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What Is a Civil War?

A civil war is a war that is being fought between two groups internally within a country or state. The definition of what a civil war is can be quite daunting to explain but one of the more familiar definitions of a civil war lists a number of situations that must be met for a conflict to be recognized as a civil war. For example, both sides involved in the war must have gained control of some territory, have created their own government system and has managed to organize a military as an instrument of defense and attack.

Civil wars have happened in many countries and societies for centuries now. The war that happens between two peoples living in the same country has a negative effect on so many aspects of the country. For example, the devastation on real estate and infrastructure can debilitate the country. But more than the physical toll, a civil war also affects the psyche of the people who live in discord.

Civil wars happen for many reasons that have been illustrated by actual events in history. There are wars that started because of a conflict in religious beliefs. There are those that happen because of a dispute in resources. Civil wars can be swift affairs or it can stretch out for many years. Sometimes, another country or government will try to mediate between the warring factions and try to forge peace. These governments do this either because of a deep concern for what is happening to the citizens of the civil war-torn country, or because the war itself is beginning to affect them negatively.

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