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The stupidest wars ever in history will leave you literally scratching your head. If you have already popped over and had a read of the dumbest battle ever, these wars, although not as bad as that one battle, really are quite ridiculous. From the weird through to the wacky, we managed to find the most utterly stupid reason to kill en-masse.
If there are a few things we people are good at, doing stupid things and waging war on each other surely trump just about anything else. As Einstein himself said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” So what do you think you get when you mix war and stupidity? Let’s just say a terrible mix of circumstances that give us the stupidest wars in history ever. If the human toll weren’t so high, they would make for a great comedy.
Now it’s time to read about the stupidest wars ever
1 The War Of Jenkins’ Ear (1739–48)
Back in the good old days when Britain was the imperial power of the world, and all bowed before it, foreign relations in Western Europe weren’t exactly as cordial as they are today. To be a little more accurate, Spain was less than happy that Britain was top of the roost, and Britain for their part were not that friendly to anyone who wanted a slice of the action, or their Empire. Let’s just say that relations between the pair were frosty, and it wouldn’t take much to ignite the keg of war.
It all started one day in 1731. Robert Jenkins was the captain of a merchant ship that was boarded by the Spanish Coast Guard o his return home from the West Indies. The Spanish suspected him and his ship of smuggling, and wanted to investigate. But it seems that they went a little too far. They bound captain Jenkins to a mast and sliced off his ear. Ouch right? But apart from a diplomatic complaint, it really should have ended there. But it wasn’t going to.
On his return home, Jenkins took his complaint directly to the king, and seven years later to parliament. He even kept his ear in a pickle jar!
So here we are. It’s now 1738 and relations between the two European powers are really not that good. War was looming, but there was no good reason to pick a fight. But perhaps there was. Although the incident of Jenkins ear gained very little attention when it happened, in 1738 the British were looking for just cause. This was their trigger.
The colonies in the Caribbean were petitioning for support from their king, and good old Jenkins wanted reprisal for his ear attack. The following summer, King George II, on the advice and request of his parliament, ordered the admiralty to begin reprisals against Spain. The war was under way.
Now, this wasn’t exactly a full out war. It was really half hearted, with neither side really putting their heart and soul into it. It slowly bludgeoned on for nearly a decade, with no real ground or political advantage going either way. The war itself didn’t really end with a truce, either. It just kind of faded away into the War of Austrian Succession.
The Spanish claimed a victory, although no boundaries ever changed. But the numbers were on their side. The Spanish suffered 4,500 dead and 5,000 wounded along with the loss of 186 ships. The British lost 20,000 dead, wounded or missing, and lost 407 ships. And it was all over one ear.
2 The War Of The Oaken Bucket (1325)
Let stupidity reign. It seems as though the big guys of the political world, AKA the colonial super powers, are not the only ones capable of mass killing for dumb reasons. This particular conflict takes us back to 1325 in northern Italy.
Look, I agree. It was called the Dark Ages for a reason. People weren’t that bright, and this particular war proves the point very well. But how could two neighbors go and thrash each others brains out over a oak bucket? That’s right, a bloody oak bucket!
Alright, just as with Jenkins ear, this war was really just the culmination of years, in fact, centuries of events. Tempers were boiling, and a bloody bucket proved to be the final straw.
Two city states in northern Italy, Bologna and Modena. had been long time rivals. Being in the geographical position that they were in placed them in the precarious position of having to support the main political factions, and they were big ones. One was the Holy Roman Empire, the other was the Papacy. Obviously politics is an all too common reason for going to war.
In 1325 a few soldiers from Modena entered Bologna and stole an oak bucket from the well. Bologna was a little pissed at this brazen theft, and decided to go to war. Now, I’m not calling it an over reaction or anything, but how much would an oak bucket cost to buy or make? Surely not as much as raising an army and going to war.
The city state of Bologna didn’t mess around. They got an army of 32,000 men to begin a march on Modena to reclaim their stolen bucket. The Modenan’s on the other hand were less enthusiastic , and mustered 7,000 men for war. The two warring factions met at Zappolino, still in Bologna territory. They fought it out, before the Bologna army were routed and ran for the safety of their town walls.
So what did each side get out of this brainless conflict? Well, over a bucket made of wood, 2,000 men on each side lost their life, and the city of Bologna didn’t get their bucket back. In fact, they never did, and it is still on display in the city of Modena as a taunting reminder of their stolen piece of property.
3 The War Of The Stray Dog (1925)
Proving that medieval stupidity could reach the twentieth century, we now bring you the story of the War of the Stray Dog, surely among the stupidest wars in history ever. As you can probably already tell, this war started and was fought over a stray dog.
Most of us love dogs. As a pet and a part of our family they can be great companions. Many people often say that they would kill anyone who hurt their dog. But what about the strays? The ones that are never under effective control and just seem to roam around. They can cause havoc, especially to farmers who in many circumstances will not hesitate to kill a stray dog. But is that what happened here?
In 1925 Greece and Bulgaria were like a couple of jilted lovers. If they were to be seen in the same street together either a fight would break out or one would cross to the other side of the walk. So once again, tensions were high, especially along a border region called Petrich, and all that was needed to start a full blown war was a reason, no matter how stupid.
On October 22, 1925, a Greek soldier was chasing his stray dog, but it crossed the border into Bulgaria (I guess he should have had a Border Collie). Now, the Bulgarian sentry saw this and took aim, but not at the dog. He shot and killed the Greek soldier who was only chasing his dog. Greece’s response? Well lets just say that they weren’t very happy, and threatened revenge.
Good to their word, Greece invaded Petrich the very next day, proving once again that the Great War was not the war to end all wars. The Bulgarian army offered only token resistance, and the Greeks were only stopped by the League of Nations, the forerunner to the UN, who demanded a halt to the hostilities.
The outcome of this War of the Stray Dog was that Greece was forced out of Bulgaria ten days later and had to pay them 45,000 pounds in compensation. The loss of life this time was relatively small compared to the other two, being 52 on both sides, mainly civilians. No one knows the fate of the dog that started it all.
4 The Soccer War (1969)
I hope I don’t start a soccer war by referring to football as soccer. The purist will call it by football, but where I am it’s more commonly known as soccer. Well, believe it or not, but the Soccer War was a real thing, started over a game of soccer. Not to be completely surprised, but hooligans at these sporting events are part and parcel, especially in jolly old England. One can hardly expect a season to pass by without some form of soccer riot. But the Soccer War went just a little too far.
The Soccer War was a brief conflict between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. The two South American countries held an international soccer match that El Salvador lost. Not to be called poor sportsman, tensions rose between the two countries following this match, with El Salvador immediately ending all diplomatic relations. The tension would eventually culminate with conflict of a military nature.
But once again, underlying tensions played a huge part in the affairs of the day. Principle among them was the economic inequality between the two countries. Obviously keeping up with the Jonse’s was a little difficult to contend with.
18 days later El Salvador began military action against Honduras. Using passenger jets as bombers, they took Honduras by surprise and made significant ground. But the ridiculous war wasn’t going to last long. The Organization of American States quickly arranged a ceasefire, and hostilities ended only 100 hours after the war began.
The Soccer War, among the stupidest wars in history, lasted only four days and took the life of over 3,000 people.
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