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What is Civil War?

The English Civil Wars: Origins, Events and Legacy | English Heritage

A civil war is a conflict that takes place in one country, between two factions of the country. Typical civil wars include a lot of fighting, but also economical damage and a significant lack of stability which makes it hard to live in a normal manner. Civil war almost always starts because of two differing views on a sensitive topic such as liberal vs conservative, democrat vs republican and in the case of some of history’s civil wars, disputes between father against son!

If you are thinking about civil war in the UK, some of the main sources of tension at the current time include political disagreements, economical issues, racial tensions and fears about the UK becoming a nanny state. In each of these tensions, it is easy to see how ramping up vitriolic debate could then incite violence and dissidence to occur, sparking the onslaught of a civil war.

The most concerning fact about civil war is the effect it has on society and the way that people treat each other. People who were once harmonious neighbours become enemies over night and kids that once played happily with each other are no longer allowed to maintain their friendships. Perhaps the worst part of civil war UK is the fact that life as we know if would change overnight, leaving many people unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the battle ahead.

The last British civil war ended in 1651 and is commonly taught in schools across the country. One fo the main lessons that our children are taught is that civil war is something that is in the distant past, never to return again. However, when you consider the number of countries that are facing their own civil war right now, the prospect of it happening again is a genuine possibility.

Some of the main sources of tension in the UK right now include politics, race, finance and even those who hold a different view to the mainstream population. Each of these issues has the potential to become exacerbated and even turn into a civil war in the future, but are you ready should the worst happen?

Thinking about civil war preparedness may not be high on your list of priorities, especially with so many other threats to our civilisation. However, the idea of a civil war may not be as far fetched as you may think. As tensions mount across the UK, many citizens find themselves on polarising sides of arguments, creating a cavern between them that feels too wide too fix.

In these situations, the ability to manage should a civil war ensue is imperative and this preparing for civil war guide will help you to be ready no matter what comes your way. Take a look and start gearing up so that you aren’t left of the side of the unprepared!

Who is a Civil War Between?

Before you can start to think about preparing for civil war, it’s important to understand where the threat may be coming from first. In the vast majority of civil wars, the country’s government loses control over the country and the people in it, resulting in new groups claiming authority and being willing to fight to make their ideology the one that everyone follows.

Whehter it’s liberal vs conservative or father against son, a civil war breaking out always starts as a result of two or more groups becoming involved in a bitter argument against one another with no sign that things can be resolved democratically or peacefully.

Should you wake up to a civil war, UK authority comes mainly from government so you can expect them to play a large part in any future conflict. The government run the army and public services, but there is a chance that these groups could break away from the government should they not agree with the way things are progressing.

Unfortunately, once a civil war is declared, it is common for disputes to grow and evolve, leaving more people at odds with each other than ever before, especially in large towns and cities like London where the population is large and diverse. This is often he catalyst for significant violence and economical downfall, leaving citizens of the UK at risk of losing everything that they value in order to fight for what they believe in.

Why Do Civil Wars Happen?

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Put simply, civil wars happen when the country splits into two or more factions and are unable to come to an agreement on how to proceed or how to live harmoniously together whilst respecting the opinion of the other factions. In Britain, there are a number of potential tensions that could result in a civil war including:

  • Racial Tensions – Britain is a cosmopolitan country with a number of different races, religions and languages. As a result, some people believe that there should be tighter restrictions on races and this can lead to enticing of racial prejudice and problems. Whether it is black vs white people, white vs Islamic people or the ongoing issues with immigration, the potential for a civil war caused by racial tensions is high.
  • Class Tensions – Britain has always maintained a strong class system, with working, middle and upper classes and this has historically caused tensions, especially when it comes to the distribution of wealth. As the working and middle classes become financially pressed, issues rise against people such as bankers and the upper elites who benefit from the misfortune of others. As the economy continues to dip, the potential for a class based civil war increases.
  • Monarchy Tensions – Britain still maintains a Royal family and there are many people who firmly believe that it should be dissolved. On the other hand, there are a huge number of people who see the monarch as a valuable asset to the country. Should the King or other members of the Royal family step out of their jurisdiction and share political or economical viewpoints, there is a risk of a civil war backlash as people work to abolish or protect the monarchy.
  • Political Tensions – as Britain is under democratic rule, there are many who believe a political civil war is impossible but this is simply not true. The gap between the Liberal left and the Conservative far right is huge, with people on both sides that are willing to fight for their beliefs to be the norm. In addition, after an age of austerity and cost of living issues, many people are ready to revolt if change does not happen, increasing the risk of a civil war.

