What is a Bloodless War?


A bloodless war is generally a small conflict, crisis, or dispute between rival groups that is resolved without human death or injury, although the threat of violence usually seems very likely at the time – although intentional property damage may still occur.

Typically, these events are recorded in history as wars even though the term “war” generally implies violence. Therefore, the term “bloodless war” is somewhat of an oxymoron. Nevertheless, there have been many conflicts throughout history labelled as such.

Examples of Bloodless Wars

The following is a list of bloodless wars:

  • Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War (1651-1986).
  • Kettle War (1784).
  • Huéscar-Danish War (1809-1981).
  • Anglo-Swedish War (1810-1812).
  • Aroostook War (1838-1839).
  • Honey War (1839).
  • McGowan’s War (1858).
  • Dodge City War (1883).
  • Red River Bridge War (1931).
  • Lobster War (1961-1963).
  • 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish (1986-1987).
  • Turbot War (1994-1996).
  • Invasion of the Gambia (2016-2017).

The following wars are often labelled incorrectly as bloodless wars:

  • Cod Wars (1415-1976): one man killed.
  • Toledo War (1835-1836): one man wounded.
  • Battle of Athens (1946): several wounded.
  • Cold War (1947-1991): unknown number of killed.

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