BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY
Some might argue that all wars are pretty dumb, being as they are final resort to diplomatic negotiation. When we look back on history with the advantage of hindsight, we can see how much of the world’s violence and war might have been prevented with a little common sense and diplomacy. However, certain wars are simply absurd. Here are a few wars that started with a strange misunderstanding, overreaction, or a drunken blunder.
The Battle of Kororareka in New Zealand
Although Maori chief Hone Heke was one of the first to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840, he wasn’t by any means a happy camper. He objected to the change of the capital city to Auckland as well as changes to customs tariffs. In 1844, British troops were deployed in the New Zealand town of Kororareka. They flew the Union Jack flag over town, which offended Chief Hone Heke, who rode into town and cut down the flagpole. The troops erected a new flag pole, which was promptly chopped down by the chief.
The British assembled armed guards to keep watch over their flag on the fourth erection. Heke and his tribe returned to town in 1845 and murdered the locals in cold blood. For another ten months, the dispute dragged on. The British were outnumbered and outsmarted by the natives, as is common of these wars, but they were able to send for reinforcements, and finally the British defeated Heke, but the old chief had made his point.
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The War of Jenkin’s Ear
The Jenkin’s Ear War is said to have started when English privateer Robert Jenkins stormed into parliament waving his severed ear and demanding war with Spain. It’s unclear if the tale about the ear in parliament is true or not, but the war was unquestionably sparked by the loss of Jenkin’s car. He said that a Spanish coast guard who boarded his ship removed his ear. As a result, the war started primarily in the Caribbean, expanding across the Florida-Georgia frontier. The war lasted from 1739 to 1748, and it resulted in the amputation of several more ears, limbs, and other body parts.
The Battle of Karansebes
In this bizarre drunken mix-up in 1788, two factions of the Austrian army scouting for Turkish forces collided. The Austrian hussars were preparing to set up camp when they wanted to try some schnapps they had obtained from a group of gypsies. Soon after, some infantry from the same army arrived and asked if they could join the group. Not willing to share their booze, much arguing ensued and one soldier fired a shot.
Bad mistake, as the hussars and infantry began battling with one another. To add to the confusion, some infantry started shouting “Turks Turks Turks!” The same army’s factions proceeded to fire at each other, believing they were firing at the enemy. When the Turks arrived two days later, they found the dead, wounded, and hungover Austrian soldiers and took Karansebes with ease.