Master Directory of War Topics

Dr. Ellsberg, I suppose that we both owe a great debt to the invention of the self-service copying machine. – Dr. Jonathan M. Kolkey’s 2002 comment to Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, RAND Corporation Analyst, who, back in 1971, had photocopied and leaked the eye-opening Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.

Nobody has ever checked out as many books from the UCLA Research Library as did Dr. Kolkey. It’s absolutely mind boggling — Don Sloane, Head, Access Service Department Young Research Library.

Jonathan and I were married on December 26, 1971.  Usually newlyweds take a honeymoon. But, unfortunately, Jonathan visited the UCLA Research Library as usual the very next day — Peggy M. Kolkey, ex-wife and Partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson.

During the 1980s, Dr. Kolkey practically camped out at our self-serve Xerox shop located here in Santa Monica California. – Danny Morad, longtime employee at PRINTLAND.


Aside from amassing perhaps the greatest quantity of research devoted to a single historical project, Dr. Jonathan M. Kolkey — the ultimate archive rat — was fortunate enough to begin his quest after receiving his Ph.D. from UCLA at the precise moment when the self-serve copy machine became both widely accessible and affordable, thereby enabling Dr. Kolkey to transcribe and store an unimaginable amount of material.

In addition, the advent of the Internet during the 1990’s allowed Dr. Kolkey to make contact immediately with experts worldwide in order to obtain scholarly support and encouragement for his thesis. That’s why nobody, even if so inclined, could have earlier attempted any undertaking as ambitious and extensive as the World Wide War Project.
Meanwhile, the Leviathan State has no chance to retain its traditional legitimacy against Dr. Kolkey – one, lone man armed only with his library card and a copy machine, who is utterly determined to discover and reveal the appalling historical truth.



Now in anticipation of eventual publication of his findings and to prepare the public for acceptance of his groundbreaking theories, Dr. Kolkey has created this website.   

Come join the world’s leading scholars as they document the cynical self-serving nature of war throughout the ages.

I hereby grant you the blessings of permanent peace.  Use it wisely. – Dr. Jonathan M. Kolkey – September 2009


Prior to roughly the year 1600 A.D., we historians usually lack sufficient documentary evidence to reconstruct faithfully how and why political leaders at crucial moments made the decision to wage wars.  Notable exceptions include, of course, Ancient Athens and Sparta (5th & 4th Century B.C., the Ancient Roman Republic (3rd, 2nd, and 1st Century B.C.), as well as Late-Medieval and Early-Renaissance Italian city-states like Florence and Venice.  

Nevertheless, a good number of tantalizing historical examples can be found in other, lesser-known city-state complexes. Utilizing recent groundbreaking research conducted by the University of Copenhagen’s Polis Center, my survey will begin by examining all city-state clusters in hopes of identifying earlier patterns – even for the less well-documented (or, regrettably, entirely undocumented) instances.

The key element remains the city–state. For along with an occasional ancient republic (such as those found intermittently in Northern India from the 6th Century B.C until the 4th Century A.D.), or an early-modern republic (such as Poland from 1579-1795), the study of these political systems can provide enormously useful insights regarding the political decision-making process for today’s wars since city-states and occasional republics often featured (indeed encouraged the open expression of) some variety of factional politics that seems, in my estimation, to have a surprisingly “contemporary” quality about it.
So let us commence our global survey with the earliest city-states (indeed with the earliest civilization itself) – that of the Ancient Near East – and slowly work our way up to the present moment.

The reader will note that each individual forum contains affirmations – elicited from the world’s foremost authorities representing a wide array of historical fields and time periods – in basic agreement with my admittedly provocative thesis that connects war with the dynamics of cynical, self-serving political maneuvering. 

Employing the magic of the Internet, I have meticulously identified and tracked down these leading experts in order to pose the following two generic questions to them along with furnishing them a brief explanation of the specific type of information that I seek:

        Regarding {a particular war or wars}, might you (1) validate my thesis that you can detect the presence of self-interested factional politics – either family, dynasty, tribe, party, or even the mere enhancement of personal ambition.  And, if so, (2) can you think of any instances where this self-interested factional politics drove the political decision for war or determined the actual conduct (or even the termination) of any war?

        I suppose that my underlying purpose with my research project is to validate my longstanding suspicion that, regarding the outbreak of particular wars, if we identify the key decision-making elites and then reconstruct the process by which these elites rendered their decision, analyze what these elites served up for public consumption as their alleged “reason” for the conflict, and then discover what these elites admitted privately regarding the real “reason” for the war, we would find that, at the critical moment, these elites thought far less about furthering the common good (or the “national interest, if you will) and more to enhance (or salvage) their own personal or political fortunes.

Incidentally, the first phase of the project is now partially complete.  A great number of responses will soon be posted – although more affirmations will doubtless continue to trickle in every day, hopefully rising to a veritable torrent once the website is fully operational – thereby attracting increased attention.  Of course, in some historical fields only a handful of scholars in the entire world possess the requisite knowledge regarding certain extremely obscure wars to venture an informed opinion – and these scholars often remain difficult to identify and contact – which is why even the project’s initial phase must still be considered a “work in progress.”  Nonetheless, I confidently expect the total number of scholarly affirmations for the entire project to exceed a thousand in due course.

Meanwhile, if all goes according to schedule, the next batch of supporting responses – reflecting the beginning of the project’s second phase – should be posted by Spring 2010 – if not sooner.

In addition, interested scholars, history buffs, journalists, policy makers, and members of the general public are encouraged to contribute their own opinions on the various forums – not only involving past conflicts but to alert the world of the shenanigans of any contemporary leaders who, toying with the idea of starting wars themselves, will be branded illegitimate and overthrown immediately.  After all, as I have long noted:

        War will end when, and only when, political leaders fear immediate overthrow at the hands of their own angry citizens for starting needless quarrels (thereby jeopardizing the safety of the entire community) more than they fear military defeat and overthrow at the hands of the foreign “enemy.”

And what historical lesson can the individual average citizen glean from a careful examination of my website:

        Only a fool defends his country; a wise man defends himself.

Last, but not least, I anticipate that the World Wide War Project website will eventually prove to be the proverbial intellectual “watering hole” where men and women interested in the vital issues of war and peace can exchange ideas.