If so, when was the last one? Possibly India-Pakistan or maybe one of Israel’s wars against its neighbors? It seems to me that this is a relic of the past.
Wikipedia has a list: Declaration of War : After World War II
That’s a classic wiki page. I am not all that more informed having read it.
Its not clear at all to me that those are actually formal declarations or not. Also they imply there is a formal body that enforces (or at least monitors) such things “The Claims Commission” (of the Hague Commission, I guess?) but that is as all they say.
They mention the Russo-Georgia war, as an example of declared war but I can’t find any reference to a formal declaration of war during that conflict.
I agree, especially the items on the list not even labeled as ‘declarations of war’. And the footnote they give for including Panama v US in 1983, albeit ‘existence of a state of war’ not ‘declaration of war’ is an article arguing that Bush distorted what Noriega said and it wasn’t a declaration of war. I also find the footnote article for the Russia-Georgia war to be weak in backing up the claim of ‘declaration of war’.
Also I’d note the various cases of heated rhetoric when leaders of one country have said stuff done by their rivals was an ‘act of war’ then there wasn’t any war.
I think one can basically dismiss the items on that list after the first three as not really answering the question. The Arab powers did AIUI formally declare war on Israel in 1948, and since no peace treaty with any of them till after the 1973 war I guess reasonable to view it as one off and on declared war. For Ogaden and Iran-Iraq cases I don’t know and don’t trust the article based on how it’s stretching things in other cases. Maybe somebody else knows if those were truly comparable to WWII-style declarations.
Even in the case of the Arab states… they may have declared war, but since they didn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, it can’t be said that they declared war on Israel.
In a way, a declaration of war is a sign of respect - it implies a conflict between equals. That may be why countries hardly do it any more.
I’m not seeing this. The fact that I deny Israel’s right to exist* doesn’t mean that I deny that Israel does, in fact, exist. On this view a denial of Israel’s right to exist would be not so much a barrier to declaring war on Israel as a reason for doing so.
*This is a hypothetical!
for gulf war one didn’t we formally declare war ?
No. Congress issued a joint resolution authorizing the use of force, but did not “declare war.”
Nevertheless there’s historical precedent for nations deliberately avoiding declarations of war or other recognition so as to downplay the legitimacy of their opponent. During the American Civil War, President Lincoln called out the troops using this indirect language:
The only reference to opposition is “combinations too powerful to be suppressed,” no nation, state or individual called out.
Curious error Lincoln made in putting General Winfield Scott’s “Anaconda Plan” into motion: by declaring a “blockade” of Southern ports, he sent a mixed message to potential rivals Britain and France. Under the practices of the day, a nation only “blockades” the ports of a foreign power. Thus he gave inadvertent recognition to the Confederacy. Also, laws of the day allowed blockade to be “broken” – defeat of the blockading squadron meant a port was considered open to foreign traffic for a set period.
Lincoln should have “closed” the ports, a routine thing nations could do with their own territory, and never used the word blockade. Closed ports are not specifically subject to blockade being broken or lifted. But his inexperience in international affairs led to the now-famous blockade and the consequences (including attempts to break the blockade).
Legally it is. Modern international law attaches no consequences to a declaration of war (or lack thereon); this used to be different. Nowadays what matters is that there are actual armed hostilities taking place; this will be sufficient for the laws of war (nowadays called armed conflict in international law terminology) to kick in.