The Just War Theory
Throughout Christian history, the church has always held high contempt for the declaration of war. The idea of war often brings thoughts of millions of innocent deaths, billions of dollars spent on weapons and repairs, and the grief and sorrow that are experienced by people worldwide. With so much being sacrificed, in the end, little is gained to compensate for all the destruction and death that is caused. Although the church is known for its strict interpretation for tradition, it understands that under very stern circumstances, war cannot be avoided. Whether or not a war can be avoided is often determined by the principles of the just war theory, a doctrine of military ethics created by St. Augustine. The just war theory has provided the church, as well as the government, with a set requirements for determining whether a war will be worth the repercussions. While reviewing the conditions that led to World War I, one can use the just war theory to determine whether it was or was not, in fact, a just war.
The just war theory consists of seven key principles that must all be met before a war is war is considered just. The first principle is that a just war can only be waged as a last resort and all non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of the force can be justified. After Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, Austro-Hungarian officials issued an ultimatum to the Siberian government. After the ultimatum had expired, Austro-Hungary had no choice but to declare war on Siberia. The second principle of the theory is that a war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority, not individuals or groups, for example, who pose no actual authority. World War I was fought between two forces that both contained “legitimate authorities”: the allied powers and the central powers. The allied powers included the United Kingdom, Russian Empire, France, the United States, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Serbia, Romania, and Japan. The...
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