Time War

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Who started the Time War? It was the Time Lords.

Here's what happened.

Originally, the Daleks and the Time Lords evolved without much knowledge of each other. The Daleks were trapped inside their bunker after a Thal attack (The Daleks) and eventually escaped, spreading their "empire" across the Galaxies and being thwarted by the Doctor of an occasion (Dalek Masterplan, Power of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks, Planet of the Daleks). Eventually, Civil War, thanks to the Doctor, destroyed them (Evil of the Daleks). Now, having seen what they could become, the Time Lords made the first strike in a Time War, sending the Doctor back through Time to stop them from being created in the first place (Genesis of the Daleks).

From there, two things happened. The Daleks became aware, thanks to their interrogation of the Doctor, that there was more life outside of Skaro a lot earlier than they initially would, and this made them attack Earth, attempting to move it to the Medusa Cascade as part of the Ultimate Weapon (the reality bomb) (Dalek Invasion of Earth). This was thwarted again by the Doctor, but it also caused another new reality, when guerrillas attempted to use time travel to stop the events leading the Dalek invasion (Day of the Daleks).

However, the main thing that happened was that the Dalek creator, Davros, saw a little of the future and managed to prepare for it. He installed a life support system in his chair, which enabled him to survive the initial Dalek betrayal (Genesis of the Daleks) and then became a massive part in their "new" evolution. He was resurrected during the Movellan War (Destiny of the Daleks) and rescued again when needed (Resurrection of the Daleks). After that, however, he became a little more wily, and began to create a new breed of Daleks-Imperial Daleks.

Hiding on Necros in the guise of the Great Healer, he developed a way to use the dead to create a new breed of Daleks (Revelation of the Daleks) and this eventually culminated in another Time War scuirmish--the Shoreditch Incident-where two factions of Daleks fought for control of the Omega Device-a stellar manipul-ator.

Although it seemed Davros had won, this was a trick by the Doctor, and its use destroyed Skaro (Remembrance of the Daleks). Davros escaped, and this was when the Time War began in earnest. He joined forces with all remaining Daleks and waged war-sending a patrol back in time to destroy the Doctor at his own "genesis" (The Chase) and attacking Time Lords on the outskirts of Gallifreyan society-putting the Master on trial and setting him up as a trojan horse to destroy the Doctor.

As the war raged in earnest, a member of a secret caste of Daleks-the Cult of Skaro-broke the Time Lock and rescued Davros from certain death. Beforehand, the Cult would use their temporal shifts to try and create a new breed of Human Daleks in 1930s Earth (Evolution of the Daleks). Leaderless, the Emperor took control again, but the war was stopped by the Eighth Doctor, in a move which destroyed both races. Only a few survived.

So far, the Doctor and the Master are the only two known Time Lords; a single soldier Dalek escaped (Dalek) and the Emperor (Parting of the Ways), as well as the Cult of Skaro (Doomsday). Davros re-emerged, creating a new breed of purebred Kaled Daleks, but ultimately, was thought not fit to control them (Journey's End). These were destroyed by the Doctor's clone/regrown hand and a merger between him and Donna Noble. It was hinted that whilst the Empire was destroyed, Davros and perhaps Caan have escaped.

The Time War changed not only the Universe, but the Time Lords themselves, which might be due to the cyclic nature of the time lock, at the heart of which everything was constantly being ressurected and destroyed-—"a travesty of life," according to one council member. It is now known that not only the Master, but Rassilon was resurrected, and became the Lord President of the Time Lords. In him can be seen the way in which the Time Lords were changed by the war, becoming a war driven people who would do anything to survive and carry on the war (The End of Time). The use of "Vulgar" Technology became wide spread, although some technologies were still avoided, such as "The Moment" (The Day of the Doctor).

One of the consequences of the end of the Time War was that both the Time Lords and the Sisterhood of Karn regained their ancient stature and powers, with the Sisterhood's in particular reverting to their mental heights at the end of the Old Time, and they have also learned and perfected Time Lord regenerative sciences, even though they themselves do not use them.