total war

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

total war

the form of modern warfare in which whole populations may be subject to mobilization either as soldiers or as labour, and in which whole populations are regarded as legitimate targets. Air warfare is a significant feature of modern warfare compared with the more limited conventional warfare of previous eras. However, the onset of mass CITIZENSHIP, and nationalist ideologies and citizen armies is equally significant.

Total War


an imperialist war that subordinates to its own interests the entire life and economy of a nation, using the crudest means to defeat and destroy both the armed forces and the civilian population of the enemy. The theory of total war was first set forth in 1935 by the German general E. Ludendorff. It became the basis of fascist Germany’s doctrine of war and was applied by the fascist Germans during World War II.

References in periodicals archive ?
For the latest news about this title and the other Total War games in development, visit http://www.
Young girls carrying out suicide attacks with hand grenades in the mountain passes is another of the insanities of total war.
But in Total War (through October 18, 2008) he goes the long-winded route for his first breakout work--a meandering pace that is far more tortoise than hare.
The choice, according to Gingrich, is not between "cowardice or total war.
Although it seems paradoxical for total war to follow an enlightened age that aspired to universal peace, Bell draws the connection between the extremes.
Ed Colley raised about $25,000 for his campaign, and Heidt's total war chest was about $5,800.
A World at Total War addresses a series of elements surrounding the issue of total war:
Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire: Total War and Everyday Life in World War I.
Yet it's not total war in the fire ant nest, points out another analyst of social insects.
Grass makes the point that in the wake of total war and the full revelation of Nazi atrocities, Germans became numb--to their guilt and their losses alike.
In uniform and out, they did what was required of them to keep in working order the complex network of financial transactions, which might be described as the nervous system of a free-enterprise economy engaged in total war.
Ayer brilliantly demonstrates this in his portrayal of two Valley counties, Confederate and Federal, separated by some 300 miles but united by the tragedy and waste of total war.