The Most Popular War: A Comprehensive Ranking

Choose the war you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 23, 2024 06:42
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate hub for opinions and rankings! We've witnessed countless epic battles in the realms of history, fiction, and pop culture, but which war truly reigns supreme in popularity? We've curated a list of iconic wars spanning from ancient times to modern conflicts, including legendary showdowns from movies, books, and more. Now it's your turn to make history! Raise your banners, rally your troops, and join the fray by voting for your favorite war, or suggest a missing contender worthy of recognition. Ready your weapons, strategize your moves, and let the battle for the most popular war begin! Engage with fellow history and war enthusiasts, compare perspectives, and watch as the rankings shift in real time. Dive into the heart of the action and let your voice be heard – who knows, your choice may just emerge victorious!

What Is the Most Popular War?

  1. 1
    World War II
    LordLiberty · CC BY-SA 4.0
    This war involved almost every nation and resulted in the deaths of millions of people. It had a profound impact on the world and changed the course of history.
    World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved many countries around the world, with the two main opposing military alliances being the Allies and the Axis powers. The war was primarily fought between Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan on one side, and the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and China on the other. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, resulting in the deaths of approximately 70-85 million people.
    • Duration: 1939-1945
    • Main Opposing Alliances: Allies vs Axis powers
    • Countries Involved: Multiple countries around the world
    • Main Axis Powers: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan
    • Main Allied Powers: United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and China
    World War II in other rankings
  2. 2
    This was a particularly controversial war that lasted for almost 20 years. It was fought between communist forces in North Vietnam and the United States and its allies in South Vietnam.
    The Vietnam War was a conflict that took place in Vietnam from 1955 to 1975. It was a protracted and costly war fought between North Vietnam, supported by the Soviet Union and China, and South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other anti-communist allies. The war arose from the resistance of communist North Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh, against the government of South Vietnam, which was seen as a puppet regime of the United States. The conflict resulted in large-scale military operations, guerrilla warfare, and significant loss of life on both sides.
    • Duration: 20 years (1955-1975)
    • Location: Vietnam
    • Primary Parties: North Vietnam, South Vietnam, United States
    • Supporting Parties: Soviet Union, China
    • Casualties: Estimates range from 1.5 to 3.5 million deaths
  3. 3
    Korean War
    Unknown Marine · Public domain
    This war was fought between North and South Korea, with the support of the United States and China respectively. It resulted in the division of Korea into two separate countries.
    The Korean War was a military conflict that took place from 1950 to 1953 on the Korean Peninsula. It was fought between North Korea, supported by China and the Soviet Union, and South Korea, supported by the United States and other United Nations countries. The war began when North Korea invaded South Korea in an attempt to reunify the peninsula under Communist rule.
    • Duration: June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953
    • Location: Korean Peninsula
    • Parties involved: North Korea, China, Soviet Union vs South Korea, United States, United Nations forces
    • Casualties: 2.5 million total
    • Outcome: Armistice agreement, resulting in the continued division of Korea
  4. 4
    World War I
    Hohum · Public domain
    This war was fought between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers and marked the end of the era of European dominance. It resulted in the deaths of millions of people and the redrawing of national borders.
    World War I, also known as the Great War, was a global conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918. It involved major powers from around the world and was primarily fought in Europe, although it also spread to other regions. The war was triggered by a complex web of political alliances, imperial ambitions, and an escalating arms race. It is considered one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, resulting in millions of deaths and widespread devastation on both sides.
    • Duration: 1914-1918
    • Primary Location: Europe
    • Countries Involved: Over 30 countries participated, including major powers such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.
    • Casualties: An estimated 8.5 million military deaths and over 13 million civilian deaths.
    • Trench Warfare: The war saw the widespread use of trench warfare, where soldiers battled from elaborate systems of trenches dug into the ground.
    World War I in other rankings
  5. 5
    This was a conflict between Iraq and a coalition of countries led by the United States. It was fought to liberate Kuwait, which had been invaded by Iraq.
    The Gulf War, also known as the Persian Gulf War, was a conflict that occurred from August 1990 to February 1991. It was triggered by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which led to an international military response to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait and protect the integrity of other Gulf States.
    • Duration: August 1990 - February 1991
    • Location: Primarily in the Gulf region, with operations extending to Saudi Arabia and Iraq
    • Casualties: Estimated 20,000 to 35,000 military personnel killed (varies by source); 100,000+ civilian deaths
    • Coalition Forces: Led by the United States, with participation from 34 countries including the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Australia
    • Iraqi Forces: Estimated 750,000 troops including conscripts
  6. 6
    This was a conflict that began in 2003 and lasted for several years. It was fought between the United States and its allies and Iraq, with the goal of removing Saddam Hussein from power.
    The Iraq War was a conflict that took place from 2003 to 2011 in Iraq. It was a protracted armed conflict between the United States-led coalition forces and Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime, which had ruled the country for nearly 24 years. The war resulted in the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, but it also led to significant political, social, and economic instability in Iraq.
    • Duration: 2003-2011
    • Location: Iraq
    • Main Parties: United States-led coalition forces VS Ba'athist regime
    • Motivation: Alleged weapons of mass destruction, counterterrorism, regime change
    • Casualties: Estimates vary, but several hundred thousand deaths including civilians, soldiers, and insurgents
  7. 7
    This was a conflict that began after the September 11 attacks, and was fought primarily between the United States and its allies and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
    The Afghanistan War, also known as the War in Afghanistan, is an ongoing conflict that began in 2001.
    • Start Date: October 7, 2001
    • Location: Afghanistan
    • Parties Involved: United States, NATO, Afghan government, Taliban, and other insurgent groups
    • Casualties: Estimated 157,000+ deaths (combined military and civilian)
    • Duration: Over 19 years (as of 2020)
  8. 8
    American Civil War
    Excel23 · CC0
    This was a war fought between the United States and the Confederate States of America. It was fought from 1861 to 1865 and resulted in the abolition of slavery in the United States.
    The American Civil War was a significant armed conflict that took place in the United States from 1861 to 1865. Also known as the War Between the States or the Civil War, it occurred primarily due to the issue of slavery and the divide between the Northern states (Union) and the Southern states (Confederacy). It remains one of the most impactful and deadliest wars in American history.
    • Duration: 1861-1865
    • Location: Primarily in the United States, with battles taking place across Southern and some Northern states.
    • Opposing Sides: Union (Northern states) vs. Confederacy (Southern states)
    • Casualties: Approximately 620,000 military deaths, with an estimated total of 750,000+ deaths including civilians.
    • Causes: Primarily the issue of slavery, states' rights, and disputes over economic policies.
    American Civil War in other rankings
  9. 9
    Russo-Japanese War
    Original uploader and author was Dustandshadow at en.wikipedia · Public domain
    This was a war fought between Russia and Japan in 1904 and 1905. It was fought over territorial disputes in East Asia and marked the first time an Asian power defeated a European power in a modern war.
    The Russo-Japanese War was a conflict that took place between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan from 1904 to 1905. It was fought primarily over control of Manchuria and Korea. The war marked a significant turning point in modern warfare as it was the first time an Asian power defeated a European power in a major conflict. The conflict ended with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by President Theodore Roosevelt of the United States.
    • Duration: 1904-1905
    • Location: Primarily Manchuria and Korea
    • Participating Countries: Russian Empire, Empire of Japan
    • Cause: Territorial and economic disputes
    • Outcome: Japanese victory, Treaty of Portsmouth
  10. 10
    This was a conflict fought between the United States and Spain in 1898. It was fought over the issue of Cuban independence and resulted in the United States gaining control of several territories, including Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
    The Spanish-American War was a conflict that took place between April and August 1898. It was fought between the United States and Spain, primarily over Spain's colonial possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
    • Duration: April 1898 - August 1898
    • Location: Primarily in the Caribbean and the Pacific
    • Cause: Dispute over the independence of Cuba, explosion of USS Maine
    • Major Battles: Battle of Manila Bay, Battle of Santiago de Cuba
    • Outcome: Treaty of Paris, Spain cedes Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States

