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William Rubinstein wrote "Pre-literate societies, even those organised in a relatively advanced way, were renowned for their studied cruelty...'archaeology yields evidence of prehistoric massacres more severe than any recounted in ethnography [i.e., after the coming of the Europeans].'" Recent rapid increases in the technologies of war, and therefore in its destructiveness (see mutual assured destruction), have caused widespread public concern, and have in all probability forestalled, and may altogether prevent the outbreak of a nuclear World War III.
In German, the equivalent is Krieg (from Proto-Germanic *krīganą 'to strive, be stubborn'); the Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian term for "war" is guerra, derived like the Old French term from the Germanic word.However, major wars over shorter periods have resulted in much higher casualty rates, with 100-200 casualties per 100,000 over a few years.While conventional wisdom holds that casualties have increased in recent times due to technological improvements in warfare, this is not generally true.While some scholars see war as a universal and ancestral aspect of human nature, at up to 60 million.
As concerns a belligerent's losses in proportion to its prewar population, the most destructive war in modern history may have been the Paraguayan War (see Paraguayan War casualties).
Keeley explains that early war raids were not well organized, as the participants did not have any formal training.