiculous, it's usually just a case of TheLastStraw the news story doesn't cover.[[/note]]

* Whilst the reasons for the WarOf1812 were not especially silly in and of themselves, what makes it silly is that the British had actually ended the trade practices and policies of impressment that caused the war in the first place. Unfortunately, news traveled slowly back then, and by the time the good news reached America, they had already invaded Canada and destroyed any chance for peace.
** Of course the reasons given by the Americans were actually mostly an excuse, as largely Southern politicians were looking for what they thought would be trivial and easy territorial expansion (famously stated as "A mere matter of marching"--it wasn't). Ironically, one of the legitimate American complaints, that the British were arming native groups opposing the westward expansion of settlers out of the new United States, almost never gets mentioned these days, possibly due to modern sentiments that the Indians were justly trying to protect themselves.
*** One thing making this whole exercise even sillier was that there were bits of Canada for which conquest might well have ended up "a mere matter of marching," namely Lower Canada (i.e. Quebec)...but the Americans never actually bothered with that, because that would entail marching through and getting supplies from New York State and New England, where the people were anti-war Federalists. The hawks were mostly Democrats, and were afraid the locals would sabotage the effort, so they kept trying (and failing) to attack across Lake Erie from more sympathetic Ohio and Michigan.

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Note: While many of these wars were ''triggered'' by ridiculous things, they are often the culmination of larger tensions between two enemy states that may go back for generations.[[note]]The same happens in weird news stories, too. While the headline "Wife murders husband for forgetting her birthday" may sound ridiculous, it's usually just a case of TheLastStraw the news story doesn't cover.[[/note]]

* Whilst the reasons for the WarOf1812 were not especially silly in and of themselves, what makes it silly is that the British had actually ended the trade practices and policies of impressment that caused the war in the first place. Unfortunately, news traveled slowly back then, and by the time the good news reached America, they had already invaded Canada and destroyed any chance for peace.
** Of course the reasons given by the Americans were actually mostly an excuse, as largely Southern politicians were looking for what they thought would be trivial and easy territorial expansion (famously stated as "A mere matter of marching"--it wasn't). Ironically, one of the legitimate American complaints, that the British were arming native groups opposing the westward expansion of settlers out of the new United States, almost never gets mentioned these days, possibly due to modern sentiments that the Indians were justly trying to protect themselves.
*** One thing making this whole exercise even sillier was that there were bits of Canada for which conquest might well have ended up "a mere matter of marching," namely Lower Canada (i.e. Quebec)...but the Americans never actually bothered with that, because that would entail marching through and getting supplies from New York State and New England, where the people were anti-war Federalists. The hawks were mostly Democrats, and were afraid the locals would sabotage the effort, so they kept trying (and failing) to attack across Lake Erie from more sympathetic Ohio and Michigan.
generations.



* Whilst the degree of collateral damage rarely approaches the same level as the above two examples, team sports in general count as a pretty silly reason for mass riots. Usually subverted in practice, however, as the game's outcome is merely a [[PretextForWar pretext]] for violence mostly fueled by MisplacedNationalism and/or historical bad blood; Glasgow-based football teams Rangers and Celtic are a famous example of the latter, having become the focal point of the city's longstanding sectarian tensions.



* Though not a war, exactly, the violent Hatfield-[=McCoy=] feud, which lasted over ten years and caused a number of deaths, is popularly believed to have started over ownership of a hog. However, the families did not like each other even before then and while significant, the Pig Incident was just one of the many disputes between the two clans. The feud proper started after three [=McCoy=] brothers shot dead Anse Hatfield's brother in a drunken brawl and Anse then summarily executed them.
** Keep in mind, the whole affair escalated to the point where West Virginia and Kentucky were seriously considering declaring war on each other. People following the story believed that the whole feud would start a second Civil War.
* Although the Battle of Gettysburg was part of a much larger and more important war, it bares mentioning that the battle had the largest casualties of the war and remains the bloodiest single battle in the New World. It is often seen as a turning point in the American Civil War. It was started over shoes.
* The American Revolution is popularly started by "the shot heard round the world". To this day, no one knows who fired the first shot, but the result was both the local Militia and the British Armies were spooked and began firing on each other, both believing that the other side had fired. Thus began a war that would give birth to the United States of America. Subverted in that while no one knows who started it, everyone knew why the face off was occurring.



