War and Peace


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 Classification scheme → War and peace research, Military art and science, War economics 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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Reference works

Recent books


 Periodicals, serial publications



Classification scheme → War and Peace Research

New titles

1. Guerre romane e diritto romano
Guerre romane e diritto romano / Prof. Benedict Kingsbury, Dott. Benjamin Straumann. - Milano : Giuffrè Editore. - Page 55-78 In: Alberico Gentili : giustizia, guerra, impero : atti del convegno XIV Giornata gentiliana : in occasione della presentazione dell'edizione inglese del "De Armis Romanis" = The Wars of the Romans : San Ginesio, 24-25 settembre 2010, ISBN 9788814192975: (2014), Page 55-78. - 2014
Keywords: War, Wars, Laws of war, Roman Empire, Roman law, Imperialism, History of international law, Alberico Gentili (1552-1608),

2. Machiavelli's Rome and Gentili's "De Armis Romanis": the Case of the Early Roman Kings
Machiavelli's Rome and Gentili's "De Armis Romanis": the Case of the Early Roman Kings / Prof. Robert Howse. - Milano : Giuffrè Editore. - Page 79-102 In: Alberico Gentili : giustizia, guerra, impero : atti del convegno XIV Giornata gentiliana : in occasione della presentazione dell'edizione inglese del "De Armis Romanis" = The Wars of the Romans : San Ginesio, 24-25 settembre 2010, ISBN 9788814192975: (2014), Page 79-102. - 2014
Keywords: War, Wars, Laws of war, Roman Empire, Roman law, Imperialism, History of international law, Alberico Gentili (1552-1608),

Classification scheme → War and Peace Research

Librarian's choice

  • Due-Gundersen, N., The Privatization of Warfare and Inherently Governmental Functions: Private Military Companies in Iraq and the State Monopoly of Regulated Force, Cambridge; Antwerp; Portland, Intersentia, 2016.

    Since the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq, the private military sector has seen the largest growth of profit for decades. As Iraq continues to be the focal point of private military clients, staff and related actors, the recurring issue of legitimacy must be addressed. While many texts focus only on existing or proposed legislation, this book analyses the public perception of private military companies (PMCs) and, of wider significance, how their use by states affects how the general public perceives state legitimacy of monopolizing force. Furthermore, this book provides a timely overview of how the energy sector and PMCs are challenging the established sovereignty of politically fragmented oil states, illustrating how energy firms may become as culpable as states in their partnerships with the private military sector and subsequent political ramifications.

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  • Fabre, C., Cosmopolitan Peace, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2016.

    This book articulates a cosmopolitan theory of the principles which ought to regulate belligerents' conduct in the aftermath of war. Throughout, it relies on the fundamental principle that all human beings, wherever they reside, have rights to the freedoms and resources which they need to lead a flourishing life, and that national and political borders are largely irrelevant to the conferral of those rights. With that principle in hand, the book provides a normative defence of restitutive and reparative justice, the punishment of war criminals, the resort to transitional foreign administration as a means to govern war-torn territories, and the deployment of peacekeeping and occupation forces. It also outlines various reconciliatory and commemorative practices which might facilitate the emergence of trust amongst enemies and thereby improve prospects for peace. The book offers analytical arguments and normative conclusions, with many historical and/or contemporary examples.

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  • Frowe, H., The Ethics of War and Peace, London; New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.

    Frowe, H., The Ethics of War and Peace, London; New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.

    When is it right to go to war? When is a war illegal? What are the rules of engagement? What should happen when a war is over? How should we view terrorism? The Ethics of War and Peace is a fresh and contemporary introduction to one of the oldest but still most relevant ethical debates. It introduces students to contemporary Just War Theory in a stimulating and engaging way, perfect for those approaching the topic for the first time. Helen Frowe explains the core issues in Just War Theory, and chapter by chapter examines the recent and ongoing philosophical debates on: theories of self defence and national defence, Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello, and Jus post Bellum, the moral status of combatants, the principle of non-combatant immunity, and the nature of terrorism and the moral status of terrorists. Each chapter concludes with a useful summary, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading, to aid student learning and revision. The Ethics of War and Peace is the ideal textbook for students studying philosophy, politics and international relations.

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  • O'Hanlon, M.E., The Future of Land Warfare, Washington, D.C., Brookings Institution Press, 2015.

    In The Future of Land Warfare, Michael O’Hanlon offers an analysis of the future of the world’s ground forces: Where are future large-scale conflicts or other catastrophes most plausible? Which of these could be important enough to necessitate the option of a U.S. military response? And which of these could in turn require significant numbers of American ground forces in their resolution? O’Hanlon is not predicting or advocating big American roles in such operations—only cautioning against overconfidence that we can and will avoid them. O’Hanlon considers a number of illustrative scenarios in which large conventional forces may be necessary: deterring Russia from even contemplating attacks against the Baltic states; deterring China from considering an unfriendly future role on the Korean peninsula; handling an asymmetric threat in the South China Sea with the construction and protection of a number of bases in the Philippines and elsewhere; handling the aftermath of a major and complex humanitarian disaster superimposed on a security crisis—perhaps in South Asia; coping with a severe Ebola outbreak not in the small states of West Africa but in Nigeria, at the same time that that country falls further into violence; addressing a further meltdown in security conditions in Central America.

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  • Capizzi, J.E., Politics, Justice, and War: Christian Governance and the Ethics of Warfare, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.

    Capizzi, J.E., Politics, Justice, and War: Christian Governance and the Ethics of Warfare, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.

    The just war ethic emerges from an affirmative response to the basic question of whether people may sometimes permissibly intend to kill other people. In Politics, Justice, and War, Joseph E. Capizzi clarifies the meaning and coherence of the 'just war' approach, to the use of force in the context of Christian ethics. By reconnecting the just war ethic to an Augustinian political approach, Capizzi illustrates that the just war ethic requires emphasis on the 'right intention', or goal, of peace as ordered justice. With peace set as the goal of war, the various criteria of the just war ethic gain their intelligibility and help provide practical guidance to all levels of society regarding when to go to war and how to strive to contain it. So conceived, the ethic places stringent limits on noncombatant or 'innocent' killing in war, helps make sense of contemporary technological and strategic challenges, and opens up space for a critical and constructive dialogue with international law.

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  • Jensen, J., Krieg um des Friedens willen: Zur Lehre vom gerechten Krieg, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2015.

    Jensen, J., Krieg um des Friedens willen: Zur Lehre vom gerechten Krieg, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2015.

    Die Darstellung verfolgt die Entwicklung der Lehre vom gerechten Krieg von ihren Ursprüngen in der Antike bis in die Gegenwart. Hierbei werden die Traditionslinien des gerechten Krieges nachgezogen und aus der Gesamtschau Konsequenzen für die Gegenwart gezogen. Bis in die Neuzeit hinein bildete die Lehre vom gerechten Krieg die Rechtsgrundlage für den Einsatz von Gewalt zwischen Völkern. In der späten Neuzeit durch den Positivismus verdrängt, kehrte sie im 20. Jahrhundert in das Völkerrecht und in die fächerübergreifende Diskussion über Krieg und Frieden zurück. Ihr Axiom, dass Krieg nur um des Friedens willen geführt werden dürfe, bestimmt die Ausgestaltung der traditionell in der Lehre behandelten Merkmale (causa iusta, intentio recta, auctoritas principis, ius in bello) ebenso wie das UN-Völkerrecht.

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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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See also

More Research guides on War, Peace and Security

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Classification scheme → War and Peace Research