The Top 5 Shortest Wars of the 20th Century

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War is the worst undertaking in which we humans engage. It takes lives and lays waste to towns, cities, field and forest. Wars have raged for decades, even centuries – whole generations have existed against the backdrop of violence. But then sometimes a couple of armies will meet up, have themselves a battle or two, then toss in the towel after just a few weeks. Or even days. If there must be a war, the shorter the better, right? Well these wars were short as all hell.

5 Second Balkan War

Man, it just sucked to be pretty much the entire Balkan region in the last century. Constant war, it seems! At least the 1913 conflict called Second Balkan War only lasted a month and a day. This one was between Bulgaria and the allied Greeks, Romanians, and Serbs. It was predicated on Bulgaria’s dissatisfaction with the settlement of the First Balkan War. Eventually Greece and the Ottomans got involved too. And Russia ended up breaking ties with Bulgaria, yet maintaining a relationship with Serbia. Remember that the Alliance System of the day is basically what caused a “domino effect” after a certain archduke was assassinated – meaning this little war paved the way for WWI.

4 Sino-vietnamese War

In less than a month in 1979, the Sino-Vietnamese War claimed nearly 50,000 lives, with the slight majority of those KIA being Chinese. The conflict began when Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia, hoping to overthrow the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge. China just so happened to be an ally of said regime, so they “came to their aid” by attacking Vietnam. Twenty nine really ugly days later the borders were restored, a cease-fire enacted, and both sides claimed to have won.

3 The Georgian-armenian War of 1918

The Georgian-Armenian War of 1918 is a perfect example of a pointless conflict, when viewed through the lens of time. As the Ottoman Empire crumbled during WWI, both Georgian and Armenian forces poured into previously held territory, fighting a 24-day war over an area called Borchalo. But then the Soviet Union took over Armenia less than two years later, ending any claim they had to much of anything for the next few decades.

2 The Indo-pakistani War

Our next war hashed things out in less than two weeks. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 lasted 13 days, and ended up creating the nation of Bangladesh and re-securing the lasting hatred shared between India and Pakistan. This war was really the culmination of the long-running conflict between Pakistan and the Bangladesh Liberation Movement. Once India threw its weight behind Bangladesh, it pretty much ended that unpleasant situation … through bloodshed and destruction.

1 The Six-day War

Perhaps not surprisingly, a war so short it was named for the period of time it lasted was the shortest “real” war of the 1900s. The Six-Day War was a brief but momentous clash between Israel and lots of countries that did not like Israel. Which is to say Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, primarily. The very short story is that Egypt began blockading Israel after Israel made bellicose statements aimed at Syria. Israel attacked Egypt on June 5, 1967. Then Jordan attacked Israel, at which point the Israeli army turned into a raging death machine that made it clear it was better left alone in less than a week. Israel ended up securing huge new swaths of land and cease-fire agreements from its neighbors.

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