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War Cycle, 54 Years Long

By Dr. Robert Reuschlein

The primary cycle of 54 years consists of 27 years of warming followed by 54 years of cooling or at least nonwarming. The secondary sinusoidal cycle consists of strong economy when cooling and weak economy when warming. Cooling invigorates human beings and warmth slows us down. The secondary cycle is front loaded slightly with a 24 year growth perfect sine wave from the multiyear averaged bottom to the multiyear averaged top, followed by a similarly sinusoidal 30 year decline phase. The tertiary cycle is the war cycle. The secondary war in the American case occurs eighteen years before the primary war and right at the top of the economic growth rate cycle, in the middle of the wealth accumulation cycle. The primary war occurs three or four years after the end of the high economic growth rate period (as the wealth building period peaks and ends), often in the coldest year of the 54 year cycle. Note that as the economy begins to turn negative, pressure is high on politicians to take people’s minds off the economy by taking on foreign threats. Also at the end of the high economic growth phase, differences among nations have just been maximized with a new peck order among nations that can be tested and affirmed by war. So multiple factors are all aligned just right at the time of breakout of the major war.

Presidential Age Cycle
The average age of a United States president at the start of their administration is 54, just the same as the cycle length. The average age of a president going to war is 58 years. A president born at the time of the last major war is likely to be very unfamiliar with the disastrous decision making that leads to such wars and largely unfamiliar with the direct consequences and deaths of such a war 54 years ago. The secondary war against a secondary power usually is often by a president who served in the military during the last major war 36 years ago. These are ambitious one sided wars against lesser powers, such as the Mexican American War, the Spanish American War, Korean War, and Iraq War. The successful safe war sets up the country 18 years later for the high cost major war, sort fooling the country into complacency about war just enough to blunder into a major war. The 36 years between the major war and the next “testing” secondary war in the middle of the economic boom period is still to close to the horrors of the last major war to have presidents who were about 36 or fully mature adults when the last major war occurred, so war temptation follies are more easily resisted.

Political Party of War Streaks
The Civil War of 1861 and Spanish American War of 1898 were lead by Republican presidents. Then the Democrats took over for the 1917 World War, the second 1941 World War, Korea of 1950, then Vietnam of 1965. Then back to the Republicans for Gulf War 1991 and Iraq War 2003. The Second World War and the 1775 Revolutionary War and the Gulf War are in the 7 percent of major and secondary wars “peace” period. By that I mean the 2004 to 2031 half cycle period has 93% of the major and secondary wars, the two wars with the most deaths in each cycle, while the 1977 to 2004 period half cycle is the period of peace or very small wars. These estimates of 7% and 93% are based on three centuries of Roman Empire major wars, Joshua Goldstein’s 500 year study of European Wars, and two centuries of American wars, all mapped on the 54 year cycle.

Anomalies of the War Cycle
The World Wars look like the modern equivalent of the 1618 to 1648 Thirty Years War. One book even has the title the 1914-1945 World War, and the noted economist John Maynard Keynes was a young man on the British negotiating team in 1919 when the Versailles Treaty ended the World War. He wrote a book predicting their would be a Second World War because of the harsh terms of peace imposed on Germany. The first Thirty Years War was going well for the Swedish Lutherans until the French Catholics entered in 1635 and turned a secondary war into a major war. That was bad enough to keep Sweden peaceful for centuries after that. For the Swiss it was a bad taste of the Napoleonic Wars that convinced them to stay peaceful after 1815. For all of Europe, the Napoleanic Wars were bad enough with the invention of mass conscription, that they largely skipped a cycle while America has its worst war, the Civil War in 1861. The Europeans managed two secondary wars instead, the 1856 Crimean between Britain and Russia, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The result was war came back with triple the usual 1.5% of the European people dying in the major war, to the 5% level of deaths each in the two World Wars. A similar war hiatus occurred a century later, when perhaps because of the nuclear bomb, major war did not break out as scheduled in 1970. The Sino-Soviet border clashes of 1969 had the potential of a major war, as did the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, but instead two secondary wars by each superpower happened, with Vietnam in 1965 by the major power five years early and Afghanistan 1979 by the second leading power nine years late. This strongly resembles the pattern around 1862 when Britain’s Crimea came six years early and Prussia (later Germany) came eight years late in 1870. Of course, one continent away, the American Civil War came one year early in 1861 with 1% of the American people dying in that war.

The Next Major War
The next major in could be 2024, by the averages, or 2025 by the most frequent date historically, with 6 of 17 major wars mapping out to 2025. 2025 being the most likely date of the last cold year before the next major global warming spurt of 27 years starts. Is it inevitable? Not at all. The last cycle the Northern Hemisphere was hotter in 45 of 48 years than the Southern Hemisphere from 1921 to 1968. Major tensions at that ending date lead to the 1966 Cultural Revolution in China, the French student riots of 1968, the King assassination race riots of 1968, and the Democratic Convention of 1968 police riot. Then as the Northern Hemisphere cooled and the Southern Hemisphere took over the lead in global warming in 1969, the China Russia border clashes occurred in the 1969 cooling year.
This time trade relations are so strong that that may help avoid a Japan #3, China #2, United States #1 war of some kind as the economic peck order in the Far East resembles that just before the first World War in Europe with Britain #3, Germany #2, and the United States #1. However back then the US was leaning away, now the US is leaning forward with recent deployments in Australia. So something still may happen on schedule, and don’t forget Korea. Emerging forms of world governance may save us from our worst instincts this time, but don’t be surprised if some small war or crisis doesn’t happen, or worse happens, when the circumstances are just right for a major war to break out.

For more writing on the coldest year wars:
For wars and 56 total examples of the long cycle:

Dr. Peace, Dr. Bob Reuschlein,
best contact to ask Bob to speak to your group:
to leave message: 608-230-6640
for more info:
(Real Economy 1999 and/or Peace Economics 1986 free pdf on request by members of the press)
An archive of this yearlong press release campaign can be found at:


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