There have been countless wars throughout history, but how many of them have been for a good reason? On several occasions, wars have been started for stupid reasons and ultimately end in a bad way. For instance In 4th Century BC the Persian Empire declared war on Greece and invaded. They had a vast empire that spanned almost half the known world and what happened… the war led to the complete destruction of the Persian Empire at the hands of Alexander the Great. Again in 1198 the Fourth Crusade rode off to the Middle East, fighting for Christianity and God, and what happened? They ended up losing the city of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire, giving their enemy a powerful and rich city that controlled a large gateway to Europe and in finality ending the Crusade.
So without further ado I introduce three of the stupidest wars fought. Stupid in respects to why they started and what happened.
The American Invasion of Russia
There were fears that the major ports in north west Russia – Murmansk and Archangel – would fall to Germany after Russia left the war. Millions of dollars of war supplies, mostly sent from the United States to Russia while they were still in the war, were stored in the docks and warehouses of Archangel.
The American force was sent in and managed to push the Bolsheviks out of the city and back south. The experience in Siberia for the soldiers was miserable. The force met problems with fuel, ammunition, supplies and food. Horses used to warm climates either were unable to function in sub-zero Russia or died. Water-cooled machine guns froze and became useless. The force sent to stop the red army became a shambles and overall over 400 men died from complications and warfare.
The Flag Staff War
The war started in the small town of Kororareka. The British occupying forces believed that no one would mind if they hoisted the colours of the Empire in the centre of town (the town was full of brothels, bars and unsavoury businesses). So up went the flag and the townsfolk thought nothing more if it. However, the indigenous people of the island did not take kindly to this proclamation that the land was theirs, so Hone Heke, the chief of some of the natives, rode into town and cut down the flag pole. Believing that the flag was a symbol of the British Empires control over the island, when they put up another flag, he cut it down again. In total, he chopped down four flags before the British government declared that this wasn’t on and sent missionaries to teach him a lesson. On 11 March 11 1845, Heke and his tribe descended into the town with unprecedented savagery, butchering the townsfolk and murdering the troops based there. The British Army retaliated by attacking the island and after 10 months of brutal fighting with the natives. Hone Heke was defeated.
The Golden Stool War
In 1896, the Ashanti king had been exiled, leaving his people and precious throne empty. Being a nasty British Governor (as most governors were at the time) Sir Frederick Hodgson, who was in charge of the Golden Coast, marched into the Ashanti lands and declared himself ruler. He also declared that they should bring out the golden stool so he may sit on it. This was not a wonderful thing to say to the Ashanti people who believed the seat to hold wondrous power and be the source of life, death and birth. So as you can expect they were displeased by Hodgson’s threats and instead of giving him the stool, rallied behind the Queen Mother, Yaa Asantewaa, and annihilated a majority of the British forces. The survivors barricaded themselves in their fort and for three months were under siege by a force of over 12,000 men.
The British sent a relief army under the command of Major James Willcocks who beat back the attacking army, but lost a large amount of men in the process.
Willcocks then spent the majority of the next summer burning down Ashanti villages.
Images courtesy of Total War and the New Zealand & Ivory Coast Tourist Boards