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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Bibliography

Reference works

Recent books (2015-2018)

Documents

 Periodicals, serial publications

Bibliographies

Systematic classification → War and peace research

New titles

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Librarian's choice

  • Idris, M., War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2019. Showcase item

    Peace is a universal ideal, but its political life is a great paradox: "peace" is the opposite of war, but it also enables war. If peace is the elimination of war, then what does it mean to wage war for the sake of peace? What does peace mean when some say that they are committed to it but that their enemies do not value it? Why is it that associating peace with other ideals, like justice, friendship, security, and law, does little to distance peace from war? Although political theory has dealt extensively with most major concepts that today define "the political" it has paid relatively scant critical attention to peace, the very concept that is often said to be the major aim and ideal of humanity. In War for Peace, Murad Idris looks at the ways that peace has been treated across the writings of ten thinkers from ancient and modern political thought, from Plato to Immanuel Kant and Sayyid Qutb, to produce an original and striking account of what peace means and how it works. Idris argues that peace is parasitical in that the addition of other ideals into peace, such as law, security, and friendship, reduces it to consensus and actually facilitates war; it is provincial in that its universalized content reflects particularistic desires and fears, constructions of difference, and hierarchies within humanity; and it is polemical, in that its idealization is not only the product of antagonisms, but also enables hostility. War for Peace uncovers the basis of peace's moralities and the political functions of its idealizations, historically and into the present. This bold and ambitious book confronts readers with the impurity of peace as an ideal, and the pressing need to think beyond universal peace.

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  • May, L. (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Just War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018. Showcase item

    What makes a war just? What makes a specific weapon, strategy, or decision in war just? The tradition of Just War Theory has provided answers to these questions since at least 400 AD, yet each shift in the weapons and strategies of war poses significant challenges to Just War Theory. This book assembles renowned scholars from around the world to reflect on the most pressing problems and questions in Just War Theory, and engages with all three stages of war: jus ad bellum, jus in bello, and jus post bellum. Providing detailed historical context as well as addressing modern controversies and topics including drones, Islamic jihad, and humanitarian intervention, the volume will be highly important for students and scholars of the philosophy of war as well as for others interested in contemporary global military and ethical issues.

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  • Jentleson, B.W., The Peacemakers : Leadership Lessons From Twentieth-Century Statesmanship, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2018.

    Jentleson, B.W., The Peacemakers : Leadership Lessons From Twentieth-Century Statesmanship

    Great leaders made the twentieth century safer and more peaceful. In The Peacemakers, a kind of global edition of John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage, Bruce Jentleson shows how key figures in the previous century rewrote the zero-sum and transactional scripts they were handed and successfully prevented conflict, advanced human rights, and promoted global sustainability. Covering a broad range of historical examples, from Yitzhak Rabin's efforts for Arab-Israeli peace to Dag Hammarskjöld's effectiveness as secretary-general of the United Nations and Mahatma Gandhi's pioneering use of nonviolence as a political tool, Jentleson argues that individuals can shape policy--because they have. For each leader, Jentleson tells us who they were as an individual, why they made the choices they did, how they pursued their goals, and what they were able to achieve. An ambitious book for ambitious people, The Peacemakers is a useful guide for anybody who wants to achieve meaningful change on the global stage.

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Database

Blogs

  • The Declaration of Christmas Peace

    A Declaration of Christmas Peace is announced in several Finnish cities on Christmas Eve. The oldest and most popular event is held at noon at the Old Great Square of the former Finnish capital Turku, where the declaration has been read since the 1320s. The Declaration of Christmas Peace is a tradition which launches the Christmas celebrations and in a way marks the official start of Christmas. The exact wording used during the first few centuries of the tradition has been lost over time, but the main contents of the declaration remain the same: the declaration is read out loud to remind people that Christmas Peace has begun, to advise people to spend the festive period in harmony, to threaten offenders with harsh punishments, and to wish all a merry Christmas!

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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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  • What are Peace Museums? Lecture by Joyce Apsel

    What are Peace Museums? How are they distinct from War Museums? Is there overlap?

    Location: Peace Palace Library. Date: 2 March 2018. Time: 16:45 – 18:00 (CET)

    Dr Joyce Apsel is Professor of Liberal Studies and lectures on International Human Rights, Human Rights & the Environment, Global Violence at New York University. She is also President of the Institute for the Study of Genocide. In her talk Joyce Apsel will provide images from a range of peace museums and discuss the images, narratives and education which promote cultures of peace.

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  • The Washington Naval Treaty: Averting the Allied Arms Race

    The 1916 US Naval Act and its 1918 proposed expansion triggered a Naval Arms Race between it and it’s allied nations of Great Britain and Japan.
    Finally, the United States Government invited the principal naval powers to a conference to discuss the situation and end the Naval Arms Race.
    A bold opening suggestion from the US government resulted in the scrapping and halting of most naval capital ships.
    The Washington Naval Treaty signed on the 6th of February 1922

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  • 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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  • 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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Systematic classification → War and peace research