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Europe has been beset by wars throughout its history, from our earliest records to within the last couple of years. Like it or not, they have often been the agent of great change.
  1. World War 1
  2. World War 2
  3. 20th Century Wars
  4. Europe's Wars in America
  5. The Cold War
  1. Napoleonic Wars
  2. Hundred Years War
  3. The Norman Conquest: 1066
  4. The Seven Years War

World War 1

Library of Congress

Between 1914 and 1918 conflict raged across Europe and the Middle East, disfiguring the landscape, killing over eight million people and transforming our concept of war.

World War 2

US Signal Corps / Library of Congress

While World War 2 was a truly global conflict, one of the two main belligerents was based in central Europe and conflict engulfed almost the whole continent, from western France to eastern Russia, from the Mediterranean to Arctic waters.

20th Century Wars

World Wars 1 and 2 are just the most famous conflicts which involved Europeans in the twentieth century. This section deals with others.

Europe's Wars in America

B West / Library of Congress

When Europe’s maritime powers learnt about the existence of the American continent they set out to explore and conquer it. In doing so Europe fought a number of wars against each other, against indigenous peoples and against their own colonists.

The Cold War

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Between 1945 and 1991, Europe was divided between two superpowers and their allies: US led NATO in Western Europe and USSR led Warsaw Pact in the east. The war was 'cold' because there was never a direct military engagement between them, due partly to the presence of nuclear weapons on both sides.

Napoleonic Wars

Library of Congress

Between 1796 and 1815 one of history's most outstanding military minds waged war across Europe: Napoleon Bonaparte.

Hundred Years War

Public Domain

Fought between 1337 and 1453, the Hundred Years War was a conflict between the Kings of Britain, France and factions of French nobles over both land and the French throne.

The Norman Conquest: 1066

In 1066, Duke William of Normandy conquered England and changed the history of Western Europe forever. But there were other claimants to the throne who fought that year.

The Seven Years War

Library of Congress

With Europeans fighting in America, Africa, Asia and Europe, the Seven Years War can claim to have been the first ‘World War’. A large coalition of powers fought against Frederick the Great’s Prussia, and a combination of skill and luck produced a surprising result.

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