* In 1900, in what is now Ghana, a war broke out between the British and Ashanti Empires over a golden stool. To the Ashanti, the golden stool was an object of immense cultural and spiritual significance, representing the souls of all Ashanti, dead, living, and unborn. The British governor, Frederick Hodgson, was unaware of this, believing it was simply a throne, and rather unfortunately demanded the Ashanti hand it over so that he could sit on it. The result: the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Golden_Stool War of the Golden Stool]]--3,000 deaths, the dissolution of the Ashanti Empire, and the British never found the stool. The Ashanti to this day consider it a win, since their objective has been fulfilled--no Brit sat on it.
** In fact, the Ashanti would have been happy, since they had already been defeated by the British in another war, for ''Queen Victoria'' to sit on the stool, seeing as she was ruler of the British Empire and someone they saw as an equal and victor. Hodgson? Not so much...

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* In 1900, in what is now Ghana, a war broke out between the British and Ashanti Empires over a golden stool. To the Ashanti, the golden stool was an object of immense cultural and spiritual significance, representing the souls of all Ashanti, dead, living, and unborn. The British governor, Frederick Hodgson, was unaware of this, believing it was simply a throne, and rather unfortunately demanded the Ashanti hand it over so that he could sit on it. The result: the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Golden_Stool War of the Golden Stool]]--3,000 deaths, the dissolution of the Ashanti Empire, and the British never found the stool. The Ashanti to this day consider it a win, since their objective has been fulfilled--no Brit fulfilled--Hodgson never sat on it.
**
it. In fact, the Ashanti would have been happy, since they had already been defeated by the British in another war, for ''Queen Victoria'' to sit on the stool, seeing as she was ruler of the British Empire and someone they saw as an equal and victor. Hodgson? Not so much...



** This came back to bite the Aztecs hard -- their neighbors had long memories, and when the Spanish made it clear they were willing to beat down the Aztecs, everyone around them basically said, "You know what? We don't like them, either. Let's be friends!"
* Website/{{Cracked}} has a list of [[http://www.cracked.com/article_17123_the-5-most-retarded-wars-ever-fought.html the five most retarded wars ever fought.]]

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* Website/{{Cracked}}
** This came back to bite the Aztecs hard -- their neighbors had long memories, and when the Spanish made it clear they were willing to beat down the Aztecs, everyone around them basically said, "You know what? We don't like them, either. Let's be friends!"
* Website/{{Cracked}} has a
A list of [[http://www.cracked.com/article_17123_the-5-most-retarded-wars-ever-fought.html the five most retarded wars ever fought.]]



** Let's stress the fact that the main reason Paraguay and Bolivia had a conflict over Chaco in the first place was because they had been told that the area was likely rich in oil fields by rival oil firms aiming to exploit it. After the war, [[AllForNothing it turned out it wasn't.]]



* In 1976, Operation [[MeaningfulName Paul Bunyan]] was started because two US Army officers were killed. This operation included two eight man tree trimming squads backed up by three platoons of soldiers with a supporting company waiting in helicopters. This was further backed up by major air support including an aircraft carrier. The reason? They were chopping down a tree in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Granted, South Korea and North Korea had quite a lot of tension between them, this was supposedly a scheduled trimming. Note that the high level of military force was intended as a deterrent to prevent a more serious conflict from erupting.
** This wasn't quite as silly as it initially seems. A previous work detail had been sent out to chop down the tree, which was blocking the view of a South Korean observation post, when they were attacked by DPRK troops. The massive show of force was basically to dare the North Koreans to mess with them a second time.
** And, the first detail was hacked to death by North Koreans, so Operation Paul Bunyon was less about over-kill for security in trimming a tree as it was about protecting the lives of the men sent to trim the tree after two men were killed.
** As the large convoy of armed men entered the DMZ and hundreds of thousands of troops in the area placed on high alert (with hundreds of planes in the air, including B-52's from Guam), the North Koreans were notified that a UN work party had entered the JSA [[{{Understatement}} "in order to peacefully finish the work left unfinished"]] a few days before, when the first work detail was attacked by North Koreans and several of its members killed.
* The War of Jenkins' Ear (1739-1748): Britain was looking for an excuse to go to war with Spain, and someone eventually pointed out that ''eight years earlier'', Spanish coast guards had boarded an English ship, captained by the aforementioned Jenkins, and cut off his ear. Parliament was duly outraged and war was declared. (The war was eventually subsumed in the UsefulNotes/WarOfTheAustrianSuccession, an all-European conflict that began when Prussia invaded Austrian Silesia in 1740).
** To further highlight the pointlessness of the conflict, there's even considerable doubt about whether or not some guy named Jenkins really lost an ear that way in the first place.
* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Dog Tax War]], the last of the Maori wars fought in 1898. The Hokianga County Council in New Zealand introduced a tax of 2/6d on dogs, the local Maori rose in armed protest and a short military campaign was fought. The war was bloodless and the upshot was the dog tax stayed.

