As of June 26, 2018 is the United States at war? The interpretation of the term "war" is left solely to the individual who answers the question.

If the answer is "no", what is the date of the cessation of the last war in which the United States was a belligerent?

If the answer is "yes", who are the specific belligerents that the United States in engaged in war with as of June 26, 2018?

  • @Schwern The plain meaning of the term "war" is adequate. That is why the term was used. If you cannot provide the narrowest definition possible, to the exclusion of any other definition, then what you ask is not possible. Thus, the reason for the votes to "close" are not based on the the question itself being too broad, but rather, the result of asking the question by necessity results in a broad examination of the subject matter, which is the purpose of the question; whatever the answers may be cannot be disputed. If you insist on a definition, then define one, and exclude others. Possible? Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 23:31
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    @guest271314 I'm not asking you to provide the narrowest definition possible, or any definition. I don't think anyone else here is either. What I'm asking is that you to clarify for others what you mean when you are asking about "war" so they don't have to dig through the comments and to avoid unnecessary confusion. "The interpretation of the term 'war' is left solely to the individual whom answers the question" is, IMO, fine. It clarifies what you're asking so we don't have to have a definition argument. Click the edit button and add that one sentence and it's good.
    – Schwern
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 23:40
  • @Schwern There is no need to edit the question from perspective here. The arguments made for an edit being necessary thus far have not been persuasive in the least bit. If your perspective is that comment would clarify the context of the question, then feel free to edit the question to include that sentence. Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 23:41
  • @guest271314 Done. That's all that was necessary was to provide some clarity for people reading the question and giving it the best chance of getting good answers. Next time, save us the time and grief, please.
    – Schwern
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 23:49
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


It depends on what you mean by "at war".

If you mean a state of war formally declared by Congress, no. The last war the US formally declared was against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania June 5th, 1942 as part of World War II. World War II was not a single declaration of war, but separate ones against Japan (Dec 8, 1941), Germany, (Dec 11, 1941 in response to their declaration of war against the US), Italy (same day, same reason) and finally Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania June 5th, 1942.

The last formally declared war ended with the Treaty of San Francisco making peace with Japan coming into effect April 28th, 1952.

But it's not so simple. When a war formally "ends" also depends on how you define ending. For example, Bulgaria signed an Armistice with the Allies Oct 28, 1944 ending their fighting, but the peace treaties were signed in Paris in 1947. Similarly, Japan broadcast their acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration August 15th, 1945 ending the fighting, they formally Japan surrendered unconditionally in Sept 2nd, 1945, but a peace treaty wasn't signed until Sept 8th, 1951, and it didn't come into force until April 28th, 1952. One can argue that the war against Germany didn't formally end until the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany Sept 12, 1990.

If you mean an extended military engagement authorized by Congress, then the US is involved in quite a few. These are all authorized under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) of Sept 14, 2001 and broadly called "The War On Terror". What is being "at war" and what is "supporting" somebody else at war rapidly gets fuzzy. Similarly, the line between "counter-terrorism", "counter-insurgency", "counter-trafficking", and straight up getting involved in a civil war is also blurry.

If you mean military engagements authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolutions and funded by Congress, none that I'm aware of are ongoing. The last completed UN operation the US was officially involved in was intervention in the Libyan Civil War of 2011 authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1973. It ended October 31, 2011 with the destruction of Gaddafi's regime.

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    Where does the Korean War sit under this framework. North Korea regularly makes the lack of a formal treaty ending it as both something they want from the rest of the world and uses it as justification for acting belligerently? Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 20:53
  • Whether UNSCR 1973 authorised military engagement is debatable. UNSCR 1973 called for a ceasefire, which military engagement is not.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 20:58
  • Why are you taking a the first person perspective in the bulleted list and the paragraph directly above it? From context, I imagine you mean "We Americans", but that is not explicitly stated.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 21:26
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    @DanNeely Its another "how you define it" things. While North and South Korea are technically still at war, the US never declared war on North Korea. We went in under UNSCR 84 which ended with the armistice July 27, 1953.
    – Schwern
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 21:27
  • @gerrit Just being sloppy. I fixed what I could see. Please edit anymore you catch.
    – Schwern
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 21:30

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