Wars and Conflicts

Since Congress has the sole power to declare war, the President cannot declare war without its approval.  However, a President may send troops to battle without an official war declaration (i.e. Vietnam and Korea).  The last formal declaration of war approved by Congress was during World War II.  Since that time, Congress has agreed to resolutions authorizing the use of military force.  You will find brief descriptions of recent conflicts, selected past conflicts, and formally declared wars listed below.  If you are interested in learning more about a particular war or conflict, you can read additional information by clicking on the blue button.

Global War on Terror

On the morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four airliners all bound for California.  None of the flights had any survivors. A total of 2,977 victims and the hijackers perished in the attacks.

Vietnam War

Between 1945 and 1954, the Vietnamese fought the fight for freedom against France, backed by U.S. funds.  In 1973, after five years of negotiations, an agreement was reached. U.S. forces were withdrawn from Vietnam and U.S. POW's were released. In April of 1975, South Vietnam surrendered to the North, and the country was reunited.  The Vietnam War was an extremely costly war for the United States resulting in over 58,000 American deaths.

Korean War

The Korean War began when the North Korean Communist Army invaded the Southern half of Korea in 1950. The North Korean side was heavily backed by the Soviet Union, allowing them to quickly take control of South Korea. That is when U.S. forces stepped in. For a relatively short war, the American's suffered heavy losses including the lives of almost 40,000 soldiers.

World War II

The Second World War spanned from the late 1930s until the mid-1940s. World War II remains the largest armed conflict in history, geographically spanning the entire world and including more countries than any other previous war. This war was also the first time that nuclear weapons came into play as well as other powerful new weapons.

World War I

The Great War, as it was called at the time, was fought between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers during the years of 1914 through 1918. The Allied side consisted of France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and eventually, the United States; while the Central Powers were represented by Austria-Hungary, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire. The war officially started in Europe upon the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, in 1914. As a result of World War I, more than 10 million military deaths were recorded. On the American side alone, 323,000 military deaths occurred.

Civil War

The Civil War began in 1861 between the free North of the United States and the slaveholding South. After the election of President Abraham Lincoln, eleven southern states seceded from the Union in an act of defiance towards a unified country. President Lincoln deemed these actions illegal and sent U.S. troops to the South to crush the rebellion.  Over the four-year period that the Civil War was fought, 600,000 soldiers were killed and much of the South was left ravaged.

Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War was an 1898 conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America.  The war originated in the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain, which began in February 1895. The Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish-American War was signed on December 10, 1898.

Index of Major Awards

Home of Heroes continues to update our website content for online visitors. Here is a resource that can help you find a recipient of a major award. This information is provided in a PDF document which enables you to search the content by several search terms - name, branch of service, war/conflict.

Search Major Military Award List (PDF)