Though the just war tradition has an ancient pedigree, like any tradition of thought, it is subject to historical highs and lows. Drawing on examples from the history of warfare from the Crusades to the present day, this book explores the limits and possibilities of the moral regulation of war. It focuses on the tensions which exist between war and morality. The moral ambiguity and mixed record of that tradition is acknowledged and the dangers which an exaggerated view of the justice or moral worth of war poses are underlined. The adoption of a 'dispositional' view of ethical life, in which moral character and moral culture play a decisive part, widens and transforms the ethics of war. Realism resists the application of morality to war. Pacifism harms and benefits the just war tradition in about equal measure. In opposition to the amoral and wholly pragmatic approach of the 'pure' realist, the just war theorist insists on the moral determination of war where that is possible, and on the moral renunciation of war where it is not. Moral realism is what the just war tradition purports to be about. Legitimate authority has become entirely subordinated to the concept of state sovereignty. If moderate forms of consequentialism threaten the principle of noncombatant immunity, more extreme or purer forms clearly undermine it. The strategic and the ethical problems of counterterrorism are compounded by the emergence of a new and more extreme form of terrorism.
exploring the position of the Korean War and the
Cold War in British history-writing in further detail. It highlights how
selfhood and citizenship have emerged as growing categories of analysis
in Cold War studies and argues why it is important to consider them
in the context of post-1945 Britain. It closes by exploring the challenges
and possibilities of writing the social historyofwarfare and bringing
domestic and military ‘spheres’ together in a meaningful way.
The Korean War in history
Despite its ‘forgotten’ place in British popular culture, a sizeable
The Second World War
The Second World War witnessed the greatest propaganda battle in
the historyofwarfare. For six years, all the participants employed
propaganda on a scale that dwarfed all other conflicts, including
even the First World War. There were several reasons why this was
so. In the first place, this was a war between entire nations, even
more so than in 1914-18. In the totalitarian nations, coercion had
replaced consultation in the political process, democracy had been
dismantled and the masses subjugated to the will of one party
The Arab–Israeli conflict has been at the centre of international affairs for decades. Despite repeated political efforts, the confrontation and casualties continue, especially in fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. This new assessment emphasizes the role that military force plays in blocking a diplomatic resolution. Many Arabs and Israelis believe that the only way to survive or to be secure is through the development, threat, and use of military force and violence. This idea is deeply flawed and results in missed diplomatic opportunities and growing insecurity. Coercion cannot force rivals to sign a peace agreement to end a long-running conflict. Sometimes negotiations and mutual concessions are the key to improving the fate of a country or national movement. Using short historical case studies from the 1950s through to today, the book explores and pushes back against the dominant belief that military force leads to triumph while negotiations and concessions lead to defeat and further unwelcome challenges. In The sword is not enough, we learn both what makes this idea so compelling to Arab and Israeli leaders and how it eventually may get dislodged.
face. Marshall claims to have ‘discovered’ that fewer than 25 per cent of the
men he studied used their weapons. This major problem lurked unexplored
throughout the historyofwarfare, although commanders have noted the surprisingly low level of casualties in firearms exchanges, almost from the origin
of such weapons. Some researchers suspect that Marshall simply made up the
numbers, which never seem to have been published, or the study properly
replicated. Dave Grossman has explored these phenomena of fear and fury in
much more depth. With the proper
him with the respect that just conduct demands. The debilitating impact on
the moral conduct of war of a sense of fundamental difference and
superiority and, conversely, the moderating effect of a vestigial sense of
community, have been frequently observed in the historyofwarfare.
The contrast between the conduct of war on the Eastern and
Western Fronts in the Second World War is instructive in this regard. While
attack another. He also chased the Franks to attack the Lombards and drive them out of Italy.
L. I. R. Petersen , Siege warfare and military organization in the Successor States, 400–800 AD. Byzantium, the West and Islam , HistoryofWarfare, 91 (Leiden: Brill, 2013), pp. 188–90.
For the debate
noted, tight geographical space and a historyofwarfare tend to increase the perception of a threatening
A dynamic view: how come breakthroughs happen?
Despite all the factors mentioned above, how might actors move
from reliance on military force to the idea that negotiations and
concessions will help advance their goals? What could open the
door to alternative pathways? I suggest five elements that might
lead to a change in course:
The sword is not enough
(1) leadership from within the warring parties
aspect of society. At the end of
the eighteenth century, Thomas Malthus wrote that ‘a recruiting
serjeant always prays for a bad harvest, and a want or unemployment, or, in other words a redundant population’. Motivating men
to fight – for the historyofwarfare is largely the history of male
aggression – has always been a major problem for history’s recruiting serjeants. Hence the need to glorify and publicize military
achievements to a wider public in order to increase the sense of
mutual identification. Soldiers fight better if they know that their
), Bliss draws upon
an eclectic range of war writings from different places and historical
periods. He seems to make a point of not being narrowly focused upon
British experience, but rather uses the experience of 1914–18 to reflect
upon the whole historyofwarfare since ancient times. Kennedy reminds
us that ceremonies of remembrance usually included music. Alongside
the silence, the sound of voices and instruments brings a further complex
of meanings into the communal act of mourning and remembering.
Turning from music to literary responses to the Armistice, Andrew