War, first resort in conflict resolution before opposing nations are forced to engage in diplomacy. Hoping to prevent a drawn-out, nightmarish round of statesmanship that could result in hundreds of thousands of lives saved, two or more embittered nations first try to overcome their differences by deploying their armed forces to kill as many of the other side’s soldiers as possible. If the unrelenting use of lethal force breaks down and warring parties find themselves on the brink of diplomacy—a tragic scenario both sides work to avoid at all costs—they are left with no other choice than to abandon their wholesale slaughter and meet face to face to civilly divide up contested territory. Often, however, a clear victor will emerge before war spirals into an all-out ceasefire, saving that nation’s citizens from ever having to witness the horrors of nonviolent compromise.

From The Onion Book Of Known Knowledge