to:

* In 1976, Operation [[MeaningfulName Paul Bunyan]] was started because two US Army officers were killed. This operation included two eight man tree trimming eight-man tree-trimming squads backed up by three platoons of soldiers with a supporting company waiting in helicopters. This was further backed up by major air support including an aircraft carrier. The reason? They were chopping down a tree in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Granted, South Korea and North Korea had quite a lot of tension between them, this was supposedly a scheduled trimming. Note that the high level of military force was intended as a deterrent to prevent a more serious conflict from erupting.
**
erupting. This wasn't quite as silly as it initially seems. A previous work detail of two men and no back-up had been sent out to chop down the tree, which was blocking the view of a South Korean observation post, when they were attacked and killed by DPRK troops. The massive show of force was to both protect the tree-trimmers and to basically to dare ''dare'' the North Koreans to mess with them a second time.
** And, the first detail was hacked to death by North Koreans, so Operation Paul Bunyon was less about over-kill for security in trimming a tree as it was about protecting the lives of the men sent to trim the tree after two men were killed.
** As the large convoy of armed men entered the DMZ and hundreds of thousands of troops in the area placed on high alert (with hundreds of planes in the air, including B-52's from Guam), the North Koreans were notified that a UN work party had entered the JSA [[{{Understatement}} "in order to peacefully finish the work left unfinished"]] a few days before, when the first work detail was attacked by North Koreans and several of its members killed.
* The War of Jenkins' Ear (1739-1748): Britain was looking for an excuse to go to war with Spain, and someone eventually pointed out that ''eight years earlier'', Spanish coast guards had boarded an English ship, captained by the aforementioned Jenkins, and cut off his ear. Parliament was duly outraged and war was declared. (The war was eventually subsumed in the UsefulNotes/WarOfTheAustrianSuccession, an all-European conflict that began when Prussia invaded Austrian Silesia in 1740).
**
1740). To further highlight the pointlessness of the conflict, there's even considerable doubt about whether or not some guy named Jenkins really lost an ear that way in the first place.
* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Dog Tax War]], War, the last of the Maori wars fought in 1898. The Hokianga County Council in New Zealand introduced a tax of 2/6d on dogs, the local Maori rose in armed protest and a short military campaign was fought. The war was bloodless and the upshot was the dog tax stayed.



** Interestingly enough, both the Prussian king and the French emperor Napoleon III (nephew of the first) realized it was a really silly pretext for war and were slowly backing down, but Bismarck, who wanted a war to kickstart the German unification, published part of their messages, enflaming German public opinion over the perceived harsh language (thanks to Bismarck's cautious editing of what got published). That in turn enflamed ''French'' public opinion because they thought it was a perfectly legitimate request (even though France had had no problems prevailing when the Habsburgs had ruled over Germany and Spain at the same time), who forced the government to declare war. Napoleon III is recalled complaining about this a few days before he had to sign the declaration.
*** Speaking of Bismarck - "Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal ... A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all ... I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where ... [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI Some damned silly thing in the Balkans will set it off]]".
* Not one yet, but the current Senkaku/Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai/Pinnacle (Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese and English name respectively), has become a point of contention between Japan and the People's Republic of China ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Taiwan]]). Granted, much of it has to do with the rise of [[PatrioticFervor nationalism]] and current political disputes since [[UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar World War II.]]

