War and Peace

Introduction

War and Peace | 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.

The history of Peace is as old as the history of humanity itself, and certainly as old as War. War is often thought to be the natural state of humanity, Peace of any sort being fragile and fleeting. However, Peace in its various forms has been by far humanity's more common experience, as much of history has been relatively peaceful and orderly, while frameworks for security, law and justice have constantly been advancing. Thus, over the centuries the concept of Peace has been broadened from the absence of overt violence and war to something much more sophisticated, incorporating terms such als peacemaking, conflict resolution, and statebuilding.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on War and Peace. 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 systematic classification → War and peace research and subject headings (keywords) War and Peace 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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Bibliographies

Systematic classification → War and peace research

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  • Grayling, A.C., War: An Inquiry, New Haven; London, Yale University Press, 2017.

    A renowned philosopher challenges long-held views on just wars, ethical conduct during war, why wars occur, how they alter people and societies, and more. For residents of the twenty-first century, a vision of a future without warfare is almost inconceivable. Though wars are terrible and destructive, they also seem unavoidable. In this original and deeply considered book, A. C. Grayling examines, tests, and challenges the concept of war. He proposes that a deeper, more accurate understanding of war may enable us to reduce its frequency, mitigate its horrors, and lessen the burden of its consequences. Grayling explores the long, tragic history of war and how warfare has changed in response to technological advances. He probes much-debated theories concerning the causes of war and considers positive changes that may result from war. How might these results be achieved without violence? In a profoundly wise conclusion, the author envisions “just war theory” in new moral terms, taking into account the lessons of World War II and the Holocaust and laying down ethical principles for going to war and for conduct during war.

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  • Cox, A., Wilsonian Approaches to American Conflicts: From the War of 1812 to the First Gulf War, London; New York: Routledge, 2017.

    This book explores US foreign policy, specifically the history of America’s entry into the War of 1812, the First World War, the Korean War and the First Gulf War. Using a historical case study approach, it demonstrates how the Wilsonian Framework can give us a unique understanding of why the United States chose to go to war in those four conflicts. Cox argues that the Wilsonian Framework is an important concern for decision makers in the US and that democracy promotion and the concept of international law are driving factors in each of these decisions to go to war. The realist and economic explanations of these conflicts are not sufficient and we must draw on Wilsonianism to gain a clear understanding of these conflicts. Drawing on the history of American liberalism and the work of Walter Russel Mead and Tony Smith, the book presents a definition of Wilsonianism that represents a broad span of the history of The Republic, in order to show consistency across time. It also establishes why the realist and economic explanations fail to provide sufficient explanatory power and how the Wilsonian Framework can give important insights into these conflicts. This book will be of interest to international historians and international relations scholars at both postgraduate and scholar level. It will also be of use to those wishing to conduct future research into the motivations that drive the foreign and security policies of the United States.

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  • Jones, S.G., Waging Insurgent Warfare: Lessons from the Vietcong to the Islamic State, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2017.

    Since the end of World War II, there have been 181 insurgencies around the world. Today, there are over three dozen violent insurgencies, including in such high-profile countries as Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. These insurgencies have been led by a range of groups, from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to the Taliban in Afghanistan. In fact, most warfare today occurs in the form of insurgencies. If we are to understand modern warfare, we need to understand insurgencies. While numerous books have been written on the subject of insurgencies, there is no book that brings together all of what we know into one accessible volume that policymakers can understand and use. Waging Insurgent Warfare is that book. Seth G. Jones, who has been deeply involved in the Afghanistan war over the last decade, aims to help policymakers, scholars, and general readers better understand how groups start, wage, and end insurgencies. He weaves together examples from today and from recent history into an analytic synthesis that focuses on several sets of questions. First, what factors contribute to the rise of an insurgency? Second, what are the key components involved in conducting an insurgency? As he explains, insurgent groups need to decide on a strategy, employ a range of tactics, select an organizational structure, secure outside aid from state and non-state actors, and conduct information campaigns. They then have to routinely re-assess these decisions over the course of an insurgency. Third, what factors contribute to the end of insurgencies? Finally, what do the answers to these questions mean for the conduct of counterinsurgency warfare? Waging Insurgent Warfare is not only a practical handbook for understanding insurgent warfare, but it also has implications for waging counterinsurgent warfare. Highly readable, empirically sophisticated, and historically informed, Waging Insurgent Warfare will become a standard work on the topic.

