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Introduction

Austerlitz-baron-Pascal.jpg
The Battle of Austerlitz by François Gérard.
War is a state of conflict between relatively large groups of people (such as nations, states, organizations, social groups), which is characterized by the use of armed lethal violence between combatants or upon civilians. Other terms for war, which often serve as euphemisms, include armed conflict, hostilities, and police action.

A common look on war is a series of military campaigns between at least two or more opposing sides involving a dispute over sovereignty, territory, resources, ideology or a host of other issues. A war to liberate an occupied country is sometimes characterised as a "war of liberation", while a war between internal elements of the same state may constitute a civil war.

Aside from humans and their primate brethren, ants are the only other animals known to exhibit such behavior on a large scale.

A battle is a single engagement fought between two or more parties, wherein each party or aligned group will seek to defeat their opponent. Battles are most often fought during military campaigns and can usually be well defined in time, space and action. Wars are generally the continuum of a related series of battles and are guided by strategy, whereas individual battles are the stage on which tactics are employed.

Military history is the recording and analysis of those events in the history of humanity that fall within the category of organised armed conflict, and that relate to the institutions and organizations that prosecute such conflict.

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Joan of Arc, c. 1485

Joan of Arc is a national heroine of France and a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She had visions, believed to be from God, which led to the liberation of her homeland from English dominance in the Hundred Years' War. The then-uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the disregard of veteran commanders and ended the siege in only nine days. Several more swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Rheims and settled the disputed succession to the throne. The renewed French confidence outlasted Joan of Arc's own brief career. She refused to leave the field when she was wounded during an attempt to recapture Paris that fall. Hampered by court intrigues, she led only minor companies from then on, and fell prisoner during a skirmish near Compiègne the following spring. A politically-motivated trial convicted her of heresy. The English regent, John, Duke of Bedford, had her burnt at the stake in Rouen. Pope Callixtus III reopened Joan's case; a new finding overturned the original conviction. Her piety to the end impressed the retrial court. Pope Benedict XV canonized her on 16 May 1920.

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Fight for the Bagration flèches

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Aerial view of the village of Passchendaele

The Battle of Passchendaele, otherwise known as the Third Battle of Ypres, was one of the major battles of World War I, fought by British, ANZAC and Canadian soldiers against the German army near Ypres (Ieper in Flemish) in West Flanders, northwestern Belgium over the control of the village of Passchendaele.
Photo credit: Imperial War Museum

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