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 "War is hell."
– William Tecumseh Sherman
 "I only understand friendship or scorched earth."
– Roger Ailes

Scorched Earth is an Industrial Era civic in Civilization VI. It can be hurried by building 2 Field Cannons.


In antiquity war was often regarded as an honorable deed - you stand face-to-face with your enemy and get to defeat him by the strength of your arms (or die in the attempt, of course).

But the Industrial Era introduces modern weapons, with their explosions and destruction on a much larger scale than any previously possible. And suddenly the respect for the enemy disappears. Just as the philosophical movement of humanism preaches respect to life, this life gets destroyed ever more easily through modern weapons. And this incredible contradiction finds its peak in the "scorched earth" strategy - when an army invades a land and destroys its towns, villages and farms, instead of its soldiers. The result is terrible, but effective - the invaded populace simply loses the will to fight and to support the war, which is much preferable to fighting determined soldiers on a level battlefield.

Thus is modern war born. This Civic renders many older Policies from the Ancient and Classical Eras obsolete, and introduces modern war-oriented Military policies. It also earns you the respect of enemies and friends alike, awarding you 2 Envoy Envoys.

Civilopedia entry[]

By the time of the American Civil War – the first industrial war – war wasn’t just about defeating the enemy’s armies, but about destroying its means and morale to carry on the war. Of course from the days of ancient Egypt through Napoleon’s empire civilians had always got caught in the cross-fire, and sometimes were the targets, of the butchery. But it was the Industrial era wars that made wholesale destruction – “scorched earth” – a legitimate military strategy. When the American William Tecumseh Sherman marched across Georgia to the sea (it being a lot easier to burn undefended plantations and towns than actually fight battles), a new era in warfare began.

Scorched Earth: “a military strategy that involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area,” specifically all food sources and stores, transport vehicles, roads and bridges, communications, industrial plants, trade goods, and even the people themselves. Barbarians have been doing this since the dawn of civilization … that’s why they are termed “barbarians.”

While everyone practiced scorched earth warfare to some extent, it was the Soviets that proved most adept. In fact, what the Russians didn’t destroy in their country while retreating during World War II, the Germans did when they fell back three years later. So horrendous was the effects on the civilian population, and later during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, that the strategy of destroying the food and water supply and medical facilities during a conflict was banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Convention.

Civilization VI Civics [edit]
Ancient Code of LawsCraftsmanshipEarly EmpireForeign TradeMilitary TraditionMysticismState Workforce
Classical Defensive TacticsDrama and PoetryGames and RecreationMilitary TrainingPolitical PhilosophyRecorded HistoryTheology
Medieval Civil ServiceDivine RightFeudalismGuildsMedieval FairesMercenariesNaval Tradition
Renaissance Diplomatic ServiceExplorationHumanismMercantilismReformed ChurchThe Enlightenment
Industrial Civil EngineeringColonialismNationalismNatural HistoryOpera and BalletScorched EarthUrbanization
Modern CapitalismClass StruggleConservationIdeologyMass MediaMobilizationNuclear ProgramSuffrageTotalitarianism
Atomic Cold WarCultural HeritageProfessional SportsRapid DeploymentSpace Race
Information Distributed Sovereignty GS-Only.pngEnvironmentalism GS-Only.pngGlobalizationNear Future Governance GS-Only.pngOptimization Imperative GS-Only.pngSocial MediaVenture Politics GS-Only.png
Future GS-Only.png Cultural HegemonyExodus ImperativeFuture Civic*Global Warming MitigationInformation WarfareSmart Power Doctrine
* Future Civic is an Information Era civic until the Gathering Storm expansion.