Glossary of terms

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catalyst a person or thing that causes a change or event to happen
Catholic a member of the Catholic Church, the branch of Christianity
cavalry the group of soldiers in an army who fight on horseback
ceasefire an arrangement in which countries or groups of people that are fighting each other agree to stop fighting
celerity swiftness in acting or moving; speed
censor to officially examine letters of the media and cut out any information that is regarded as secret
cipher a secret system of writing used to send encrypted messages
civil war a war or conflict fought between 2 or more different groups of people who live in the same country
civilian describes a person who is not a member of the armed forces
coalition an alliance between two or more nations, groups or political parties, especially for some temporary and specific reason
collectivism the political belief that a country's industries and services should be owned and controlled by the state or by all the people in a country
collier a ship designed to transport coal
colony a country that is controlled by a more powerful country
combatant a nation or person engaged in active fighting with enemy forces
commandeer officially take charge of a vehicle, vessel, building, supplies or equipment for a military purpose
commemorate to remember an event or person through a special action or ceremony or a specially created object
commerce raiding a form of naval warfare that disrupt logistics of the enemy on the open sea by attacking its merchant shipping
commission an official document issued by a government that confers an appointment or rank in the armed forces
Commonwealth of Nations a voluntary association of the United Kingdom, states that were previously part of the British Empire, and dependencies
compensation money or anything given as an equivalent to make amends for losses or damages
conscientious objector someone who refuses to meet a community or political obligation, such as compulsory military service
conscription when citizens are made to join their country's military force, such as the army
contingent a group of military personnel serving on the same side or for the same cause
convalesce to rest and recover health after an illness or operation
convoy a group of ships with an escort of warships, or a group of vehicles travelling together with a military escort
cordite a smokeless explosive substance used in bombs and guns
cot case a person too ill to leave their bed
counterattack a military attack in response to an attack
coup d'etat overthrowing of an existing government illegally or by force
curfew a law that people must stay home after a particular time at night, often during a war or civilian crisis
de-mining the process of removing landmines
decoration an official title or honour given to someone, usually in the form of a medal, as a reward for military bravery
degenerate to become worse in some way
delegation a small group of people sent to a place to have talks with other people as representatives of a larger group of people
demilitarise to remove any military presence or function in an area
demobilise to release troops from military service - demobilisation (noun)
deploy to organise and position troops, weapons or resources ready for action - deployment (noun)
descent a person's family background, especially their nationality or social status
deserter someone who leaves their job in the armed forces without permission
destroyer a small, heavily armed warship
detachment a group of soldiers sent away from the main group to do a special job
dictator a ruler who has complete power in a country, especially power which was obtained by force and is used unfairly
digger an Australian or New Zealander, especially a soldier; often used as a term of address
diorama a miniature three-dimensional scene with models of figures arranged against a background
dirigible an airship, such as a zeppelin
disembark to unload goods or passengers from a ship or aeroplane
dismount to get down from a camel, horse, bicycle or armoured vehicle
dispatch a message or report that is sent by army officers or government officials to their headquarters - also 'despatch'
displaced persons who lack a home, through war, political exile, destruction of shelter, or lack of money
displaced person someone who lost their home through war, political exile, destruction of shelter or lack of money