The first and second world wars were biggest conflicts seen by humanity in whole history of mankind. These wars had shaken the whole world and because of this these wars are placed in a different category. In 1935 German general Ludandroff wrote a book title as “Total War”.In this book he described the first world war as a total war and also emphasised that any future conflict would also be massive. The concept of total war was extended to nuclear age by American general Courtis in 1949.
A “Total War” is characterised by a certain essential features. It is not a war involving just soldiers and professional forces ,the civilians also participated in the conflict in different capacities. The industries contributed to war by producing war goods. The labour class participated in war by working in factories unconditionally day and night, the women participated in war by working in schools,colleges,hospitals and also in factories as we have seen in 1st and 2nd world wars. The people involved in cultural activities contributed to war by motivating soldiers and civilians by writing speeches,painting and music etc. Even aged contributed to war by looking after family responsibility. Such kind of participation of different section of population was witnessed during 1st and 2nd world war ,thats why these wars are known as “Total war”.
A “Total War” involves most of the nations of the world. In 1st and 2nd world war Europe and America were involved directly. Asian and African colonies had fought wars along with their mother countries. Japan was a major power in second world war. In this way almost whole of world had participated in 1st and 2nd world war either directly or indirectly.
Investment of full national capacity in the war to ensure a favourable outcome is another important feature of “Total war”. During 1st ad 2nd world war the belligerent nations had invested their whole resources either human or material to emerge as victorious.
Use of latest weapon and technology is another important feature of “Total War”. During first as well as second world war most advanced weapons were used by fighting nations like tanks,submarines,fighter jets even nuclear bomb was used in second world war.
In a “Total War”the combatant and non combatant are not differentiated infact non combatants are deliberately targeted to pressurise government. Cities were bombed industrial centres destroyed and large number of civilians got killed during both world wars.
A “Total War” is a long drawn out military conflict. Its not a war fought only for few days the fight continued in phases for months and years together,a “Total War” is always decisive ,the fight comes to an end only when one nation or alliance got defeated completely, It never ends in a draw . During 1st as well as 2nd world war the German side had got defeated and Anglo-French side had emerged victorious.
So we can say that a “Total War” covers all spheres of life whether it is space,time,man or material in totality.