Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of all available resources and population.
In a total war, there is less differentiation between combatants and civilians than in other conflicts, and sometimes no such differentiation at all, as nearly every human resource, civilians and soldiers alike, can be considered to be part of the belligerent effort.
The phrase can be traced back to the 1935 publication of General Ludendorff’s World War I memoir Der Totale Krieg ("The Total War"). The concept is extended by some authors back as far as Clausewitz’s classic work On War as "absoluter Krieg" (however, the relevant passages have been interpreted in diverging ways by different authors), and to the French "guerre à outrance" during the Franco-Prussian War.USAF General Curtis LeMay updated the concept for the nuclear age. In 1949, he was first to propose that a total war in the nuclear age would consist of delivering the entire nuclear arsenal in a single overwhelming blow, going as far as "killing a nation"
The Second World War can be considered the quintessential total war of modernity. The level of national mobilization of resources on all sides of the conflict, the battlespace being contested, the scale of the armies, navies, and air forces raised through conscription, the active targeting of civilians (and civilian property), the general disregard for collateral damage, and the unrestricted aims of the belligerents marked total war on an unprecedented and unsurpassed, multicontinental scale.
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Effect of World War II on Each Country - Devastation of Europe, Change in Global Balance of Power -Detailed Timeline of European History
WW II: Interactive Map (Europe)- Effect on each Country WW II: Interactive Map (Europe) - Casualties by Country
Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
World War II Photos World War II: Damage and Destruction