Do You Know What Started These Wars?

John Miller

Image: unknown US military photographer. The original uploader was Binksternet at English Wikipedia., 14 April 2008 (original upload date)

About This Quiz

Sometimes, all it takes is a single bullet to trigger a hailstorm of lead that costs millions of lives. That’s one of the lessons of 20th-century politics and diplomacy, and it’s a reason that history teachers push their students to learn from the past. In this bombed-out quiz, do you think you know the causes of history’s biggest wars?

Often, wars begin as a matter of necessity, as humans with differing priorities and needs fail to communicate or negotiate to find common ground. That was definitely a fact that contributed to the beginning of the largest and deadliest war in history. Do you know the other complex variables that made the Second World War nearly unavoidable?

In other situations, nations spend years girding themselves for battles that politicians are sure will add to their national pride, prestige and wealth, conveniently forgetting about the misery that surely follows every blast of gunfire. Just ask anyone who witnessed the horrors of World War I.

Every war, from the Korean War to the Gulf War, to the American Revolution and the American Civil War, all had different underlying causes. Cast aside peace negotiations and dive into the maelstrom of this war causes quiz now!

Which of the following events contributed to the start of World War I?

In 1914, a Serbian political extremist murdered Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The murder caused an avalanche of political repercussions that culminated in World War I.

What event contributed to the start of the American Revolution?

In 1765, the British levied a ridiculous Stamp Act on its New World colonies, essentially taxing colonists for many everyday printed materials.

Which of these led to the start of the Korean War?

In June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, and the United Nations rushed to the South's defense. Then, China jumped into the fray with the North. And a long, bloody war began.

What kicked off the events of World War II?

In September 1939, Hitler's troops spilled over into Poland. Within a month, the Third Reich took control of the country, and the European Theater of WWII was in full swing.

What contributed to the start of the War in Afghanistan?

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 led to a snowball effect that found American troops in Afghanistan. And they are still there -- this war will likely go down as the longest in American history.

Which of the following events contributed to the start of World War II?

In December 1941, Japan's navy attacked Pearl Harbor, drawing the United States into combat that it had hoped to avoid. The Pacific Theater of the war eventually revealed some of the ugliest sides of human nature.

What event contributed to the start of War of 1812?

As part of its war against France, Britain often seized American civilian sailors and forced them to fight alongside British men. The act was called impressement, and it caused major resentment in the United States.

What was a contributing factor to the American Civil War?

The issue of slavery was a major contributor to the Civil War. In the North, anti-slavery view held sway -- in the South, slavery was an integral part of the agrarian culture. The two sides could not exist in the same Union.

Do you remember why World War II started?

In the so-called Gleiwitz incident, German operatives staged an attack on a German radio station, making it look as though Polish troops were responsible. Hitler used the faked attack as justification for his invasion of Poland.

What contributed to the start of the Vietnam War?

America was sure that communism was going to spread throughout all of Southeast Asia, but decided to stop it in its tracks in Vietnam. Although the U.S. lost the war, some historians say American actually succeeded in its efforts to stop communism from gaining a wider range.

What led to the Iraq War?

In 2003, the Bush Administration presented information that it said proved that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that it could use for a variety of nefarious purposes. The U.S. invaded … and never found the infamous WMDs.

What option was a reason World War II began?

In the 1930s, Hitler began annexing portions of Europe and adding them to Germany territory. Other powers appeased Hitler instead of confronting him, in effect giving the Nazis momentum in their imperialstic craze.

Which of these led to the start of the Korean War?

After WWII, much of the Western world feared the spread of communism. The U.N. and U.S. jumped to help South Korea in hopes of stemming a red tide from consuming the Korean peninsula.

What event contributed to the start of the Vietnam War?

The Cold Was was a standoff between East and West, communism and democracy, and it resulted in proxy wars between countries like the U.S. and communist nations. The Vietnam War was one such war.

Which of the following events contributed to the start of the Gulf War?

In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and saw immediate backlash from the international community. A huge military coalition, led by the U.S., pushed Iraq back and demolished much of the country's army.

What was a contributing factor to World War II?

The Treaty of Versailles ended WWI but levied incredible (and humiliating) terms on Germany. Even before the ink had dried, many politicians knew the treaty would cause another war.

What led to the War of 1812?

With France and Britain at war, both sides tried to interfere with each others' trade with America. The tumult increased hostilities between Britain and the U.S.

What was a contributing factor to the American Revolution?

In March 1770, a Boston mob clashed with British troops, who fired wildly into the crowd, killing several people. The Boston Massacre added to the revolutionary fervor that gripped the colonies.

Which of these led to the start of World War II?

In the late 1920s, Germany's economy (like many others during the Great Depression) was in a full tailspin. Widespread impoverishment gave Hitler a desperate audience who gobbled up his violent and racist rhetoric.

Do you remember how the Vietnam War started?

America and its allied created a "containment" policy meant to keep Communism from spreading to countries around Vietnam. They backed up that policy with a lot of bullets and bombs.

What event contributed to the start of World War I?

Prior to WWI, Europe was a complicated tangle of mutual defense alliances. All it took was one act of aggression, and suddenly countries were oblligated to spring to each others' defense.

What was a contributing factor to the Mexican-American War?

In the 1840s, the U.S. was rapidly settling the West … and President Polk wanted even more land to add to his legacy. The Mexican-American War gave him the opportunity to do just that.

What kicked off the events of the Hundred Years' War?

Starting in the 1330s, the Hundred Years' War was sparked by complex political clashes between Britain and France. The war dragged on until 1453.

Which of the following events contributed to the start of World War I?

As the Industrial Revolution gripped Europe, Germany -- with its limited natural resources -- began to fall behind France and Britain. It joined the fight in part to acquire new territory and new natural natural resources.

Which of these led to the start of Thirty Years' War?

The Thirty Years' War had much of its basis in conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. The war started in 1618 and killed millions of people across Europe.

What was a contributing factor to World War II?

Around the turn of the century, Japan's power structure swung towards the military, which took on great importance throughout the country. Japanese militarism contributed heavily to the start of WWII.

Do you remember why the American Revolution was started?

The British crown made a habit of taxing the New World colonies, but didn't allow colonists equal representation in their government. "No taxation without representation" became a rallying cry for the rebels of the Revolution.

What event contributed to the start of World War I?

At the start of the 20th century, European nations were essentially in an arms race, rapidly building their militaries and creating strategies to use them. It was only a matter of time before they took the opportunity to do so.

What led to the French and Indian War?

In the 1700s, Britain and France raced each other to claim lands in North America. Their territorial claims and political clashes resulted in the French and Indian War, with the Americans fighting alongside the British.

Which of these led to the start of the Crimean War?

Fought in the 1850s, the Crimean War was had its roots in religious clashes, particularly with regard to Christians and their treatment in the Holy Land. An Allied victory resulted in the Treaty of Paris of 1856.

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