A summary of conflicts through time

Development of war machines and peace processes from Middle Ages to 20th century.
Swiss philanthropist Henri Dunant
Henri Dunant

  • The Middle Ages were dominated by wars such as the Hundred Years’ War. At that time, warfare wasn’t sophisticated and it was simply a case of the “strongest man wins”. Mounted knights and castles featured in the Middle Ages.
  • Through the Early Modern age, the nature of warfare changed and the years 1698 and 1700 saw the first attempts to avoid warfare by diplomacy (dealing with matters by way of talking them through).
  • The 18th and 19th centuries were a time of huge set battles involving thousands of soldiers – battles sufficiently horrific to inspire Henri Dunant to form the Red Cross (1863) to help sick and wounded soldiers.
  • By the 20th century, however, the invention of the machine gun and trench warfare saw the end of the huge infantry attacks. Instead, nations developed tanks and aeroplanes. The invention of the atomic bomb gave nations the power to destroy every living thing on Earth.
  • The League of Nations (1919-1945) and the United Nations (1945 to date) were set up to try to bring peace by diplomacy.
  • But warfare did not end. Today, nations with overwhelming technological superiority struggle to combat guerrilla terrorists and suicide bombers.