War or Peace—And You
What Is War?
“War is an element of the order of the world established by God. Without war the world would stagnate and lose itself in materialism.”—German field marshal Helmuth von Moltke.
“Suppress war, and it would be like trying to suppress the processes of nature.”—Joseph P. Goebbels, Nazi minister for propaganda and national enlightenment.
‘A part of politics.’—Russian leader Lenin.
“The only study of a prince. He should consider peace only as a breathing-time, which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes ability to execute, military plans.”—Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli.
What Is Peace?
“A period of cheating between two periods of fighting.”—Ambrose Bierce, American journalist.
“A moribund condition, caused by a surplus of civilians, which war seeks to remedy.”—Cyril Connolly, English critic and writer.
“A dream, and not even a beautiful one.”—Helmuth von Moltke.
HOW do the above-quoted expressions strike you? Do you sense a cynical approach to war and peace? Do they give you the impression that for many people, especially rulers and politicians, life is cheap—as long as it is not their life that is at stake? Yet we are sure that regardless of your nationality you would like to live in a world of peace and harmony.
During mankind’s 6,000 years of history, war has reaped its dead by the hundreds of millions. Even after the experience of two world wars, peace and harmony seem to be a dream. As Gwynne Dyer wrote in his recent book War: “During the last two years of World War II, over one million people were being killed each month. If the great powers go to war with each other just once more, using all the weapons they now have, a million people will be killed each minute.” And if the nuclear powers go to war, will they consult the people first for their opinion? History answers otherwise.
Past conflicts and the present potential for slaughter lead us to ask, What are the causes of war? What are the prospects for a true, lasting peace in our time—not just a breathing space between wars? And in this nuclear age, is lasting peace an elusive dream?