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Kuwaiti oil fires set alight by retreating Iraqi forces in 1991

A scorched earth policy is a military strategy that involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. It is a military strategy where all of the assets that are used or can be used by the enemy are targeted, such as food sources, transportation, communications, industrial resources, and even the people in the area. The practice can be carried out by the military in enemy territory, or in its own home territory. It may overlap with, but is not the same as, punitive destruction of the enemy's resources, which is done for purely strategic/political reasons rather than strategic/operational reasons.

A scorched earth policy was famously used by Joseph Stalin against the German Army's invasion of the Soviet Union in the Second World War,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> by William Tecumseh Sherman during his March to the Sea in the American Civil War, by Lord Kitchener against the Boers, and by the Russian army during the failed Napoleonic invasion of Russia.

The strategy of destroying the food and water supply of the civilian population in an area of conflict has been banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions. The relevant passage says:

It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

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Scorched earth sections
Intro  Ancient times  Roman era  Middle Ages  Early Modern era  Nineteenth century  Twentieth century  21st century  See also  References  

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Title::their    Earth::scorched    Policy::forces    First::people    During::military    Which::great

{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} {{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}}

{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Refimprove |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Message box|ambox}} }}

Kuwaiti oil fires set alight by retreating Iraqi forces in 1991

A scorched earth policy is a military strategy that involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. It is a military strategy where all of the assets that are used or can be used by the enemy are targeted, such as food sources, transportation, communications, industrial resources, and even the people in the area. The practice can be carried out by the military in enemy territory, or in its own home territory. It may overlap with, but is not the same as, punitive destruction of the enemy's resources, which is done for purely strategic/political reasons rather than strategic/operational reasons.

A scorched earth policy was famously used by Joseph Stalin against the German Army's invasion of the Soviet Union in the Second World War,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> by William Tecumseh Sherman during his March to the Sea in the American Civil War, by Lord Kitchener against the Boers, and by the Russian army during the failed Napoleonic invasion of Russia.

The strategy of destroying the food and water supply of the civilian population in an area of conflict has been banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions. The relevant passage says:

It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

|CitationClass=web }}</ref>


Scorched earth sections
Intro  Ancient times  Roman era  Middle Ages  Early Modern era  Nineteenth century  Twentieth century  21st century  See also  References  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Ancient times
<<>>