Will There Be a Race War?

Whether we like it or not, there are many supremacists who would welcome a race war and actively work to make it happen; but will it come to pass? With so many different beliefs and people of different racial backgrounds, the issue of a race war is something that many people worry about. Whether it is white people attempting to gain the upper hand over black people or terrorist plots to eradicate the West, the country needs to continue striving for peace and acceptance amount all groups of people.

Schools work to teach children about acceptance and differences, helping to answer questions about each other that young people may not understand otherwise. The country’s leaders are responsible for promoting peace and unity and there are many interventions and support processes in place to help re-educate people who have been radicalised or who maintain negative racial views.

However, even with the effort to reduce the negativity towards different races, there are still plenty of people who would love to see a race war begin so that they could work to achieve their own idea of the way the country, and the world should look. Does that mean that there could be a civil war based on racial issues – sadly yes it does and should that SHTF moment arrive, each prepper needs to be ready to look after themselves and the ones they love.

Can a UK Civil War Happen Again?

If you are living in Britain, you may be wondering if there could be another civil war UK in the future. Firstly, the English Civil War ended in 1651 after 9 years of battles across England, and the country has worked hard to put safety measures in place to help avoid it happening again. Some of the things that protect us against a new civil war include:

  • Democracy – the country is now run by elected officials in a democratic process, working together from the Houses of Parliament in London. This government is responsible for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with some responsibilities being shared with devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This process aims to be representative of all the people, helping to reduce the growth of issues that could lead to a civil war.
  • Legal System – the UK justice system is in place to ensure that people in Britain abide by the laws for the land and face appropriate consequences if they don’t. This means that hate speech, violence or any attempts to stop someone’s freedom and liberty is met with significant repercussions. While the legal system cannot stop a civil war from starting, it does act as a deterrent.
  • Free Press – in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, a free press is a big part of ensuring that all opinions and ideas can be shared in an appropriate way without marginalising groups of people or taking away their right to respond. It’s true that not everything you see or read in the press you would agree with, but the vast majority of UK citizens respect varying opinions and support different ideas being shared in the media.

None of the support mechanisms that are in place to allow a fair and democratic rule mean that a civil war would be impossible, but it is important to note that it would be more difficult as the country works hard to keep the peace between everyone that lives, works and visits here.

How Would a Civil War Affect the UK?

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Should the worst happen and the SHTF civil war event begin, you may find yourself wondering what type of impact it will have on the country and your everyday life. We’ve shared some of the biggest areas that would affect us below:

  • Friends into Enemies – perhaps the most difficult thing to accept is that people you considered friends could possibly be on the opposing side of a civil war and thus become your enemy. As civil war becomes violent and aggressive, there will be an expectation that you will become involved.
  • Lack of Resources – any country that is at war will find that supplies become scarce and people have to ration their items to stand any chance of surviving. Any survival guide will tell you that it is wise to have your own stockpile in case war starting without any real notice.
  • Employment Problems – should you have a job but your company falls into a different faction, you may find yourself out of work and eventually out of money. It’s true that there will be businesses that support the faction you are in, but getting employment during a war is incredibly difficult.
  • Moving House – once a civil war breaks out, moving home to an area where you are safe will be of the utmost importance. You will have to choose whether to bug out in a survival shelter or find a new property amount your allies. Whichever you choose, keeping your family safe and secure will be a priority.
  • Troubled International Relations – the UK has a number of strong international relations and it’s certain that they will try to weigh in on the side of the faction they agree with. This type of international pressure could result in them supplying the side they support, so it’s wise to think about your role in a civil war should you be against what the globe deems as right.
  • Family Breakdowns – finally, if the SHTF and a civil war started, you would find that many families would be torn apart as they agree with different viewpoints. This could leave you on your own or having to deal with the devastation of watching your loved ones become your enemies.

