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I want to create a giant war, called the 10,000 War. This war becomes so big entire civilizations get wiped out, and no one can stop it, though everyone wants to. The war cumulated to become bigger and bigger, and no one in this part of the galaxy is safe (Yes this means it is not just on Earth). It is basically like the Norse Mythology event Ragnarok, where it really resets everything. There are a lot of survivors of this war, unlike Ragnarok.

This part of the galaxy (the furthest extents of the settlements of about 100 lightyears away from Earth) is filled with mostly humans, and some aliens that look like humans. Earth is the central planet, and other planets are reached by permanent wormholes. There are a few different empires, but they mostly only own planets that have little on them. The vehicles work like Quin-Jets from the MCU, except they work a lot better in space. This is the same across the entire universe. None of the planets are insane, or pure evil. They function like the world today, except there is less peace, and there is nothing like the United Nations for the planets. Certain planets, including Earth, have different countries and stuff like the United Nations.

The final effect of this war is that pretty much every planet is either destroyed and unhabitable, or at least so crippled that they can no longer fight or protect themselves. Many, many people would be dead, and the governments are really weak. People are starving, and communication between planets is nearly impossible.

What kind of event would have to happen to cause such a massive war? What would cause everyone to get involved, and what could stop the war from ending?

Requirements

  • Starts simple
  • No evil robots, or anything that has to do with a weapon that went out-of-control
  • It can't have to do with Mutually Assured Destruction.
  • No one can be out of the war

(Edit: I clarified the question because its on hold)

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closed as too broad by RonJohn, Ash, Renan, JBH, Dubukay Aug 27 '18 at 19:03

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Comment have been moved to chat. Some of them were about previous versions of this question. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Aug 27 '18 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ From the chat-packed comments, please note both Dubukay and I have voted to reopen after substantial improvements to the quesiton. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 27 '18 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ I fail to see how the edits make this question salvageable. $\endgroup$ – Renan Aug 28 '18 at 2:21
  • $\begingroup$ If everyone wants to stop then why do they keep fighting? War is extremely taxing on resources so there must be some benefit, alliance, motive or greater force at play that forces them to keep fighting. We need proper reasons and motives because otherwise you could use the plot of any game, move or book to answer you question and it would work. e.g. Slavers capture the daughter of a former government operative and decide to auction her off. The Operative finds out and spends the next 4 days rescuing her[Taken]. The break in leads to increased tensions and eventually war. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Aug 28 '18 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ I concur with Renan. $\endgroup$ – Ash Aug 28 '18 at 10:35
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The Orks from 40k are actually a pretty good model for how you could go about doing this, they have a (un)natural tendency for war and a seeming inability to move past it. This combined with their highly effective reproductive system which makes it impossible to wipe them out (at least without tech far beyond any race in that universe) the Orks alone can cause enough war to do what your asking as can anything with:

  • Great self-replication.
  • A natural tendency for war and expansion.
  • Resistance to mutation (which would probably cause them to adopt a more efficient way of life).
  • Comparable technological levels to other races in your universe.
  • No clear weaknesses that can wipe out the race.
  • No centralised authority.

This could be an evil robot, or even a weapon gone wrong however it really doesn't need to be. There is no reason a natural or semi-natural species wouldn't have these traits and escape into the galaxy at large.

Another way would be to make war a super-effective way of gathering resources. For example in Voltron: legendary defender (I haven't seen the original) there is a substance called quintessence which is highly energy-dense and is present in all life-forms. Since it's only available from life-forms the galra empire must constantly expand and drain worlds for their quintessence to power their civilisation. If war is the best way to access a certain vital resource it seems perfectly likely that people will wage constant war in order to obtain it. This could be as simple as land if overpopulation is rampant (though this would be unlikely to flat out kill the universe as A. overpopulation is kinda a myth for advanced civilisations and B. as people die overpopulation is going to go away.

Offense is super easy, defense is super-hard. This is a problem we may face in future and (almost) face today. We have nuclear warheads but we find defending against those warheads to be an almost impossible task. Hence it is a very genuine concern that civilisation will undergo mutually assured destruction. Now let's imagine this problem doesn't go away and we're in the future where we are so advanced that anyone could (with some difficulty) use laser excitation to enrich some uranium and then make a "basic" nuclear warhead or could 3D print a super virus. Someone will, that's just how the world works (especially when you have high population as would be expected in a populated universe), there will always be crazy people who will do that sort of thing (school shooting's for instance). The results are obvious, insane people continue to construct WMDs and are generally the most likely to survive the destruction as they know when its going to happen. You then have a wave of insane people with weapons so powerful there is no way to defend against them, fleeing from devastated wastelands they just created, until eventually society collapses so completely they can no longer produce these weapons.

On the subject of WMDs regular old Mutually Assured Destruction can work too. you have a universe wide cold war during which everyone tries to avoid war (because war is bad) making complex webs of allegiances like those pre-WWI until eventually war kicks off for some reason in some backwater corner of the world and those webs of allegiances drag everyone into war.

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  • $\begingroup$ What I meant by mutual agreement is Mutually Assured Destruction. But for the most part, great answer! I'll consider it. $\endgroup$ – lightofdeanthomas Aug 27 '18 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ No centralised authority means no independent technological development (which requires organization and authority). The race would be stealing the tech from everybody else. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 27 '18 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH The Orks don't even bother going quite that far, they just steal material artifacts from other races they have no real technology base of their own. $\endgroup$ – Ash Aug 27 '18 at 19:22
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This could be accomplished with a generational war, in which entire future generations are bred and trained with a culture indoctrinating them that their purpose is to fight this war. If nobody can conceive of any alternative, if fighting in the war is literally why they exist, they'll fight to the end.

Examples of this in fiction include the Zentraedi in Super Dimensional Fortress Macross/Robotech and the human civilization in Gargantia of the Verdurous Planet.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is good, but how would the war start? $\endgroup$ – lightofdeanthomas Aug 27 '18 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ How do you convince the peoples of many planets, cultures, and multiple species to shift to this ideology? What would compel or convince them to do so? $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 27 '18 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Good questions! The threat might be sufficiently powerful that cultures effectively have no choice. If they're constantly under attack, they will develop a constantly martial culture. The humans in the future of the original Terminator film are a reasonable example. Or, the initially attacked cultures may have genetically engineered warrior cultures, then the first cultures were wiped out. Continue iterating over multiple cultures getting more and more war-like. $\endgroup$ – Brent P. Newhall Aug 28 '18 at 14:44

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