The 10 Longest Wars of All Time

Numerous armed conflicts have taken place throughout history, yet none tested the patience of the contending parties as much as the longest wars of all time. For whatever reason, the wars presented in the following list dragged on for years before a winner could be declared or a ceasefire announced. This not only resulted in countless unnecessary casualties, but delayed the inevitable to such an extent that nobody really profited from winning.


In addition to the loss of human lives, the longest wars of all time caused a great deal of destruction and stalled economic development. Just imagine what would happen if the most militarily powerful countries in the world today, which you can read about in one of our previous posts, declared war on each other. It goes without saying that the devastation caused by such a conflict would be tremendous. Nevertheless, once a conflict begins, it is very hard to bring it to an end, especially when both sides are fully committed to achieving their goals.

Although one would expect the longest wars of all time to be conflicts between two equal sides, this has rarely been the case. In fact, military strength has as little to do with the duration of a conflict, as does the number of parties involved. Despite their huge scale and the equal distribution of force amongst its contenders, you will notice the absence of both World Wars in the list presented below, suggesting duration is determined by other factors.

Contrary to what most would think, the longest wars of all time were not necessarily the most devastating. In fact, the scope of the destruction left in their wake was sometimes quite small, since most of them took place centuries ago. Naturally, the lack of technology made things more balanced, leading to longer, but also less deadly wars. Now then, let’s check out the list, beginning with a very controversial war from the latter half of the last century.

10. The Vietnam War

When the US government began supporting South Vietnamese forces in 1956, few anticipated what would follow. The impressive resistance offered by the Vietcong and the inability of both sides to come to an understanding, resulted in a war that lasted 19 years and claimed millions of lives.

The longest wars of all time heads from 1960’s Vietnam to the ancient past for a war that lasted 50 years. Find out more on the next page.