War

Introduction

War - Research Guide International Law

War is a state of organized, armed and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. In addition to the existence of this organized behavior pattern amongst human primates, very similar organized warlike behavior patterns are also found in many other primate species. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of War is usually called Peace. In the 1832 treatise On War, Prussian military general and theoretician Carl Von Clausewitz defined war as follows: ‘War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will’. Polemology is the study of human conflict and war.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on War. It provides the materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library’s classification index code 10. War in General; Peace Research: In General and subject heading (keyword) War are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.

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  • Barash, D.P. and C.P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies, Los Angeles, CA, Sage, 2014. Showcase item

    Barash, D.P. and C.P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies, Los Angeles, CA, Sage, 2014.

    This thoroughly revised Third Edition of Peace and Conflict Studies sets the gold standard as an accessible introduction and comprehensive exploration of this vital subject. The authors share their vast knowledge and analysis of 21st-century world events—including new coverage on timely topics such as the scope and history of peace and conflict studies, the nature of violence and nonviolence, cutting-edge military technologies, the rise of the “BRIC” countries, and the US and Global Peace Indexes. With an encyclopedic scope, this introductory text chronicles a plethora of important global topics from pre-history to the present.

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  • Gillespie, A., The Causes of War, Volume I - 3000 BCE to 1000 CE, Oxford, Hart, 2013.

    Gillespie, A., The Causes of War, Volume I - 3000 BCE to 1000 CE, Oxford, Hart, 2013.

    This is the first volume of a projected four-volume series charting the causes of war from 3000 BCE to the present day, written by a leading international lawyer, and using as its principal materials the documentary history of international law largely in the form of treaties and the negotiations which led up to them. These volumes seek to show why millions of people, over thousands of years, slayed each other. In departing from the various theories put forward by historians, anthropologists and psychologists, Gillespie offers a different taxonomy of the causes of war, focusing on the broader settings of politics, religion, migrations and empire-building. These four contexts were dominant and often overlapping justifications for the first four thousand years of human civilisation, for which written records exist.

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  • Lang, A.F. (et al.) (eds.), Just War: Authority, Tradition, and Practice, Washington, DC, Georgetown University Press, 2013.

    Lang, A.F. (et al.) (eds.), Just War: Authority, Tradition, and Practice, Washington, DC, Georgetown University Press, 2013.

    The just war tradition is central to the practice of international relations, in questions of war, peace, and the conduct of war in the contemporary world, but surprisingly few scholars have questioned the authority of the tradition as a source of moral guidance for modern statecraft. Just War: Authority, Tradition, and Practice brings together many of the most important contemporary writers on just war to consider questions of authority surrounding the just war tradition. Authority is critical in two key senses. First, it is central to framing the ethical debate about the justice or injustice of war, raising questions about the universality of just war and the tradition’s relationship to religion, law, and democracy. Second, who has the legitimate authority to make just-war claims and declare and prosecute war? Such authority has traditionally been located in the sovereign state, but non-state and supra-state claims to legitimate authority have become increasingly important over the last twenty years as the just war tradition has been used to think about multilateral military operations, terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and sub-state violence. The chapters in this collection, organized around these two dimensions, offer a compelling reassessment of the authority issue’s centrality in how we can, do, and ought to think about war in contemporary global politics.

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  • Waldman, T., War, Clausewitz and the Trinity, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013.

    Waldman, T., War, Clausewitz and the Trinity, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013.
    Today, the ideas of Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) are employed almost ubiquitously in strategic studies, military history and defence literatures, but often in a manner which distorts their true meaning. In this book, Waldman explores Clausewitz’s central theoretical device for understanding war – the ‘remarkable trinity’ of politics, chance and passion. By situating the great Prussian in historical context, he presents a conception truer to Clausewitz’s intention. Seeking to achieve this through an in-depth reinterpretation of On War and Clausewitz’s other writings, conducted through the prism of the trinity, this book draws on existing studies but argues that there is room for clarification. It presents fresh perspectives into aspects of Clausewitz’s thought and emphasises elements of his theory that have often been neglected. Furthermore, it provides a solid basis from which debate on the nature of modern war can move forward.
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  • Mumford, A., Proxy Warfare, Cambridge, Polity, 2013.

    Mumford, A., Proxy Warfare, Cambridge, Polity, 2013.
    Proxy wars represent a perennial strand in the history of conflict. The appeal of ‘warfare on the cheap’ has proved an irresistible strategic allure for nations through the centuries. However, proxy wars remain a missing link in contemporary war and security studies. In this timely book Andrew Mumford sheds new light on the dynamics and lineage of proxy warfare from the Cold War to the War on Terror, whilst developing a cogent conceptual framework to explain their appeal. Tracing the political and strategic development of proxy wars throughout the last century, they emerge as a dominant characteristic of contemporary conflict. The book ably shows how proxy interventions often prolong existing conflicts given the perpetuity of arms, money and sometimes proxy fighters sponsored by third party donors. Furthermore, it emphasizes why, given the direction of the War on Terror, the rise of China as a global power, and the prominence now achieved by non-state actors in the ‘Arab Spring’, the phenomenon of proxy warfare is increasingly relevant to understandings of contemporary security. Proxy Warfare is an indispensable guide for students and scholars interested in the evolution and potential future direction of war and conflict in the modern world.
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  • Pejcinovic, L., War in International Society, London, Routledge, 2013.

    Pejcinovic, L., War in International Society, London, Routledge, 2013.

    Is war an institution of international society and how is it constituted as such across the evolution of international society? This book is an inquiry into the purpose of war as a social institution, as originally put forward by Hedley Bull. It offers a comprehensive examination of what is entailed in thinking of war as a social institution and as a mechanism for order. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 the subject of war has become increasingly relevant, with questions about who can wage war against whom, the way war is fought, and the reasons that lead us to war exposing fundamental inadequacies in our theorisation of war. War has long been considered in the discipline of International Relations in the context of the problem of order. However, the inclusion of war as an ‘institution’ is problematic for many. How can we understand an idea and practice so often associated with coercion, destruction, and disorder as contributing to order and coexistence? This study contends that an understanding of the core elements that establish the character of war as an institution of modern international society will give us important insights into the purpose, if any, of war in contemporary international relations. This ground-breaking book will be of strong interest to students and scholars of international relations, international relations theory, the English school, security studies and warfare.

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  • Rengger, N.J., Just War and International Order: the Uncivil Condition in World Politics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Rengger, N.J., Just War and International Order: the Uncivil Condition in World Politics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    At the opening of the twenty-first century, while obviously the world is still struggling with violence and conflict, many commentators argue that there are many reasons for supposing that restrictions on the use of force are growing. The establishment of the International Criminal Court, the growing sophistication of international humanitarian law and the ‘rebirth’ of the just war tradition over the last fifty years are all taken as signs of this trend. This book argues that, on the contrary, the just war tradition, allied to a historically powerful and increasingly dominant conception of politics in general, is complicit with an expansion of the grounds of supposedly legitimate force, rather than a restriction of it. In offering a critique of this trajectory, ‘Just War and International Order’ also seeks to illuminate a worrying trend for international order more generally and consider what, if any, alternative there might be to it.

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  • Checkel, J.T., Transnational Dynamics of Civil War, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Checkel, J.T., Transnational Dynamics of Civil War, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Civil wars are the dominant form of violence in the contemporary international system, yet they are anything but local affairs. This book explores the border-crossing features of such wars by bringing together insights from international relations theory, sociology, and transnational politics with a rich comparative-quantitative literature. It highlights the – framing, resource mobilization, socialization, among others – that link the international and transnational to the local, emphasizing the methods required to measure them. Contributors examine specific mechanisms leading to particular outcomes in civil conflicts ranging from Chechnya, to Afghanistan, to Sudan, to Turkey. Transnational Dynamics of Civil War thus provides a significant contribution to debates motivating the broader move to mechanism-based forms of explanation, and will engage students and researchers of international relations, comparative politics, and conflict processes.

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  • Regan, R.J., Just War: Principles and Cases, Washington, DC, Catholic University of America Press, 2013.

    Regan, R.J., Just War: Principles and Cases, Washington, DC, Catholic University of America Press, 2013.

    Bringing just war doctrine to life, Richard J. Regan raises a host of difficult questions about the evils of war, asking first and foremost whether war is ever justified, and, if so, for what purposes? Regan considers the basic principles of just war theory and applies those principles to historical and ongoing conflicts through case studies and discussion questions. His well-received 1996 work is updated with the addition of case studies on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Islamist terrorist organizations. Especially timely are the added discussions of the use of drones to assassinate terrorist leaders and, in the matter of weapons of mass destruction, asking how certain is “certain enough” that a country has weapons of mass destruction before it can be justly attacked? Regan considers the roles of the president, Congress, and the U.N. Security Council in determining when long-term U.S. military involvement is justified.

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Database

Blogs

  • Peace Palace Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize 2012 awarded to War Child

    On November 15 2012 War Child received the Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize.

    The Carnegie Foundation awarded the Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize to War Child for the global efforts that War Child has made on behalf of children and young people in (former) conflict.

    War Child is an independent humanitarian organization that since 1995 has committed itself to helping children and youngsters that have been affected by war to attain a peaceful future. With a creative approach War Child helps children and teens deal with their war experiences.

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  • The Body Counts : Civilian Casualties in War

    Throughout the post Cold War period there has been a widespread view that war and armed conflict have changed radically since the First World War to the point where some 80-90% of war victims are now civilians. Many modern wars have been accompanied by significant depopulations, along with destruction of infrastructure and resources.

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  • “Resistance is Futile”

    Many people have expressed their concern over this futuristic way of Predator warfare as practized by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Amongst others, Philip Ashton, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, presented a critical report on the secrecy of the US drone program and its legal basis.

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  • Cyberwar: from fiction to fact

    Computers rather than missiles could pose the biggest security threat of the future with nations able to cripple rivals by using cyberwarfare. Computer strikes could damage a country’s infrastructure as well as defence equipment, cutting off communications, power supplies and military command systems. Major interference on a large scale can be generated by computer viruses. [...]

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