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The War to End All Wars
aka: Final War
"They said... it's a war to end all wars."
"See her, boy? This is Evangelina Parr. She's big. Perhaps even great. But by no means, she is the whore to end all whores."
Any war described in universe as being final, whether or not it actually is. It usually isn't
. May come under different names, but they are all clearly intended to end the current conflict and prevent future conflict in one fell swoop.
The Trope Namer
was World War I
, as noted in the Real Life
section. Which wasn't
, so they called it World War I instead.
Anime & Manga
- Final Crisis ends with the resolution of what is meant to be a final war, but if Flashpoint is any indication, the Crisis events will function as they did before, but won't have Crisis in the title.
- Frank Herbert's Dune series. Children of Dune mentions Kralizec: in the oldest Fremen beliefs it is the Typhoon Struggle, the war at the end of the universe.
- Honor Harrington:
- The Final War, and as far as the planet Earth is concerned it really was final. For human colonized space, not so much.
- The war between Manticore and Haven was initially supposed to be this, too. Time and again, David Weber reminded us that the only possible outcomes are either the end of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, or the end of the People's Republic of Haven. In the end that was technically true, as Haven dropped the "People's."
- The Last Battle in The Chronicles of Narnia ends with the destruction of all Narnia. The goodies get their happy ending in "True Narnia", a thinly-disguised version of Heaven after the Apocalypse.
- The Prophecy of the Stones seems to be leading up to a Final War but the ending reminds us that evil cannot be permanently defeated.
- In Mark S Geston's novel Out of the Mouth of the Dragon armies are constantly battling to determine whether good or evil will ultimately triumph. To everybody's dismay, however, none of the battles are ever final or decisive, and the world ends with a protracted whimper.
- The Nine Years War in Brave New World, which happened approximately 500 years before the novel sets.
- The war between the the Draka and the Alliance for Democracy in S.M. Stirling's The Stone Dogs is called "The Final War", as afterwards there is no power left on Earth capable of challenging Drakan dominance. From the ashes of the Final War emerges the Final Society, as the Draka genetically engineer themselves and their serfs into two codependent post-human races. Afterwards, the Draka still find themselves in conflict with the descendants of defeated Americans who fled the Solar System to found a colony on Alpha Centauri.
- In Keith Laumer's Bolo series, the Final War really is. Both interstellar empires are annihilated, each sterilizing all known worlds of the other. The few overlooked colonies have neither the desire nor the ability to keep fighting.
- The "Autumn Rain" trilogy by David J. Williams culminates in WW III, with weaponized space. The nuclear destruction of a continent takes roughly three paragraphs of writing, and perhaps a few hours. Most of the Earth is more or less saturated with nuclear weapons, space-dropped kinetic energy weapons, high powered directed energy pin-point strikes against anything trying to shoot down those weapons, and deliberate destruction of any and all communications and electronic infrastructure either physically or through hacking. The fate of the moon and the fleets stationed at the libation points is not much better...though it takes a few days for them.
Mythology and Religion
- In MASH, Colonel Potter at one point bitterly toasts the last of his friends to die with the toast ' Here's to you, boys. To Ryan, who died in WWI: the War to End All Wars. To Gianelli, who died in the war after that.'
- Ragnarok was expected by the Norse to be the final battle between the gods and their opponents (the giants, Fenrir, etc.)
- The End Time/End Times/End of Days of Christianity.
- WW1 was said to be this by some. Obviously, not quite.
- In Soviet culture, WW2 was often referred to as "the war against war itself" or "a war to be never repeated".
- There has been one war between the Great Powers since World War 2- or, more accurately between a Superpower and a Great Power. The Korean War pitted primarily American forcesnote against the newly formed People's Republic of China. By the end, 40,000 UNnote and 400,000 Chinese soldiers were dead- as well as millions of Korean soldiers and civilians from both sidesnote . Notably though, this took place entirely on the Korean Peninsula, so although the soldiers were from all over the world, the conflict was not.