Starting wars in Hearts of Iron IV

Today we’ll take a look at how to start a war in Hearts of Iron IV. Starting a war can be more difficult than it may seem at first for a newcomer, but don’t worry, we’ll get through it together!

Starting a war by ideology

The ways of starting a war vary according to the ideology that prevails in your country…

  • Democracy => you usually have strict restrictions on starting a war
  • Fascism / Communism => in most cases, you can declare war practically immediately

… in the case of democracy, you cannot declare war on other states within a certain % of world tension if you don’t take the focus tree route where aggression against another state can be explored. On the other hand, if you play for a country where fascism or communism prevails, you can start a war almost immediately.

How to declare war in Hearts of Iron IV?

In order to start a war, you have to publicly declare that you want to carry out some aggression against a certain state in question as I have already outlined above…

Where to find Justify War goal

…in fact, conflicts are not just wars which start out of the blue – usually, there is some tension or some incidents that are referred to as a casus belli. In Hearts of Iron IV are two ways to declare war – the first is the justification illustrated above and the second is research in the focus tree. To be successful you will need to be able to combine these paths. Because research in focus tree can be faster and therefore more effective.

Justify War goals

A simple way that works for fascist/communist states is to press “Justify War goals” in the country detail and then select which provinces you want to take. This path will cost you political power, you will have to wait longer, but in the end you will have the power to start a war.

Right from the start we can invade Switzerland like Germany

Available targets of war

There is a total number of 9 different war objectives available in Hearts of Iron IV. If you play as a fascist or communist country, you will end up using Conquer mode. The other objectives are mostly available with an event or just by exploring the focus tree.

  • Conquer
  • Conquer (Focus)
  • Puppet (Focus)
  • Take claimed state
  • Retake core state
  • Annex
  • Civil War
  • Topple Government
  • Independence

It is also important to remember that war aims can expire. Specifically, Conquer will be valid for 60 days after you meet the conditions – then you’ll need to retry/pay for it. A path using Conquer (Focus) or Puppet (Focus) will expire after 730 days.

Research in focus tree

Another way is the “focus tree” which allows you to get a war goal for selected countries. Focus trees are stories oriented and do have some flow. For some countries, for example, you can use such a focus tree to change the mode and then make a war.

For example, in the case of Czechoslovakia, I can take the somewhat unconventional “own empire” route from the start, where you form an alliance with Yugoslavia or Romania and invade Hungary or Bulgaria.

Germany can be played in a similar way. Thanks to fascism, you can denounce anyone at any time, but it will cost you political power and also 260 days of declaration of war. Whereas, if you take a classic route and gradually build up manpower, you will have the power to declare war faster.

Danzig or War option in Germany

This way is a bit more natural and faster. Moreover, if you have all the DLC, similar paths will be available for each major country you play for.

So how to start a war in Hearts of Iron IV?

Once you have a war goal on any of the neighboring states, you should see this icon…

… if it was done through the focus tree, it is possible that the war will start immediately in case it is a reaction of the target state to some event.

However, if you search for the button, then just click on the target country and then on “declare war” in the options and the war with that country will start almost immediately.

Declare war goals by command

In case, you are playing with the developer line on, you can use the nocb command which should disable all barriers for declaring wars. You can declare a war on any neighboring country almost instantly.

More information about declaring war by command in HOI4

Free war goals settings

There is also an option to set “always free” war goals before starting the game, which will mean that you will be able to justify war goals against any country at any time and in any way. However, in a game set up like this, you won’t be able to play much in the mode in which you can earn achievements.

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