The Necessity of War

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International Relations
Is War Necessary for Peace?

As society progresses, humans have started to question whether or not war is necessary or can ever be justified. The view held by most people post-World War II seems to be that war is needed and morally justifiable when it is waged as a response to injustice and as an attempt to bring peace to an area. This way of thinking suggests that the ends justify the means. However, this raises the question of whether we can have peace without having to resort to war or if we have no other choice but to use violence and destruction to suppress more violence and destruction. In short, is the use of war necessary to bring peace? People have responded to these questions in different ways. Some like Gandhi, Martin King Luther and John Lennon (to name a few) take a pacifist approach and believe that war is wrong no matter what the reason behind it is. According to them, the killing of human beings should always be avoided even if the end result is peace and the betterment of humanity. For them, the ends do not justify the means. They believe peace can be attained through non-violent methods like passive resistance instead of through war. Others take a more realistic approach. They bring up the example of Hitler and Nazi Germany and say that the optimism of pacifists would never have held up against such a brutal regime. Indeed, when we look back on it, war seems to have been the best solution for dealing with the Nazis. Most people would agree that, while war is a terrible phenomenon, sometimes we have no other choice but to use force to stop people from doing terrible things to each other. However, in my opinion the question of whether or not war can bring peace is a question wrongly asked. Its answer depends on what our definition of peace is. The definition of peace is not simply the absence of war or hostility but rather the desire to work harmoniously together with the people around us in order to live a life of serenity and contentment. True peace results from embracing our differences and focusing on our common desires. It causes us to take others into account before we take an action in order to see what effect it will have on them. Wars are usually started because of ideological differences between two opposing sides or because one side feels a need to retaliate for an injustice they’ve had to suffer in the past. While using military force might be an efficient way to stop the fighting that results from this clash of ideas or desires, it can’t reconcile the two opposing sides with each other and eradicate the mindset that started the conflict in the first place. This creates a ‘ticking time bomb’ scenario. While things may appear calm on the surface because the fighting has stopped, old resentments and hatred are still there and will continue to ‘explode’ into bursts of violence against the other side. War may again be used to suppress the fighting but the cycle will continue. To reiterate, war can only stem violence but can not bring peace because the ideologies of the opposing sides have not been changed, no true desire to work together has been created and new resentments or vendetta’s may have been created in people who previously had no interest in the war.

War can not change the ideologies of the two opposing sides and can even strengthen the beliefs of the losing side so they are more determined than ever to ‘beat’ the winning side. Each party will believe that their ideas are justified and ‘right’ while the opposing side is ‘wrong’. An example of this is Germany in the war years. Before the beginning of World War I, the Germans wanted to create the German Empire. As a result, they started a naval and arms race against Britain. Germany wanted to become a superpower capable of competing with Britain while Britain wanted to maintain it’s status and ensure no one would threaten it’s position. (The Germans said they wanted their place in the sun, while the British...
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