In this contemporary work, Coleman Phillipson, gives a systematic account, from the point of view of international law, of most of the questions and incidents that had so far risen in the Great War. Since the outbreak of the war in August 1914, international law had been subjected to severe trials. According to Phillipson, the number of violations of international law was large:
"Indeed, so many have been committed, that it seems as though the whole fabric of international law has been demolished, and the sacred law of humanity - to which it is indissolubly joined - rejected and spurned. But, happily, not all the belligerents have contributed to bring about this deplorable result".
Phillipson states that nearly all the infractions of law are to be laid to the account of Germany. He therefore pays considerable attention to the theories of the laws of war and of international law in general advanced by German writers, to the views held in German military circles, and, especially, to the practices of the German forces in the field, both on land and on sea.
Despite the numerous breaches of international law indicated, the author states that we need not despair of its future:
"Where there is life, where there is a nation, where there is a community of States there must be restraint, discipline, law. The existence of international law, then, is inevitable. Every infringement of it that is recognized as such implies its existence, its validity, and its applicability. The main problem to which men and nations devote themselves is how to fortify it by such potent sanctions as will make its violation not merely dishonourable, but unprofitable to an offending member of the community of States".
A selection of relevant publications from the Peace Palace Library collection
- Garner, J.W., International Law and the World War, 2 vols., London, Longmans, Green and Co, 1920.
- Hankel, G., Die Leipziger Prozesse: Deutsche Kriegsverbrechen und ihre strafrechtliche Verfolgung nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg, Hamburg, Hamburger Edition, 2003.
- Hirschfeld, G., G. Krumeich and I. Renz (eds.), Brill’s Encyclopedia of the First World War, Leiden, Brill, 2012.
- Hirschfeld, G. und G. Krumeich (Hrsg.), Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg, Paderborn, Schöningh, 2009.
- Horne, J.N. and A.R. Kramer, German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2001.
- Joll, J.B., The Origins of the First World War, Harlow, Longman, 1984.
- MacMillan, M.O., The War that ended Peace: How Europe abandoned Peace for the First World War, London, Profile Books, 2013.
- Münkler, H., Der Große Krieg: die Welt 1914 bis 1918, Berlin, Rowohlt, 2013.
- Phillipson, C., International Law and the Great War, London, Fisher Unwin; Sweet and Maxwell, 1915.
- Pöhlmann, M., J.S. Corum and G. Hirschfeld (eds.), Brill’s Encyclopedia of the First World War, Leiden, Brill, 2012.
- Stevenson, D., 1914-1918: the History of the First World War, London, Penguin, 2005.
- Storey, W.K., The First World War: a Concise Global History, Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield, 2009.