From the American Revolution to the modern war on terror, the United States has seen its fair share of conflict. Each war has brought its own hardships and roadblocks and tested the might of the American military. The attack on Pearl Harbor marked the beginning of America’s involvement in the Second World War, and while it was one of the most devastating periods of time for the United States and much of the world, the US has been involved in many conflicts aside from this tragic episode.
Here’s a brief chronicling of the wars the United States was involved in, dating back before the states were even united.
The American Revolution
Fought between the American colonies and the British, the American Revolution ended with the withdrawal of the British, independence of the thirteen colonies, and the end of the First British Empire.
Northwest Indian War
Fought over the control of Northwest Territory, this 10-year war pitted the United States against several Indian tribes backed by the British military. In 1795, the British withdrew their forces and the Treaty of Greenville led to the American occupation of the area, which includes much of present-day Ohio.
American Civil War
The conflict that would define the United States. The American Civil War started with the attack on Fort Sumter by Confederate troops. The brutal war raged on for four long years, ending with the reunification of the North and the South and the nationwide abolition of slavery.
World War I
With the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, World War I began. Though initially adhering to a policy of non-intervention, the United States eventually joined the war, drawn in by continued submarine warfare by the Germans. The nation’s then-small army was boosted to 2.8 million men with the compulsory enlistment introduced under the Selective Service Act.
In November of 1918, the war ended, leading to the fall of the German, Russian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires and the formation of smaller, independent countries in Europe and the Middle East.
World War II
Though fighting had begun two years earlier, it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 that brought the United States into World War II. Dividing its forces, the American military engaged in both the European and Pacific Theaters, eventually leading the Allies to victory against the Axis powers.
Considered by the American government as being a “Police Action,” the Vietnam War was fought between South and North Vietnam, with aid lent to the South by the United States. Fighting a guerrilla war, North Vietnam was able to overcome its adversaries, leading to the withdrawal of American forces and the annexation of South Vietnam by the North.
War in Afghanistan
After the September 11th, 2001 attacks, the United States, under the initial order of President George W. Bush, engaged Afghan forces in a 13-year war against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. What seemed like an impossible mission ended in American victory with the fall of the Taliban government, establishment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the death of Osama bin Laden.
Unfortunately, the victory also led to the creation of Taliban insurgents and further continued conflict in multiple regions of Afghanistan.
The eight-year skirmish in Iraq sought and succeeded in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, but is also believed to be responsible for the continuing chaos in much of Iraq, as well as the creation of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, a successor of al-Qaeda.