The Timber War is the debellation of the city state of Timber by its larger neighbor Galbadia in Final Fantasy VIII. Although the invasion phase ends with a quick Galbadian victory, numerous resistance groups remain active and frequently challenge Galbadia's control through guerrilla warfare, although as of late the resistance has been largely suppressed by Galbadia's strong occupancy.
Soon after Vinzer Deling became president of Galbadia, he sought to consolidate his power by invading Timber. Timber's army quickly collapsed at the hands of the powerful Galbadian forces, and stubborn Timber nationals took to the surrounding forests to fight a guerilla war. The Galbadians didn't hesitate to burn down the forest to hunt down the guerillas. During this phase of the war Galbadian Soldiers Laguna Loire, Kiros Seagill and Ward Zabac were involved, but got lost in the burning forest due to Laguna's poor navigation skills before evacuating to Deling City. The fathers of Zone and Watts were executed in the early phase of the war to statuate an example (with President Deling personally shooting the corpses afterwards), leading their sons to join a resistance movement.
The following years Galbadian counter-insurgency marginalized the Timber resistance, and currently only a handful of groups remain with the Forest Owls being the only active one. However, as a many were killed or imprisoned by the Galbadians refusal to accept Galbadian control remains part of the local consciousness, and according to Rinoa "almost everyone" in Timber are passive resistance members.
Following the SeeD's partly successful intervention in the Siege of Dollet, Cid Kramer dispatches Squall Leonhart, Zell Dincht and Selphie Tilmitt to Timber to assist the Forest Owls, a small resistance group headed by Zone "until Timber gains its independence". They are presented with a plan to kidnap Galbadian president Vinzer Deling in a train-swapping mission, which initially goes swift but they soon discover they had kidnapped a doppelgänger.
The Forest Owls come up with a plan to interrupt Deling's live speech and proclaim the restoration of Timber's independence in front of the cameras. The SeeD reluctantly go along, but the plan is cancelled when it turns out the area is heavily guarded. During the broadcast Seifer Almasy, a rogue SeeD cadet, takes Deling hostage before being lured away by Edea Kramer. The Galbadian army searches the town and destroys the Forest Owls' base. While most Forest Owls members go into hiding, Rinoa Heartilly escapes with the SeeD to Galbadia Garden and Zone and Watts go undercover and later find refuge on the White SeeD Ship. What becomes of the Timber resistance after this is unknown.
- During the party's train ride to Timber Zell offers to educate Squall on Timber, and if Squall complies he explains Timber was invaded 18 years ago. Considering Laguna's involvement in the war closer to 20 years ago, the accuracy of this statement is ambiguous. It is possible Zell was mistaken in saying it was 18 years ago, or that the war went on for quite some time after Laguna had already left Timber, meaning the war would not have been as swift as implied in the game.