The Strangest Wars in History

  • The Kettle war of 1784
The Kettle war of 1784
FLHC FBD44/ Alamy Stock Photo

“There never was a good war or a bad peace,” Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1783. Wise words indeed, and very true. Unfortunately, humans too often find themselves at war, as millennia of conflict can attest — the earliest known war was in Sudan a staggering 13,400 years ago. 

Among the many wars fought in human history, some stand out for their peculiar nature, whether due to the strange events that provoked the conflict or for the lack of any actual fighting. Here are 10 of the strangest wars in history, from the 14th century to modern times. 

Photo credit: Heritage Images/ Hulton Fine Art Collection via Getty Images

The War of the Oaken Bucket

The War of the Oaken Bucket certainly has one of the strangest names in the history of conflict, and it does involve a bucket — just not as prominently as the myth would suggest. According to legend, the war began one night in 1325 after soldiers from Modena crept into Bologna and stole the oaken pail from the municipal well. In reality, the war was the culmination of ongoing tensions that had existed between the Italian city-states for 300 years. There was a bucket involved, but not until the end of the conflict, when Modenese soldiers took the municipal bucket as a trophy of war. 

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