Local war or which may also be called a civil war is a conflict between two groups for sovereignty over people and territory native to both. Lyford P. Edwards defines it as “a military conflict between two or more approximately equal political governments for sovereignty over people and territory native to both.”
The character of a local war changes according to the type of political organization in the country in which it occurs. In a unitary form of government, as Prof. Edward writes, “it is likely to be amateurish and bungling in its early stages. The government is weakened by the withdrawal of large numbers of its trained personnel, who proceed to improvise an opposition government that does not at first function very efficiently. The English local war of 1641-51 and the American civil war are cases in point. In the federal form of government, the local war resembles an international war. Here organized functioning governments, as Prof. Edward says, already exist and the task of generating a civil war between them is relatively simple, especially when the nature of the Federal bond approximates a league rather than a closer union. The thirty years’ war, the war of the Sounderbund in Switzerland in 1842, and the American Civil War are some examples of local wars in federated states.
Classification of Local Wars:
After discussing the meaning and nature of local wars in unitary and federated states we shall classify the local wars. The local wars can be classified as follows:
Religious local wars are very bloody as these cause great harm to human life and prosperity. The rise of Protestantism caused a series of religious local wars between 1550 and 1648. Political wars are generally humane as far as wars go. The civil wars during the years 1641 to 1651 in England and from 1861 to 1865 in the U.S.A. and from 1921 to 1928 in China were political. Social wars are generally fought on some social issues. These resemble political local wars. The Russian local war of 1918-21 was a social war between the upper class and the proletariat i.e. between the haves and haves-not. The history of ancient Greece and Rome shows a whole series of social wars between the rich and the poor.
Local Wars and Revolution- Local Wars are generally considered by some as revolutions. A local war, however, differs from Revolution because ‘revolution’ is a change brought by force or without the use of force. The Local wars on the other hand mean violence. Various revolutions such as the revolutions that took place in 1688 in England brought no violence and involved no military conflict.
Local Wars and Foreign Wars- Local wars also differ from foreign wars. Whereas foreign wars are fought for the conquest of their nations with specific aims but local wars are fought within a state. Also in foreign wars loyalty is divided. In foreign wars campaigns are planned by military staff whereas such is not the case in local wars.
Conclusion- To conclude we may say that the occurrence of local wars is inevitable under certain circumstances and the conflict starts as a response to the crises created by these circumstances.