Civil Wars Since 1945

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In the 1990s, about twenty civil wars were occurring concurrently during an average year, a rate about ten times the historical average since the 19th century. However, the rate of new civil wars had not increased appreciably; the drastic rise in the number of ongoing wars after World War II was a result of the tripling of the average duration of civil wars to over four years.[20] This increase was a result of the increased number of states, the fragility of states formed after 1945, the decline in interstate war, and the Cold War rivalry.[21] Following World War II, the major European powers divested themselves of their colonies at an increasing rate: the number of ex-colonial states jumped from about 30 to almost 120 after the war. The rate of state formation leveled off in the 1980s, at which point few colonies remained.[22] More states also meant more states in which to have long civil wars. Hironaka statistically measures the impact of the increased number of ex-colonial states as increasing the post-WWII incidence of civil wars by +165% over the pre-1945 number.[23] While the new ex-colonial states appeared to follow the blueprint of the idealized state - centralized government, territory enclosed by defined borders, and citizenry with defined rights -, as well as accessories such as a national flag, an anthem, a seat at the United Nations and an official economic policy, they were in actuality far weaker than the Western states they were modeled after.[24] In Western states, the structure of governments closely matched states' actual capabilities, which had been arduously developed over centuries. The development of strong administrative structures, in particular those related to extraction of taxes, is closely associated with the intense warfare between predatory European states in the 17th and 18th centuries, or in Charles Tilly's famous formulation: "War made the state and the state made war".[25] For example, the formation of the modern states of...
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