Suppose They Threw World War III and Nobody Came?
World wars are difficult to start, costly to end, and even when no one wants one, generally everyone can see one coming a mile away. We are not, despite what you may have heard on the news, about to stumble into World War III over Iran.
While we have but two wars bearing the title "World War," by my count there have been no fewer than four -- five, if you stretch the tiniest bit to include the Cold War.
The first was the Seven Years War (1756-1763). Seemingly mild by the 20th-century's gruesome standards, the 7YW pitted global coalitions -- one led by Britain, the other by France -- in an almost decade-long fight spanning five continents. Even without the benefit of 250-plus years worth of hindsight, it was apparent even then that the Seven Years War was a century in the making. Britain and France rubbed elbows more and more frequently and violently as their colonial possessions grew closer and closer together. Yet if the conflict failed to make any changes to the map of Europe, that doesn't mean it was inconsequential. For one, the taxes imposed by Britain on her American colonists to help pay for the war was one of the root causes of the American Revolution.