|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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- "Gellert —
Your point about wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLES' OWN GOOD — this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and, yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counter-arguments. We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD."
- —Albus Dumbledore's letter expressing his support of the revolution [src]
The global wizarding war was a wizarding conflict fought in continental Europe ending in 1945; the common name for it is unknown. It was started by the Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald and his followers with the intentions of enslaving the Muggle population. To Grindelwald and his fanatics, they see it as "For the Greater Good Revolution".
In the village of Godric's Hollow during the summer of 1899, Albus Dumbledore, who was grieving the loss of his mother, met Gellert Grindelwald, the great nephew of his neighbour Bathilda Bagshot. The two boys took to each other at once, as they were both incredibly talented young men. When the young Grindelwald began telling Dumbledore about his ideas, he found that Dumbledore was in agreement — whether this was due to true belief on Dumbledore's part or out of something else is unclear. They also believed that wizards have been gifted with their magical powers for a reason, so that they might rule the non-magical population. Grindelwald was forced to leave Godric's Hollow after he had a duel with Dumbledore and his siblings, Aberforth and Ariana, in which Ariana died. Some time after leaving Godric's Hollow Grindelwald stole a Deathly Hallow - the Elder Wand from Mykew Gregorovitch, a famous wandmaker.
Rise to power
Over the coming years, Grindelwald began his dark revolution and his power grew throughout Europe, but Britain was left relatively unscathed, possibly because he was afraid of his old friend Dumbledore. Due to his obsession with the Deathly Hallows, Grindelwald's had adopted the symbol of the Hallows as his mark as he built up his organisation - an army of Dark wizards and witches following him and his quest. His attacks and risks of exposure he caused spread fear worldwide and he and his "fanatics" became widely feared, even in places where they weren't active. The threat that Grindelwald caused brought the attention of international authorities like the International Confederation of Wizards. A world wide hunt began for Gellert Grindelwald and it intensified as the attacks he caused began to expose the Wizarding World.
Attack on New York City (1926)
During his search for an obscurial in New York, Grindelwald adopted the identity of Percival Graves, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement for the Magical Congress of the United States of America. While he was able to identify Credence Barebone as the obscurial, he was unable to harness the destructive power of his obscurus and was captured through the combined efforts of the MACUSA Aurors, Newton Scamander and Porpentina Goldstein. President Seraphina Picquery imprisoned Grindelwald, but he later escaped.
Fall of Grindelwald (1945)
After Grindelwald's rise to power across Europe, the wizarding community desperately sought aid. The British Minister for Magic, Hector Fawley, was ousted from his office in 1939, for not taking adequate measures to stop Grindelwald's influence. He was replaced by the more proactive Leonard Spencer-Moon who proved himself a sound Minister in the context of international turmoil, but even so, Grindelwald's power was too large to handle by that point.
He constructed Nurmengard, a prison to hold his defeated opponents. It was a fortress protected by magical guards and anti-Apparition wards. Grindelwald's terrorising of Europe went on for years, during the Muggles' Second World War.
Albus Dumbledore's reputation as the most powerful wizard of the era made the wizarding community urge his intervention. Dumbledore knew he had to fight his former friend but kept pushing the moment until "only when it would have been too shameful for him to delay taking action any longer," as Dumbledore said himself. It resulted in a legendary duel between the two great wizards which brought Grindelwald to defeat. Dumbledore claimed the Elder Wand. The Dark wizard who had terrorised the magical society of continental Europe had fallen. He was ironically imprisoned in his own prison's highest tower where the slogan of Grindelwald was carved above the entrance: "For the Greater Good".
Behind the scenes
- J. K. Rowling was asked by a fan if it was a coincidence that Grindelwald was defeated in 1945, to which she replied it was not. She stated "It amuses me to make allusions to things that were happening in the Muggle world, so my feeling would be that while there's a global Muggle war going on, there's also a global wizarding war going on." Rowling also remarked that she feels that Muggle and wizarding wars feed each other.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Indirect mention)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (mentioned in 2017 edition)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (First appearance)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald