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Famous people who started a war. Biography


A list of people who are responsible for starting a war.

Alexander the Great (356 – 323 BC) As King of Macedonia, Alexander the Great invaded countries across Europe and Asia – even as far as India. Important campaigns included the invasion of the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire)

Julius Caesar (100 BC – 44 BC) As Roman general Julius Caesar declared war on Gallic tribes not under Roman control. It is estimated 1 million Gallic troops died in Caesar’s conquest. Caesar was also involved in Roman civil wars and supported Cleopatra to become briefly Egyptian queen.

Attila the Hun (5th Century) Ruler of the Huns who swept across Europe. He invaded France, Italy, and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe.

wiliam-i-conqueror-100 William the Conqueror (1028 – 1087) William I was a Norman King who invaded England in 1066. William defeated the English King Harold in a single battle, but it created a dynamic for continual conflict between England and France, which led to the Hundred Years War.

pope-Urban_II-100 Pope Urban II (1035 – 1099) Pope from 1088 to 1099. In 1096, he gave a speech exhorting Christians to go on a ‘Holy Crusade’ to regain the Holy Lands from Muslim rulers. This led to two centuries of Christian incursions into the Middle East and prolonged war with Muslim rulers.

Genghis Khan – ( 1162 – 1227) Genghis Khan united Mongul tribes conquering Mongolia and China. Then Khan swept west invading lands all the way to Central Europe.

King Edward I (1272 – 1307) King Edward I waged brutal wars of conquest in Wales and Scotland, which united the Kingdom.

King_George_III_ King George III (1760-1820) Under George III, the British refused to compromise with the grievances of British-Americans, precipitating the Revolutionary War. George III also extended the Napoleonic War, wishing to defeat Naploeon.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) As Emperor of France 1804-1815, Napoleon’s forces swept across Europe, gaining hegemony over most of Europe. Napoleon started campaigns in Spain, Russia until he was eventually beaten by a combination of British and German forces.

President-Jefferson-Davis Jefferson Davis (1808 – 1889) Davis was a senator from Mississippi. During the Civil War, he was the President of the Southern Confederate States who wished to retain slavery and broke away from the US. In 1861, Davis ordered Confederate troops to fire on Union troops in Fort Summer, starting the Civil War.

emperor_francis_joseph Francis Joseph I (1830–1916) Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, from 1848 to 1916. Under his conservative rule, his Empire began to splinter under the forces of emerging nationalism. It was Joseph who signed Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war, setting in train the start of the First World War.

Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) The last German Emperor; the Kaiser led Germany on a more bellicose, self-assertive foreign policy, where he wished to see Germany become a major European power. He formed a key alliance with Austria-Hungary. He signed the declaration of war, but was mostly less influential than his generals Ludendorf and Hindeburg.

Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953) Leader and dictator of Soviet Union armed forces during Second World War. In 1939, he signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact with Hitler and sent forces to invade eastern Poland. Stalin also invaded Finland. He was a leading cause of the Cold War.

Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) Fascist dictator. Mussolini was head of the Italian government from 1925-43. Invaded Abyssinia in 1935. In June 1940, declared war on Britain and France allying itself with Nazi Germany.

Francisco_Franco_ Franciso Franco (1892 – 1975) Franco was a Spanish general and politician. In 1936 he led a coup against the democratically elected Spanish Republic leading to a civil war which was a proxy for Fascist vs Socialist forces.

Gavrilo Princep (1894- 1918) a Bosnian Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife. This assassination precipitated Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia which led to the start of the First World War. He was sentenced and imprisoned, dying of malnutrition in 1918.

Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) Dictator of Nazi Germany. Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland, and then the rest of Western Europe starting the Second World War. In 1941 Hitler also ignored his own pact with Stalin to invade the Soviet Union, launching one of the most brutal conflicts in history. Hitler also declared war on the US after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour.

Saddam_Hussain-100 Saddam Hussein (1937 – 2006) Leader of Iraq from 1979 – 2003, Hussein was a brutal dictator who suppressed opposition from within his own country – in particular, Shia and Kurdish opposition. In 1980, Hussein ordered the invasion of Iran, which led to a long and bloody nine-year war. In 1990, he ordered the invasion of Kuwait, which led to the First Gulf War.

George Bush Jnr (1946 – ) US President 2000-2008. As President, he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003.

Osama_bin_Laden Osama Bin Laden (1957 – 2011) Islamic Jihadi, who ‘declared war on the US’ Bin Laden was responsible for terrorist attacks on the US, including the 9/11 attack in New York. An attack that precipitates the ‘war on terror’ and the Second Gulf War.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “People who started wars”, Oxford, UK. – Published 24 June 2019.