Estimating the costs of war is a dirty business. Sure governments can tell you how much they spent on tanks, but what about rebuilding costs? What about the lives lost? What about the costs to healthcare systems that struggle to help veterans with PTSD many years down the line? There are so many hidden costs to war that there is absolutely no way to put a price tag on any given conflict. Which is why we won’t (at least not entirely). Rather, this list consists of 25 wars that are quasi ranked according to what historians and political scientists would probably say (although they would undoubtedly argue). These are the 25 most expensive wars in history.
Including the Vietnam War, the Korean War and even the Space Race, the Cold War was a vast and extremely costly period of armament and conflict that cost numerous nations quite a lot in the areas of defense and espionage. To give some hard numbers, the US spent $738 billion (in 2014 dollars) on the Vietnam War and $341 billion (in 2014 dollars) on the Korean War.
Sudanese Civil War
Disease, famine, and displacement are still felt today from this civil war that lasted for nearly half of the 20th century. In terms of 2014 dollars, the last 10 years of war has been estimated to cost the country of Sudan over $100 billion.
Nigerian Civil War
Leading to massive famines and destruction of infrastructure, the Nigerian Civil War drew in numerous international players including the United States and the Soviet Union. The pure financial cost has been estimated to be somewhere in the billions of dollars.
Shaka has been largely credited as a military genius for revolutionizing the way the Zulu kingdom fought their battles. Although he managed to make the Zulus the most powerful tribe in southern Africa, he did so with an iron fist and brutal warfare was one of his trademarks. The effect of his military campaigns on the political and social structure is still seen today.
The Hundred Years War
The most notable conflict of the Middle Ages saw five generations vie for rule in Europe.