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  • Goertz, G., P.F. Diehl and A. Balas, The Puzzle of Peace: The Evolution of Peace in the International System, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2017.

    The Puzzle of Peace moves beyond defining peace as the absence of war and develops a broader conceptualization and explanation for the increasing peacefulness of the international system. The authors track the rise of peace as a new phenomenon in international history starting after 1945. International peace has increased because international society has developed a set of norms dealing with territorial conflict, by far the greatest source of international war over previous centuries. These norms prohibit the use of military force in resolving territorial disputes and acquiring territory, thereby promoting border stability. This includes the prohibition of the acquisition of territory by military means as well as attempts by secessionist groups to form states through military force. International norms for managing international conflict have been accompanied by increased mediation and adjudication as means of managing existing territorial conflicts.

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Database

Blogs

  • The Raid on the Medway, 1667: Forcing Peace at Breda

    350 Years ago, the Treaty of Breda was signed at the Dutch city of Breda, 31 July, 1667, by England, the Dutch Republic, France, and Denmark-Norway. It brought a hasty end to the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667) in favour of the Dutch. It was a typical quick uti possidetis treaty. In the latter stages of the war, the Dutch had prevailed. Lieutenant-Admiral-General Michiel de Ruyter virtually controlled the seas around the south coast of England. His presence encouraged English commissioners to sue for peace quickly. Negotiations, which had been long protracted, and had actually begun in Breda before the raid, took only ten days to conclude after resumption of talks.

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  • Interview Sigrid Kaag

    This month, we have the honor of interviewing Ms. Sigrid Kaag, a top Dutch diplomat who currently serves as a United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). Last month, the Dutch Carnegie Foundation awarded Sigrid Kaag the Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize. Before the ceremony took place, we took the opportunity to interview Ms. Kaag to discuss her work at the UN, in particular, the succesful UN-OPCW joint mission Ms. Kaag led to eliminate the chemical weapons programme in Syria. We also discussed the role of international law in her daily work at the UN. Here’s what she had to say.

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  • "That the Guns may Fall Silent at Least upon the Night the Angels Sang"

    Only five months after the outbreak of the Great War in Europe, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies. Late on Christmas Eve 1914, men of the British Expeditionary Force heard Germans troops in the trenches opposite them singing carols and patriotic songs and saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches. Messages began to be shouted between the trenches.

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  • Africa's Peacemakers: Nobel Peace Laureates

    As Africa and its diaspora commemorate fifty years of post-independence Pan-Africanism, Adekeye Adebajo’s new book ‘Africa’s Peace Makers: Nobel Peace Laureates of African Descent’ provides profound insight into the thirteen prominent individuals of African descent who have won the Nobel Peace Prize since 1950. These laureates have been variously involved in women’s rights, environmental protection, and nuclear disarmament. ‘Africa’s Peacemakers’ reveals how this remarkable collection of individuals has changed the world.

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  • International Congress of Women of 1915

    This Spring, on April 28, the Peace Palace will participate in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the International Congress of Women that took place in the city of The Hague in 1915. The women who attended this Congress a century ago, were suffragists who up until that time, met every other year through their national organization at the International Women Suffrage Alliance. A small delegation headed by Dutch suffragist and physician Dr. Aletta Jacobs, believed it to be important to organize a meeting, even during wartime, to discuss the principles of constructive peace.

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  • 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. A computer hacker can launch an attack by infiltrating databases and destroying critical data in any industry, company or government organization. Imagine the devastation of a deliberate power outage or shortage in the water supply. We’ve seen the dire results when this occurs because of a natural disaster. Such conflict has the ability to completely incapacitate an economy. The use of computers and internet in conducting warfare in cyberspace, is becoming increasingly more sophisticated.

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