The situation I am asking about arises when an aggressor attacks a country, occupies parts of its territory, but then the side under attack manages to mount a defense and drive the aggressor back to the former state boundaries. At this point, the side previously under attack has the choice between :

  • continuing into the territory of the former invader or...
  • stopping at the border and declaring the conflict to be settled

WWII was definitely not "stop at the border": the attack continued over the former boundaries of Nazi Germany up to Berlin. Conversely, NATO driving Iraqi forces out of Kuwait was "stop at the border" and appears to have worked.

How frequent is the "stop at the border" policy? Is it a new invention of the 20th century or has it been applied many times in the past? What is the most typical outcome?

  • 3
    The Korean conflict and the Vietnam war, neither of which officially was a "war", are two other examples. Korea appears to be a "stop at the border" conflict that apparently worked in the sense that the border has remained unchanged for over 60 years. Vietnam was a stop at the border conflict that didn't work out, at least not for the South Vietnamese, the US and their allies. Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 11:37
  • 5
    I’m voting to close this question because it is far too broad as worded. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 12:00
  • 1
    The coalition driving Iraqi forces out of Kuwait was not a "stop at the border" conflict, as there were many battles fought on Iraqi soil. In general, a war will be fought until certain political goals are met. These goals will almost always involve a cease-fire agreement, which can be achieved at any point. In WW1, there were still German troops in France when Germany surrendered. In WW2, it took the fall of Berlin to force the surrender of Germany.
    – xyldke
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 12:46
  • 6
    I would say "stop at the border" is the most typical outcome a lot of war were some lord assembles an host the army is defeated by the defenders and the wars end. Counter invasion are costly. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 12:48
  • 2
    Frame-challenge: you are asking (I assume) to compare Russia/Ukraine to other conflicts. This is impossible, because there have been no other major conflicts where a primary combatant is fighting on its own border and is a nuclear one.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


The Falklands War. This was, of course, simplified by the border being a sea border.

  • As of 2021, that conflict is not yet over. It's a seemingly perpetual stalemate, like the Korean conflict. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 12:14
  • I'm not the downvoter, by the way. That said, this is but one example of the huge number of stalemates that have occurred over several millennia of human conflict. Sometimes it's best to leave an overly broad question unanswered. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 12:20
  • 1
    I was in Argentina for several months less than a year after the conflict ended. The conflict was a brazen attempt to distract attention from an utterly failing economy, with the failure resulted in the downfall of a military dictatorship. Argentina had to add four zeros to their currency, and because that wasn't enough, they added two more. A not quite old million peso note was the exact same shape, size, color, and values as their new one peso note. That said, using the word "Falklands" was a bad idea at the time, and it apparently still is. The correct term ls "Las Malvinas" in Argentina. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 12:37
  • I do not set this as accepted so far but a notable case however it ended (looks like a "frozen war").
    – Stančikas
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 13:07
  • 1
    Not only was this a no-invade and no-strike-over-the-border, the conflict was initially considered limited to an exclusion zone around the Falklands. The sinking of Belgrano was somewhat controversial for that reason. So there was an expectation by some that UK should not target Argentina ships participating in the invasion if they were outside that 200mi MEZ, not even within Argentina proper. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 21:36

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