The History Guy:

Nations With A Losing Record In War

Criteria: A nation is on this list if they have lost three or more inter-state wars in a century OR they lost a half million troops and/or civilian casualties in a single losing inter-state war.

Nations which were ultimately on the winning side in the World Wars, such as Rumania in the First World War,or France and Poland in the Second World War, are counted as losing. In each case, they were defeated in their military confrontations with Germany and occupied until liberated by their allies. Though they were ultimately on the winning side, they did temporarily lose their freedom as a result of military defeat and enemy occupation.

Note: Civil Wars do not count for this list, but colonial conflicts do count. For example, if the French fought a civil war among themselves, that would not count for this list, but if they lost a war against a colony seeking independence, as they did against Vietnam and Algeria, that would count as a defeat.

Russia/Soviet Union:

Russo-Japanese War (1905)-Russia lost to Japan.

First World War (1914-1918)--Even though Russia belonged to the Allies from the beginning of the war, after the Communist revolution, the new government made a separate peace with Germany and surrendered huge tracts of land to the enemy.

Afghanistan War (1979-1989)--The Soviet Union did not militarily defeat the Afghan guerrillas.

Cold War (1946-1991)-The Soviet Union lost the long Cold War and fell apart.

Chechnya War (1994-1996) Post-Soviet Russia gave up trying to subdue the rebellious Muslim region of Chechnya.

 Ottoman Empire/Turkey:

Italo-Ottoman War (1911-1912)

First Balkan War (1912)--

First World War (1914-1918)-



First Arab-Israeli War (1948-1949) --See Arab-Israeli Wars

Six-Day War (1967)--See Arab-Israeli Wars

Yom Kippur or Ramadan War (1973)--See Arab-Israeli Wars

First Persian Gulf War (1980-1988)

Second Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)

Third Persian Gulf War/War in Iraq (2003-2011)


 Bulgaria :

Second Balkan War (1913)

First World War (1914-1918)

Second World War (1941-1945)

Germany :

First World War (1914-1918)

Second World War (1939-1945)--Both wars resulted in millions of German deaths and the loss of huge tracts of German territory.


Second World War (1939-1945)--France was utterly defeated by the Germans and remained an occupied country until freed by the U.S., Britain, Canada, and other allied nations.

First Indochina War (1946-1954)--See Wars of France

Suez/Sinai War (1956)--Even though France and her allies, Britain and Israel, enjoyed military success, political factors forced the allies to withdraw from Egypt. France and Britain did not achieve their war goals. See also Wars of France

Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962)--See Wars of France


Angolan War of Independence (1962-1975)

Mozambican War of Independence (1962-1975)

Guinea-Bissau War of Independence (1962-1975)--Note--Portugal decided to grant independence to these rebellious colonies following an internal military coup in 1974.


Serbia /Yugoslavia:

First World War (1914-1918)--Even though Serbia belonged to the winning side, the nation suffered military defeat in 1914, and occupation by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria until 1918, when the Allies defeated the Central Powers.

Second World War (1941-1945)--Even though Yugoslavia belonged to the winning side, the nation suffered military defeat in 1941, and occupation by Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria until 1945, when the Allies defeated the Axis.

Kosovo War (1998-1999)--NATO forced Serbia to give up control of the province of Kosovo



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