What Scenarios Could Result In Civil War?

In every war there has been a catalyst that has caused it to start and knowing what triggers to look for can help you as a prepper to understand what is coming your way. One of the most obvious catalysts is a political breakdown when the government is no longer able to rule effectively and needs to call in the military to take over and keep the peace. In this scenario, if a large enough group of people feel that their interests are not being looked after effectively, it could cause a revolt against the military and start a civil war.

Another catalyst that could threaten civil war is when racial tensions spill over and become violent with loss of life or limbs. In the past, when authority figures such as the police have ended the life of a person from an ethnic minority, there have been significant concerns about an uprising. If this happens again, it has the potential to turn into a full scale war if people who have been marginalised feel that it is time to fight against their injustice while people in power work to fight against them.

Ongoing austerity is another viable catalyst for civil war as people become more desperate for change. Under austerity rule, the poorer classes struggle to make ends meet, while the richer classes appear to cope unscathed. This leads to a hugely damaging tension that has the chance of spilling over into violence when those who are worst off start to look for ways to make change happen.

In reality, any type of dissidence within a country offers the spark that could turn into a civil war. What makes that spark grow is when the opposing side is unrelenting and willing to take matters into their own hands. As our society continues to grow further apart financially, politically and socially, it’s a risk that becomes more realistic every day.

What Are The First Signs Of Civil War?

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When it comes to prepping for a SHTF moment like a civil war, the first thing you need to be able to do is recognise what the signs of war are and what you should be doing about them. Some of the typical warning signs that civil war is looming include an increase in hate speech and extremist groups who share their ideologies freely without concern about repercussions. As war draws closer, these groups then use their ideology to create violent outbursts and try to take the law into their own hands.

You will also notice that the political divide becomes more apparent with the far left and far right politicians taking centre stage and continually trying to gather supporters for their beliefs, pushing moderation out the window and demanding a government that rules to the extreme. As this happens, UK citizens will also become more vocal about what they want and who they support which could turn violent and worrying for those who are trying to stay out of the argument.

Other organisations and institutions will also start sharing what they believe and if their statements encourage or excite violence and aggression against others then this could be the catalyst for a civil war. Many of these organisations currently work to campaign for what they believe in, but they could easily become a beacon for their own faction, telling them how to proceed if they feel at risk of attack by another group.

It’s important to recognise that as a country run as a democracy, people have the right to free speech and free movement. If anything starts to impinge on this then it could be warning sign that you are looking for when working out if a civil war could be on the cards.

How To Prepare For Civil War

Ensuring the survival or you and your loved ones is one of the most important parts of being a prepper and we have shared some simple survival tips that you can start to put into place today so that you are ready for any SHTF events that occur. Take a look at our top survival tips below and start prepping right away:

  • Have a Survival Hideout – every survival guide that is worth its salt will tell you that a hideout is an important part of your protection arsenal. This could be a property that is off the beaten track or a self-built shelter that is hidden from passersby so that you can bug out and avoid the conflict. Getting this type of hideout ready before an emergency starts is the best way forward as doing it during a crisis could draw attention to you and your loved ones.
  • Stockpile Civil War Survival Food and Water – once a civil war starts, there will be limited access to resources and lots of people trying to access food and water. Rather than fighting your way to supplies, take some time to start prepping your civil war survival food. Tinned, canned and dried goods are great options and store for years as well as bottled water. Find a safe and secure place to store your civil war survival food and then relax, safe in the knowledge that you will be able to sustain yourself and others should the worst happen.
  • Think About Bugging In Requirements – the best way to think about civil war preparedness is to cover all bases, including planning for bugging in your home. Blackout your windows, seal up gaps and arrange your home layout in a way that will keep you safe even when there is fighting going on around you.
  • Agree a Plan of Action – no civil war survival kit is complete without a robust plan of action. As a prepper, take time to consider all eventualities and plan for them so that should a civil war arrive, you know what to do and where to go. Share your plans with the people that are important to you and work together to remember what to do so that everyone is safe when a civil war arrives.
  • Learn Survival Skills – the best part of a prepping lifestyle is that you will probably already know a number of survival skills that you can implement. However, take the time to honk about the skills you may need to work on to ensure that your civil war survival kit won’t let you down when you need it the most. Hunting, rope work and concealment are all good areas to work on now.
  • Find the News Outlet You Trust – as a prepper, you may be wary of the mainstream news and propaganda that is shared. However, it is important to find a news outlet that you can trust so that you can stay informed of
  • Don’t Exacerbate the Problem – it’s easy to fall into the trap of sharing your views and arguing against ideology that you don’t agree with, but this is unwise in a SHTF event like a civil war. Instead, when preparing for civil war, work hard to keep your views to yourself and don’t draw attention to yourself to ensure the greatest chance of survival.

