There are different claims of wars extended by diplomatic irregularity, sometimes by a small country named in a declaration of war being accidentally omitted from a peace treaty concerning the wider conflict. These "extended wars" have only been discovered after the fact, and have no impact during the long period (often hundreds of years) after the actual fighting ended.

The discovery of an "extended war" is sometimes an opportunity for a ceremonial peace to be contracted by the belligerent parties. This can boost tourism and the relations between states involved by providing interaction not before engaged in, and in some cases, starting relations that have not occurred for historical or geographic reasons. Ceremonial peace, in these cases, is often good natured and for this reason can involve the highest levels of government or foreign affairs offices.

Such a situation is to be distinguished from that of parties deliberately avoiding a peace treaty when political disputes outlive military conflict, as in the Kuril Islands dispute between Japan and Russia.

In the case of the Korean War, the fighting formally ended when the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953. The United Nations Command signed on behalf of the government of the Republic of Korea because then-President Syngman Rhee refused to accept the terms of the Armistice.[1] There has been no formal peace treaty between the Koreas (though in October 2007, North Korea and South Korea agreed to seek a peace treaty.[2]) This is another case of parties deliberately avoiding a peace treaty.

Extended wars

Combatants Historical conflict Declaration of war De facto peace Ceremonial peace Status of claim
Roman Republic vs Carthaginian Republic Third Punic War 149 BC 146 BC 1985[3] There was a contract of surrender between the Roman and the Carthaginian commander.
Taromak of Rukai of Formosa
Dutch Republic
Taiwan under Dutch rule 1651 1662 2010 The Dutch Republic ruled Taiwan and declared war on the Taiwanese aborigines after the establishment of the Governor of Formosa in 1624. The Taromak people started conflicts with the Dutch and the Dutch government officially named the Taromak as an enemy in the year 1651. After Koxinga defeated the Dutch in 1662, no peace was made until Menno Goedhart, Dutch representative in Taiwan, went to Taromak for a visit of friendship and ceremonially ended the conflict in 2010.
Isles of Scilly
Dutch Republic
First Anglo-Dutch War 1651 1654 1986 The Dutch Republic under Michiel Adriaensz de Ruyter declared war on the Council of the Isles of Scilly which still administers the islands under the British Crown (under the Duchy of Cornwall). The pirates from the islands were a menace during the English Civil War between the Royalists and Parliamentarians. When the Dutch and English republics signed the Treaty of Westminster (1654), this separate state of war was not mentioned and thus not included.
vs Denmark
Peninsular War 1809 1814 1981 Huéscar was at war with Denmark, as a result of the Napoleonic wars over Spain, where Denmark supported the French Empire. The official declaration of war was forgotten until it was discovered by a local historian in 1981, followed by the signing of a peace treaty on 11 November 1981 by the city mayor and the Ambassador of Denmark. Not a single shot was fired during the 172 years of war, and nobody was killed or injured.
vs Russian Empire
Crimean War 1853 1856 1966 All legal references to "England" applied equally to Berwick by this time, so claims of an extended state of war are spurious.
Town Line, New York
United States
American Civil War 1861 1865 1946 Town Line (a small town several miles east of Buffalo) voted to secede from the United States and become an exclave of the Confederacy. It was not included in Reconstruction and as late as the 1920s was being left off federal tax rolls. Only in 1946 did Town Line vote to rejoin the United States.[4][5]
Principality of Montenegro
Empire of Japan
Russo-Japanese War 1904 1905 2006[6] Montenegro declared war in support of Russia but Montenegro lacked a navy or any other means to engage Japan. After Montenegro (independent in 1904, but united with Serbia by 1919) had voted in 2006 to resume its independence, it concluded a separate peace treaty in order to establish diplomatic relations with Japan. See Japan–Montenegro relations.
Andorra vs German Empire World War I 1914 1918 1958[7] Andorra was not invited to the Treaty of Versailles.
Costa Rica
German Empire
World War I 1918 1918 1945[8] Due to a dispute over the legitimacy of the government of Federico Tinoco Granados, Costa Rica was not a party to the Treaty of Versailles and did not unilaterally end the state of war. The technical state of war ended with Costa Rica signing a peace treaty with Germany after World War II.
Allies of World War II
World War II 1939 1945 1990
At the time World War II was declared over, there was no single German state that all occupying powers accepted as being the sole representative of the former Reich. The "war" technically did not finish until German reunification in 1990. However, in 1949 some technicalities were modified to soften the state of war between the U.S. and Germany. The state of war was retained since it provided the U.S. with a legal basis for keeping troops in Western Germany.[9] As a legal substitute for a peace treaty[10] the U.S. formally ended the state of war between the U.S. and Germany on October 19, 1951 at 5:45 p.m. According to the U.S., a formal peace treaty had been stalled by the Soviet Union.[10] It was not until the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany was signed in 1990 that peace was formally established.

See also


  1. US State Department statement titled "Korea: Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission" regarding the "armistice agreement, which ended the Korean War."
  2. Koreas seek formal end to Korean War, October 4th 2007
  3. Saudi Aramco World, (bottom of page)
  6. Montenegro, Japan to declare truce. United Press International.
  7. "World War I Ends in Andorra", UPI story in the New York Times, Sep 25, 1958. p. 66. A number of sources say 1939, but there is no period confirmation for this.
  8. Inside Latin America, John Gunther, Harper and Brothers, 1941
  9. "THE NATIONS: A Step Forward". Time. November 28, 1949.,9171,856382,00.html. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "National Affairs: War's End". Time. July 16, 1951.,9171,889058,00.html. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
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