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The History of War in Asia

Explores the campaigns of Asia's great historic warriors, such as Genghis Khan, Tamerlane (Timur), and Attila the Hun; also describes the course of more recent wars such as World Wars I and II, the Israeli-Arab Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.
  1. The Korean War (17)
  2. The Shaolin Temple (9)
  3. The Vietnam War (20)

The Battle of Badr, 624 CE
The Battle of Badr in March of 624 CE was small in scale, but it signaled the beginning of Islam's incredible expansion over the next two centuries. The Prophet Muhammad and his followers consolidated their position with a key victory over the people of Mecca.

The Battle of Gaugamela (Arbela)
The Battle of Gaugamela, also known as Arbela, pitted the forces of Alexander the Great against the Achaemenid leader Darius III, in what is now Iran. This pivotal battle set Alexander on the path to conquest of much of southern Asia - and spelled doom for the Achaemenid Empire in Iran.

The Battle of Ayn Jalut, 1260
The Battle of Ayn Jalut (or Ain Jalut) pitted the Mongols under Genghis Khan's grandson Hulagu against Egypt's professional warrior-slave class, the Mamluks.

The First Battle of Panipat
India's pivotal First Battle of Panipat pitted the cavalry of Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire, against the war elephants of Ibrahim Lodi of the Delhi Sultanate.

Profile of the Samurai
Profile of the samurai, medieval Japan's warrior class.

Profile of the Ninja
Spider-like figures in black scuttling over roof-tops in the dark, blades gleaming in their hands... This is the ninja of movies and comic books, but what is the historical reality behind the pop culture icon of The Ninja?

12 Asian Battles That Changed History
You probably haven't heard of most of them, but these little-known Asian battles had a major impact on world history. Mighty empires rose and fell, religions spread and were checked, and great kings led their forces to glory... or ruin.

Battle of Talas River, 751 A.D.
The little-known but pivotal Battle of Talas River in 751 A.D. pitted the expanding Arab Moslem army against the forces of the Tang Dynasty Chinese Empire. China was defeated, which resulted in Central Asia becoming part of the Islamic world, and the diffusion of paper-making technology to the West.

The Battle of Hansan-do, 1592
In 1592, daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent his samurai army to invade Joseon Korea, on the way to conquering Ming China and then India. The Japanese Army never made it past Korea, though, and the naval Battle of Hansan-do was pivotal in turning back Hideyoshi’s troops.

The Battle of Geoktepe
In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Russia conquered Central Asia once and for all. Their most formidable foe was the Akhal Teke tribe of Turkmen (then called Turcomen). Two battles at Geok-tepe, in 1879 and 1881, were key to the Russian colonization of Central Asia.

First Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95
Outline of the First Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95, which Meiji Japan and Qing China fought over control of Joseon Korea.

Samurai Women of Japan
Upper-class women of feudal Japan learned how to use weapons to defend themselves and their homes. Some went much further, though, becoming great warriors in their own right.

5 Legendary Warrior-Women of Asia
Throughout history, the field of war has been dominated by men. Nonetheless, in the face of extra-ordinary challenges, certain brave women have made their mark in battle. Here are five legendary women warriors of ancient times from across Asia.

The Gunpowder Empires
At the dawn of the modern era, the so-called "Gunpowder Empires" of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal dynasties, established themselves with the help of guns and cannons.

History of Nuclear Weapons in Asia
History of nuclear weapons in Asia, site of the world's only war-time use of nuclear weapons that took place during World War II, and home to six nuclear-armed states.

Russo-Japanese War | Quick Facts
Quick facts about the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. Major battles, casualties, and who won?

Warriors, Killers and Spies
Throughout Asian History, certain groups have been famed as warriors, killers or spies. These groups may be based on ethnicity, religion, or just personality attributes, but they could each be deadly in their own way.

Great Powers' Invasions of Afghanistan
Over the past two centuries, great powers including the British Empire, the Soviet Union and the United States have invaded the small Central Asian nation of Afghanistan. Often, the Afghan warriors have sent the invaders home with their tails between their legs.

World War II in Asia
Timeline of World War II in Asia, including the Pacific War but also battles in the Asian interior and the Middle East.

Who Were the Comfort Women?
Who were the comfort women? Learn more about the history of sex slavery during World War II in Asia.

The Mukden Incident
The Mukden Incident or Manchurian Incident of 1931 provided the Imperial Japanese Army with the excuse it needed to invade Manchuria, and wrest control of that territory away from China.

The Fighting Monks of Shaolin Temple vs. Japanese Pirates
Throughout the 1400s and 1500s, Japanese pirate bands raided up and down the Chinese coastline. The imperial army and navy were unable to stop the pirates, so they called in the fighting monks of Shaolin and other temples.

Napalm and Agent Orange in the Vietnam War
US use of napalm and Agent Orange peaked during the Vietnam War, and the controversy over these chemical weapons continues to this day.

Facts on the Iraq War | A Quick Guide to the Second Gulf War
Quick guide to the Iraq War (Second Gulf War), in which a US-led coalition overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

The Sino-Indian War, 1962
In 1962, war broke out between China and India. The Sino-Indian War was mostly about the high mountain border, but also about India's support for the Dalai Lama.

The Marco Polo Bridge Incident
What was the Marco Polo Bridge Incident? Learn more about Japan's excuse for invading China at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War / World War II.

How Did the Huns Impact Europe?
The Huns came out of Central Asia and swept into Europe, and helped bring down the Roman Empire. Learn about all of their effects on Europe here.

Did the Afghan War Help Bring Down the Soviet Union?
Did the war in Afghanistan bring down the Soviet Union? Learn more about the historical controversy here.

What Motivated Japanese Aggression in World War II?
After less than a century of exposure to the outside world, Japan expanded explosively throughout Asia in World War II. It even attacked India and Australia. What prompted this aggression?

The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945
Photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombings in 1945.

What Was the Burma Road?
During the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, Chinese troops fighting the Japanese occupation relied on a slender supply line called the Burma Road.

War Elephants in Asian History
Elephants are the only other species commonly used as combatants, not just transport, in human battles. Learn more about war elephants in Asian History.

The Nanking Massacre, 1937
In 1937, Japan captured the Chinese capital city of Nanking, and carried out mass rape and murder against civilians and POWs. An estimated 200,000 Chinese were brutally killed.

The Mongol Siege of Baghdad
The Golden Age of Islam came to an abrupt and bloody end in 1258, when the Mongols sacked the Abbasid caliph's capital at Baghdad and killed the caliph.

Photos of World War II in the Pacific
Photos from World War II in the Pacific and Asia illustrate major points in the war, including Bataan, Iwo Jima, the Fall of Singapore, and more.

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War
In 1948, the new nation of Israel was created as a Jewish homeland on what had long been Palestinian Arab land. Five Arab nations immediately attacked.

Who Were the Sea Peoples?
Late in the Bronze Age, many advanced Mediterranean cultures suddenly collapsed. Some recorded invaders from the sea before they vanished - the Sea Peoples.

A Short History of Violent Buddhism
Violence and Buddhism seem to be directly opposed to each other, yet history shows that violence is a factor in the lives of monks as well as lay Buddhists.

The Yom Kippur War
On October 6, 1973, a coalition of Arab nations simultaneously attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

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