What Can Be Expected To Happen During Civil War?

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Part of your civil war preparedness means knowing what to expect when a civil war is announced. The first thing that you can expect is an official announcement in the media from the government that the country is at war against itself. The detail of the civil war will depend on the media outlet you access and so it is wise to listen or read as much as possible to get the most rounded understanding of what it going on.

Once the country is fully informed that a civil war is taking place, you can expect people to react with confusion, fear and worry. During this period, there will be a mass drive for resources and stockpiling as people try to make a plan of action in response to the news that they have heard. By stockpiling before the event, you can miss out this stage and get straight to your action plan, giving you a head start over others.

Once the war is in full swing, people will begin to choose the side they are on and agree to respond to the enemy in any way that is ordered by the leader of the faction that they support. This will turn violent and destructive and many people will lose their lives, family and homes trying to defend what they believe is right. It’s at this point that the government will attempt to impose martial law to curtail the fighting and reduce the rights of people that are not complying with their orders. Martial law can be incredibly divisive and will encourage the opposition to respond with more destruction that before.

The economy will crash as trade ceases and damage stops businesses from being able to run. International allies may also refuse to send supplies, leaving people without means to feed, water and clothe their loved ones. The result of this will be a weakened political system, giving new groups a way to power that was not there before.

Finally, you can also expect many people to become homeless, forcing them to seek refuge in other parts of the country or even attempting to flee the country to get to safety. As we have seen in other countries at war, these escape attempts are often incredibly dangerous and result in a significant loss of life.

What Are The Main Hazards Of Civil War?

As a prepper, it’s a good idea to be aware of the problems that a civil war can cause, especially the hazards that pose a risk to your life. The sad reality is that any type of war comes with a huge number of hazards including:

  • Loss of Life
  • Violence Against Innocents
  • Economic Collapse
  • Governmental Instability
  • Destruction of Buildings
  • Looting
  • Environmental Destruction
  • Family Breakdowns
  • Loss of Work

Being a prepper doesn’t mean that you are immune to these hazards, but having your civil war survival kit at the ready will help you to mitigate against the negative effects and give you a greater chance of survival.

One of the best survival tips that you can follow is to take plenty of time to educate the people you will take with you on each point in your survival guide and action plans. It’s true that we are only as strong as our weakest link, so ensure that everyone (including children), knows what is expected of them during a crisis moment so that you can all work together to get out alive.

The best part of being a prepper is that you have time now to put things in place and make them part of everyday life so that when the time comes, your loved ones will not panic but be able to take the steps needed to stay safe.

Things Not To Do During Civil War

Just as it is important to know what to do when a civil war arrives, you should also know what not to do to ensure that you do not become the centre of any uprising or violence. Take a look at some of the things that every prepper should avoid during a civil war:

  • Avoid Taking Sides – for the best chance of survival it is wise to avoid taking sides or joining a specific faction. Instead, keep yourself away from any political posturing and focus more on staying safe.
  • Do Not Get Violent – joining in with violent campaigns against groups of people only increases your chance of losing your life. Do not seek out violence and do everything in your power to avoid violent altercations, only ever using it should your life, or the life of your loved ones, be at risk.
  • Do Not Announce Your Location – if there is fighting going on around your location, do everything you can to stay hidden and away from it. By sharing where you are located or even trying to get out, you may end up in the midst of the battle.
  • Don’t Travel Around – once the civil war is announced, you should head to the location you have chosen to hide. Once there, you must avoid traveling around as much as possible so that you do not give away where you are located or land yourself in the middle of war. If you do have to travel, wait until it is as quiet as possible and then make your move.
  • Do Not Assume You Are Safe – if you think that the war is coming to an end, do not assume that you are right without evidence. Tap into your comms to find out exactly what is happening before venturing out once again.

