Conflict took place in every year of the 20th Century; the world was free from the violence caused by war for only very short periods of time. It has been estimated that 187 million people died as a result of war from 1900 to the present. The actual number is likely far higher.
The following list highlights just some of the conflicts that have impacted the lives of people from the United Kingdom, the British Empire and the Commonwealth since 1900. The museum records and preserves stories from many of these conflicts amongst its collections, which you can search here.
You will find that each conflict is described with a set of dates, which implies a defined ‘beginning and end’. While this is useful to help with classification, it is important to note that the causes and consequences of individual wars or conflicts extend far beyond these narrow ranges. Frequently, there are wider issues which connect many of them together; exploring and documenting these links through our collections is an ongoing process.
Boer War, 1899–1902
Third Afghan War, 1919
Irish Civil War, 1922–1923
Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939
Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-1939
Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine, 1944-1948
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1948 onwards
Vietnam War, 1955–1975
Sierra Leone Civil War, 1991–2002
Kosovo War, 1998–1999
Libya Conflict, 2011–present