Missing your favorite war?


Ranking factors for popular war

  1. Scale of the conflict
    It is important to consider how widespread and impactful the conflict was. Larger wars that involved numerous countries and caused significant destruction and loss of life are more likely to be considered popular.
  2. Historical significance
    Wars that had a significant impact on world history, such as World War II or the American Civil War, are often considered more popular than smaller, less significant wars.
  3. Societal impact
    Wars that had a lasting impact on society, such as the Vietnam War which changed the way American people viewed their government and foreign policy, are often considered more popular.
  4. Public opinion
    Wars that were popular or unpopular at the time can influence how they are remembered and ranked in history.
  5. Representation in media and culture
    Wars that have been highly depicted in movies, books, and other forms of media are often more popularly remembered.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular war. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or war is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 142 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each war once every 24 hours. The rank of each war is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular war

War has been a part of human history since ancient times, and throughout the centuries, countless conflicts have shaped the world we live in today. From the Trojan War to the World Wars, there have been many wars that have left their mark on history. But which war is the most popular? The answer to this question may depend on who you ask. Some people might argue that the American Civil War is the most popular, while others might say that World War II holds that distinction. Still, others might point to conflicts like the Vietnam War or the Korean War as being the most well-known. Regardless of which war you consider to be the most popular, one thing is certain: wars have a profound impact on society and culture. They shape our political systems, influence our art and literature, and have a lasting effect on the lives of those who experience them. As we continue to reflect on the history of war, it's important to remember the human cost of these conflicts and strive for peace in the future.

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