How To Prepare Your Home For Civil War

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Bugging in during a civil war can be a great way to stay safe, but there are a number of things that you will need to do to ensure that your home is fully prepared for what is going to happen. Take a look at the steps you need to take:

  • Check Windows and Doors – take some time to check that your windows and doors are secure and in good shape. You should also review the security measures you have in place such as locks and bolts.
  • Install Blackouts – being able to block all light from escaping is essential as it will stop you from being noticed should the fight arrive in your area. You can buy blackout material that does the job, but remember to seal the edges too so that no cracks of light get through.
  • Create a Stockpile Area – designate one key area for all your food and water stockpiling so that you know where to go when you need anything during the war. Also, create a separate section for medical supplies so that you are able to stay fit and healthy even when you can’t get out of the house.
  • Keep Quiet – soundproofing your walls and floors is also a great idea as it will stop anyone from hearing you and allow you to be able to talk to the people in your home without worry. You can purchase soundproofing material from any DIY store and simply attach it around your home, ensuring that all gaps are properly plugged.
  • Have Everything Organised – if a civil war begins, you will need to stay at home and unnoticeable. The best way to do this is to make a rigorous plan in advance and ensure that everyone knows what it is so that you can pass by undetected for weeks at a time.

Essential Prepping Items For Civil War

Not sure what items you should invest in when preparing for civil war? We’ve got a comprehensive list of items that you can start gathering right away:

  • Food – tinned, scanned and dried products are all great options for stockpiling as they will last for years without needing to be refrigerated or frozen. It’s wise to get a range of options, including fruits and vegetables to help maintain the healthiest diet possible.
  • Water – if the mains water supply gets cut off or you are worried about contamination then the best way to avoid this is to stockpile bottled water in advance. Bottled water comes in a wide range of sizes, so make sure you get some of each size so that you have the ability to move your supplies to a bug out if needed.
  • Medicines – if you or anyone in your family requires long term medications, it is wise to start stockpiling spares so that they can continue to be looked after when civil war arrives. Remember that medications do have expiry dates so always rotate your stock to keep the longest date in storage.
  • First Aid Supplies – in addition to any medications needed, you should also stockpile first aid supplies so that you can deal with cuts, breaks and other problems without having to risk heading into the war zone.
  • Clothing – stockpiling clothing may sound mad, but it’s wise to have a go bag filled with a few changes of clothes that are suitable for all seasons. This will help save you time packing should you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Warm Items – staying warm is going to be important, especially if power supplies fail during the civil war. Think about blankets and thermal items that can help keep everyone snug when in survival mode.
  • Sturdy Shoes/Boots – if you have to bug out during a civil war you will need shoes that you can rely on and that will last the test of time. Good quality walking boots are the best option and are worth spending a decent amount of money on as they will help you walk for longer should you need to leave your location.
  • Toiletries – staying clean and hygienic is also important and so it’s wise to add toiletries and cleaning products to your stockpile so that you and your home do not become a health hazard during a civil war.
  • Tools – many preppers will find themselves in a situation where they have to escape or evacuate and having a set of transportable tools will be helpful when it comes to getting new digs sorted out. From making things to repairing, having tools will make your efforts much easier.
  • Weapons – while you should never be the first to start a fight or become aggressive during a civil war, it is wise to invest in a weapon that you can use as self-defence. Think about the best type of weapon for your needs and try to find something that is dual purpose such as an axe, so that you can use it for other jobs too.
  • Comms – tune in to a radio station you trust using a hand crank radio so that you are always up to date on what is going on during the war.
  • Money & Legal Documents – in the event of a civil war, there is likely to be a huge economical backlash so it’s wise to pack cash and all your legal documentation and take it with you in case you need it during or after the war to get resources or prove ownership.
  • Multipurpose Items – duct tape, paracord and tarpaulin are all easily obtainable and extremely versatile items that you can use when you are in a survival situation to make, fix and secure things. Buy yours now so that you don’t end up in an emergency situation without the items you need.