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** Interestingly enough, both ::Both the Prussian king and the French emperor Napoleon III (nephew of the first) realized it was a really silly pretext for war and were slowly backing down, but Bismarck, who wanted a war to kickstart the German unification, published part of their messages, enflaming German public opinion over the perceived harsh language (thanks to Bismarck's cautious editing of what got published). That in turn enflamed ''French'' public opinion because they thought it was a perfectly legitimate request (even though France had had no problems prevailing when the Habsburgs had ruled over Germany and Spain at the same time), who forced the government to declare war. Napoleon III is recalled complaining about this a few days before he had to sign the declaration.
*** Speaking of * Otto von Bismarck - "Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal ... A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all ... I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where ... [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI Some damned silly thing in the Balkans will set it off]]".
* Not one yet, but the current Senkaku/Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai/Pinnacle (Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese and English name respectively), has become a point of contention between Japan and the People's Republic of China ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Taiwan]]). Granted, much of it has to do with the rise of [[PatrioticFervor nationalism]] and current political disputes since [[UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar World War II.]]
off]]".



* Once upon a time, a group of jobless Italic mercenaries called the Mamertines took over the city of Messina and started raiding the city-states of Sicily from there. The Syracusan retaliation escalated in ''[[PunicWars over sixty years of war between the Western Mediterranean superpowers of Rome and Carthage, with the Romans later deciding to wipe out Carthage to prevent its return as a major power]]. To make this worse, nobody has any idea of what happened to the Mamertines after they involved Rome and Carthage.
* During the mid-to-late 19th century, wars were fought between ''railroads'' in the United States over who would build on the right-of-way.
8th Jun '17 1:04:24 PM hszmv1
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** Keep in mind, the whole affair escalated to the point where West Virginia and Kentucky were seriously considering declaring war on each other. People following the story believed that the whole feud would start a second Civil War.
* Although the Battle of Gettysburg was part of a much larger and more important war, it bares mentioning that the battle had the largest casualties of the war and remains the bloodiest single battle in the New World. It is often seen as a turning point in the American Civil War. It was started over shoes.
* The American Revolution is popularly started by "the shot heard round the world". To this day, no one knows who fired the first shot, but the result was both the local Militia and the British Armies were spooked and began firing on each other, both believing that the other side had fired. Thus began a war that would give birth to the United States of America. Subverted in that while no one knows who started it, everyone knew why the face off was occurring.
11th May '17 3:31:29 PM Amahn
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** One Treehouse of Horror episode has France declare war on and nuke Springfield just because Mayor Quimby said that French people look like frogs. (Which they did in the episode. When they laughed their necks swelled up like a bullfrog.)
5th May '17 2:57:20 AM Cryoclaste
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* While we're on the topic of ''{{Pokemon}}'', let's not even get into the idiocy that is the Team Magma / Team Aqua war as seen in ''VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire'', its UpdatedRerelease ''Pokemon Emerald'', and its remakes ''Alpha Sapphire'' and ''Omega Ruby''. One side wants to dry up all the oceans because more land is good for Pokemon. The other wants to flood the entire landmass because more water is good for Pokemon. The result? Either the sun turns baking hot, the rain falls uncontrollably, or you get ''both'' ridiculous weather conditions alternating rapidly back and forth. No matter what happens the entire Hoenn region is almost rendered unlivable for both Pokemon and humans alike if not for the timely intervention of our heroes.

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* While we're on the topic of ''{{Pokemon}}'', ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'', let's not even get into the idiocy that is the Team Magma / Team Aqua war as seen in ''VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire'', its UpdatedRerelease ''Pokemon Emerald'', and its remakes ''Alpha Sapphire'' and ''Omega Ruby''. One side wants to dry up all the oceans because more land is good for Pokemon. The other wants to flood the entire landmass because more water is good for Pokemon. The result? Either the sun turns baking hot, the rain falls uncontrollably, or you get ''both'' ridiculous weather conditions alternating rapidly back and forth. No matter what happens the entire Hoenn region is almost rendered unlivable for both Pokemon and humans alike if not for the timely intervention of our heroes.
30th Apr '17 12:37:49 PM nombretomado
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** Something similar happens in the ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar: Dark Crusade'' campaign - both General Alexander's 1st Kronus Regiment and Brother-Captain Thule of the BloodRavens 4th Company are trying to liberate the planet Kronus for the Imperium. The problem is that Alexander refused Thule's order to evacuate his men (because the Blood Ravens are also after some chapter relics they want to keep secret), so the two end up clashing, which canonically ends with Alexander's retreat and Thule ordering the surviving Guardsmen shipped off to Segmentum command, with his compliments for following their orders. This move did not endear the Blood Ravens to Imperial Bureaucracy, coupled with their penchant for secrecy some organizations went so far as to call them heretics.

