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War exhaustion is the depletion of the will to fight. It can occur at home, on the domestic front, or in the field. An example of the first, domestic exhaustion, would be the UK's withdrawal from Iraq: the UK was not lacking money and its force was not suffering unduly, but the British public were opposed to the war. For domestic political reasons, it was brought home. Exhaustion in the field is exemplified by the German defeat in the First World War, when the German Army was beaten due to broken morale.

In a democracy, the support of the people for the war is absolutely necessary for the latter to go on. Passed a certain point, a government risks a revolution which will be used by the opponent, either to conquer the now undefended, unruly land, or, in our case, to install his or her own leaders at the head of the country.

In less democratic country, war exhaustion is a strictly military term, since the opinion of the general public is either manipulated or ignored. When a country runs out of men to send to the front, of material to manufacture weapons or war essentials, or simply food to keep its population and soldiers from starving, it has reached the War exhaustion cap. In most total war conflict of the 20th century, the war would end when one of the two party reached its war exhaustion cap (as during the last days of the third Reich when teenagers would be conscripted in order to fill the ranks of the army).

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Q: What does war of exhaustion mean?
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