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Limited War and Unlimited War. Historians have classified the epoch of world wars as either limited or unlimited (total war). The classification is often based on the objectives sought in the war, the tactics deployed and the scale of the war. The eighteenth century up to 1792 is often referred to as a period of limited warfare.
This does not mean that the period had less casualties or the war was not prolonged but suggest that the war were fought on small scale with cautious tactics and limited objectives. Generally, the eighteenth century wars did not involve the whole societies neither were they aimed at annihilating or conquering the whole nation. During this time armies were the properties of the dynasties and not countries and largely the whole masses were not concerned with the war. This period is distinct from the subsequent Napoleon wars, Franco Prussian wars or even the American civil war.
In summary, the unlimited war period had seen a new period when there was a closer relationship between the rulers and the subject compared to the limited warfare period. The unlimited war was marked by advanced tactics, developed artillery, advanced army organization, professional army and unlimited objectives. In contrary, limited wars were cauterized by limited objectives and scale. The unlimited war heralded new tactics and new strategies. The unlimited wars also saw an improved motivation in joining the army and a commitment to war by the whole nation. Despite the differences, both of the war periods had serious casualties and were equally prolonged.
Curning Eli. To What Extent Is It True To Say That The Eighteenth Century Up To 1792 Was The Age Of Limited Warfare? November 8, 2011. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/38301555/To-what-extent-was-the-18th-century-an-age-of-limited-warfare> Web.
Drew, Dennis. Eighteenth-Century warfare in the nuclear age. Alabama. Air University Press. 2001. Print.
Tetreault, Mary & Lipschutz, Ronnie. Global politics as if people mattered. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. 2009. Print.