Defining Historical Battles

As a student of conflict I am always finding articles about warfare and I found this one about the world’s most defining battles….

We take certain things in history for granted: Western civilization’s ancient Greek origins, Rome’s stunning domination of the world for hundreds of years or the democracies which have sprung up all over the world etc.

But the things that seem natural now in retrospect (ancient Greek city-states’ progressive concepts, Rome’s pragmatism and efficiency which also translated to the military plane, democracy’s widespread adoption), might not have happened at all!

Because the fate of millions and humanity as a whole can be altered irrevocably by the actions of a small group of individuals or even just one individual. For example, there is a very strong possibility that Nazi Germany would have won the war if it had not chosen to invade Russia, a decision made by Hitler and a handful of his closest that resulted in crippling economic and political consequences for his regime, along with one of the most disastrous military campaign in history.

Do you agree with this list?  I think the defeat of the viking Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge would have made my list and the Vikings conquering Paris would have also made the list….although they withdrew after being paid by the French nobles.

What say you?  Any battles come to mind?


15 thoughts on “Defining Historical Battles

  1. Definitely Tours. Also Constantine at Malvian Bridge and result Christianity and two storms 1274, 1281 stop invasion Japan by Mongols. WW2 Battle of Britain 1940. Stalingrad and Midway. Coral Sea. US history, Yorktown and Gettysburg.

  2. An interesting list, and from an English point of view Hastings was the battle that decided the fate of this country more than any other.
    I would perhaps add Waterloo, which secured the restoration of the French royalty, and ended the revolutionary spirit and the ambitions of Napoleon once and for all. Also Gettysburg, which broke the heart of The Confederacy, damaged that trust in Lee as an unbeatable commander, and ensured they would never threaten the North again. I could go on, but it would become an article, not a comment. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

      1. If Harold had lost at Stamford Bridge, the Danes would have had to deal with the Normans, who had already sailed.
        An interesting ‘what if’.

      2. If you look hard enough in Europe, many people were of Viking descent. Those guys got around! The area where I live was part of the Danelaw for centuries. We still have places with Viking names locally, like Hindolveston, Toftrees, Toftwood, Kelling, Haveringland, and Honingham. Many people using the popular DNA testing kits bought online are surprised to find that they are mostly Viking. 🙂
        Best wishes, Pete.

      3. `Not bad for a culture that only had about 400 years of hay day, huh? Kinda like the amount of people that have Mongol descent. chuq

  3. The ongoing battle of the sexes (as defined as the constant struggle between man and woman). No one will win and no one will loose but it’s constantly being fought and constantly has casualties (as currently being realized).
    Admittedly not as historically “romantic” as your suggestions to the list… nor will it ever be decisive one way or the other. But you know, swords, guns, missiles.. are all extensions of a penis. You decide.

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