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** Something similar happens in the ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar: Dark Crusade'' campaign - both General Alexander's 1st Kronus Regiment and Brother-Captain Thule of the BloodRavens Literature/BloodRavens 4th Company are trying to liberate the planet Kronus for the Imperium. The problem is that Alexander refused Thule's order to evacuate his men (because the Blood Ravens are also after some chapter relics they want to keep secret), so the two end up clashing, which canonically ends with Alexander's retreat and Thule ordering the surviving Guardsmen shipped off to Segmentum command, with his compliments for following their orders. This move did not endear the Blood Ravens to Imperial Bureaucracy, coupled with their penchant for secrecy some organizations went so far as to call them heretics.
27th Apr '17 1:40:18 PM VanHohenheimOfXerxes
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* The East Coast/West Coast HipHop feud, fought in the United States over genres of rap music. Music/TheNotoriousBIG (representing the East Coast) and Music/TupacShakur (representing the West Coast) were both assassinated during this conflict.

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* The East Coast/West Coast HipHop feud, fought in the United States over genres regional variants of rap music. Music/TheNotoriousBIG (representing the East Coast) and Music/TupacShakur (representing the West Coast) were both assassinated during this conflict.
5th Mar '17 9:50:30 AM Sonofstranger
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* In ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth'', the Kingdom of [[{{Ruritania}} Cohdopia]] had, a few years prior, split into the Kingdom of Allebahst and the Republic of Babahl in a vicious civil war. While the exact points of contention of the war were never outright stated, one of them was about which nation owned the legitimate copy of a solid gold statue of their first king. Even Kay [[LampshadeHanging points out that it's a rather childish point of conflict]]. [[SheepInSheepsClothing Ambassador Palaeno]] agrees, but says the people of Babahl and Allebahst still consider it SeriousBusiness, and the conflict between the nations cannot be resolved before it's determined which nation owns the bona fide article.
27th Feb '17 4:45:49 PM StarTropes
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* The Franchise/StarTrekExpandedUniverse novel ''I, Q'' told of a war between the Q and another race of similarly omnipotent beings, the M. These two [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien impossibly advanced species]] both admitted the real reason for their cataclysmic conflict was "there's just something about you that just really pisses me off." The war itself is kicked off when one of them blurts out, "[[MinorInsultMeltdown Your mother!]]"; nobody now knows who said it or who it was directed at. Both sides also show near [[BreakingTheFourthWall fourth-wall breaking]] [[GenreSavvy Genre Savviness]]: they're both aware enough to realize that in their reality every race ''always'' manages to get balanced out by some other race which exists to be an opposing force and source of plot. If they made up with their obvious opposite numbers, it would inevitably lead to a serious threat to both of them showing up.

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* The Franchise/StarTrekExpandedUniverse novel ''I, Q'' ''Literature/{{IQ}}'' told of a war between the Q and another race of similarly omnipotent beings, the M. These two [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien impossibly advanced species]] both admitted the real reason for their cataclysmic conflict was "there's just something about you that just really pisses me off." The war itself is kicked off when one of them blurts out, "[[MinorInsultMeltdown Your mother!]]"; nobody now knows who said it or who it was directed at.at (and it's not like any of them even ''had'' a mother). Both sides also show near [[BreakingTheFourthWall fourth-wall breaking]] [[GenreSavvy Genre Savviness]]: they're both aware enough to realize that in their reality every race ''always'' manages to get balanced out by some other race which exists to be an opposing force and source of plot. If they made up with their obvious opposite numbers, it would inevitably lead to a serious threat to both of them showing up.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SillyReasonForWar