College of Arts and Sciences


History and Spanish

Faculty Mentor

Tom Taylor, PhD

Faculty Editor

Nova Robinson, PhD

Student Editor

Emma Hyman


This manuscript examines the manifestation of total war in the Mexican Revolution and analyzes why such an extreme form of warfare occurred. “Total war” refers to a mass armed conflict that is unrestricted in the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, and the objectives pursued, as well as involving the complete mobilization of civilian and military resources for the war effort. In the Mexican Revolution, this was expressed in three main aspects: the implementation of excessive force by and against combatants, the perpetration of extreme violence, whether intentionally or unintentionally, against non-combatants, and the appropriation of civilian resources, which damaged civilian livelihood and threatened resource supplies. The essay cites specific examples of these aspects of total war, including the use of chemical warfare, the deliberate murder of civilians by combatants, and the pillaging of civilian property. In analyzing various incidents of the Mexican Revolution, the author determines that there are several reasons for the manifestation of total war. These include the use of heavy weaponry, brutal military tactics, the extended duration of the revolution, and the ideological differences between revolutionary factions.