Top Tips For Surviving Civil War

Knowing what to do when a civil war starts can be confusing and scary, especially if it is unexpected or you are not as prepared as you would like to be. Our top tips will help you to acclimatise quickly, so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones from any danger that is in your path.

Firstly, never start a fight or antagonise disrupters who are looking for an argument. It is always best to avoid taking sides or becoming part of a faction when you want to stay safe. Instead, avoid any calls to join the uprising and keep out of sight as much as possible.

Next, be prepared. It’s an obvious one but the more time you can spend preparing for the event, the easier it will be to manage when it does happen. Give everyone in your family jobs that they need to be responsible for and have regular updates and checks scheduled to see how well the prep work is going.

It’s also important to keep your plans to yourself, not sharing them with anyone outside of your chosen circle. In any survival event, those who are safest are those who keep their circle tight and small, so make sure that your loved ones know not to say anything to anyone.

Finally, stay in touch. During a civil war, it will be easy to lose connection with the rest of the country and wider world but this could mean that you do not get access to the messages you need for survival or to find out when it is over. Therefore, it is important to remain in contact with a trusted network so that you are always up to date on what is happening.

Should You Bug Out Or Bug In For Civil War?

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If a civil war begins, one of the things you will need to decide is whether to bug in at home or bug out. The main consideration should centre around where you will be the safest. If you are located somewhere where the fighting is not going on then bugging in could be the best idea as you will be near your stockpile, be confident in the layout of the area and have access to running water and energy for as long as possible.

However, if you are near the fighting or located in an area where there is a faction that would be hostile towards you then bugging out could be the better option. In this case you would need to have access to a safe shelter that you could hide out in. Trying to find somewhere during the conflict will be hard work, so it’s always good to have a bug out location agreed before the day comes that you need to decide.

Will Life Return To Normal After Civil War?

When you think about civil war you may find the prospect of life afterwards being too much to comprehend, leaving you wondering whether the country could return to normal afterwards. In reality, a new normal would come to pass and people would slowly begin to accept it and move forward.

Moving forward would not be a quick process as the country would need to recover from the devastation and destruction that was caused. For example, a newly formed government would be expected to take the lead and make plans for economic growth as well as supporting people to access the goods needed to rebuild their live

The lack of food supply would also have a negative effect on the health of UK citizens, and with many medics becoming de skilled during the war, there would also be a shortage of qualified people that were able to help anyone that needed more complex medical treatment.

Possibly the best way to consider what life would look like after a civil war would be to look back in history and see how to country adapted after the end of other conflicts. The Second World War took decades to properly recover from and left many people with both physical and mental impairments that stopped them from living their lives in the best possible way. However, the country did recover and would again if we ended up at war once more.

Best Movies About Civil War

Want to learn more about civil war, take a look at these three movies to find out more:

The Purge: Election Year' Is with Hillary Clinton

The Purge: Election Year (2016) – this film is set in the future and depicts the battle between democrat vs republican for power. The country has fallen into disarray and people are divided between the two parties, both battling it out to win control. The movie goes on to show what happens when laws that demand peace are repealed and politicians are left to face their own mortality while trying to win the election.


Film - Hotel Rwanda - Into Film

Hotel Rwanda (2004) – this film is based on the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and tells the story of a hotel manager that works to conceal Tutsi’s from the Hutu’s. The story is based on a real hotel manager and shows the horrors that people went through when the country became divided in a civil war.


Gone with the Wind (1939) directed by Victor Fleming • Reviews, film + cast • Letterboxd

Gone with the Wind (1939) – this is perhaps the most famous film about civil war around and has come under huge criticism in recent years as the plot works to rewrite history and the way the civil war panned out.