THE CAUSES OF WAR What factors lead to the outbreak of war between nations?

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In summary, the underlying causes of World War I were intense nationalism, imperialism, and military expansion among European nations. This led to a buildup of armies and alliances, and several international crises, including those over Morocco and the Balkans. Ultimately, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in 1914 sparked the start of the Great War.
  • #1
Astronuc
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I found this while browsing for some information. It seems similar 'causes' persist.

It reminded my of a multiple choice question on a 'stardardized' history test that I took in 11th grade. The question pertained to the 'cause' of World War I, and the mulitiple choices where 1. militarism, 2. nationalism, 3. imperialism, 4. entry of the US. The test answer was 4 - which was so wrong, but that is the answer the teacher would only accept.

A friend took the test a year before me, and he got it wrong because he picked the 'right' answer. We even went to the teacher to argue about it.

So when I took the test, I picked #4 then proceeded to write an essay on the test form as to why the 'official answer' was wrong and the other three answers were correct. When the test was handed back to the class and the teacher went through the answers on the test with the class, the teacher and I got into a big 'discussion' about that particular question. Teacher was not amused. :biggrin: I don't like the dissemination of false information in the classroom.

CAUSES OF THE WAR

The underlying causes of World War I were the intense nationalism that permeated Europe throughout the 19th and into the 20th century, the political and economic rivalry among nations, and the military buildup that occurred after 1871, when Germany emerged as a great world power.

Nationalism.

The French Revolution and the Napoleonic era had spread throughout most of Europe the idea of political democracy, with the resulting idea that people of the same ethnic origin, language, and political ideals had the right to independent states. The principle of national self-determination, however, was largely ignored by the dynastic and reactionary forces that dominated in the settlement of European affairs at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. In succeeding decades much of the work of the Congress was nullified by the revolutions and strong nationalist movements that swept through Europe. Belgium won its independence from the Netherlands in 1831, the unification of Italy was accomplished in 1861, and that of Germany in 1871. At the close of the century, however, the problem of nationalism was still unresolved in other areas of Europe, resulting in tensions both within the regions involved and between various European nations. One particularly prominent nationalistic movement, Panslavism, figured heavily in the events preceding the war.

Imperialism.

The spirit of nationalism was also manifest in economic conflict. The Industrial Revolution brought about a need for raw materials and an immense increase in the manufactures of several European nations. Development of foreign markets became an imperative. In Africa colonial interests frequently clashed. Several times between 1898 and 1914 the economic rivalry in Africa between France and Great Britain, and between Germany on one side and France and Great Britain on the other, almost precipitated a European war.

Military Expansion.

As a result of such tensions, between 1871 and 1914 the nations of Europe adopted domestic measures and foreign policies that in turn steadily increased the danger of war. Convinced that their interests were threatened, they maintained large standing armies and increased the size of their navies. The Russo-Japanese War (1904–5) proved the efficacy of long-range naval guns, and the British, alarmed by the expansion of the German navy, built HMS Dreadnought, the first in a class of heavily armed battleships that came to dominate the high seas. Advancements in other areas of military technology and organization led to the dominance of general staffs with precisely formulated plans for mobilization and attack, often in situations that could not be reversed once begun.

Statesmen everywhere realized that the tremendous and ever-growing expenditures for armament would in time lead either to national bankruptcy or to war, and they made several efforts for worldwide disarmament, notably at the HAGUE CONFERENCES, (q.v.) of 1899 and 1907. International rivalry was, however, too far advanced to permit any progress toward disarmament at these conferences.

The European nations not only armed themselves for purposes of “self-defense,” but also, in order not to find themselves standing alone if war did break out, sought alliances with other powers. The result was a phenomenon that in itself greatly increased the chances for generalized war: the grouping of the great European powers into two hostile military alliances, the TRIPLE ALLIANCE, (q.v.) of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy and the TRIPLE ENTENTE, (q.v.) of Great Britain, France, and Russia. Shifts within these alliances added to the building sense of crisis.

Crises Foreshadowing the War

(1905–14). With Europe divided into two hostile camps, any disturbance of the existing political or military situation in Europe, Africa, or elsewhere provoked an international incident. Between 1905 and 1914 several international crises and two local wars occurred, all of which threatened to bring about a general European war. The first crisis occurred over Morocco, where Germany intervened in 1905–6 to support Moroccan independence against French encroachment. France threatened war against Germany, but the crisis was finally settled by an international conference at Algeciras, Spain, in 1906. Another crisis took place in the Balkans in 1908 over the annexation by Austria-Hungary of Bosnia and Hercegovina. Because one form of Panslavism was a Pan-Serbian or Greater Serbia movement in Serbia, which had as one of its objects the acquisition by Serbia of the southern part of Bosnia, the Serbs threatened war against Austria. War was avoided only because Serbia could not fight without Russian support, and Russia at the time was unprepared for war. A third crisis, again in Morocco, occurred in 1911 when the German government sent a warship to Agadir in protest against French efforts to secure supremacy in Morocco. After threats of war on both sides, the matter was adjusted by a conference at Agadir. Taking advantage of the preoccupation of the Great Powers with the Moroccan question, Italy declared war on Turkey in 1911, hoping to annex the Tripoli region of northern Africa. Because Germany’s policy of Drang nach Osten (“drive toward the East”) obliged it to cultivate friendship with Turkey, the Italian attack had the effect of weakening the Triple Alliance and encouraging its enemies. The Balkan Wars of 1912–13 resulted in an increased desire on the part of Serbia to obtain the parts of Austria-Hungary inhabited by Slavic peoples, strengthened Austro-Hungarian suspicion of Serbia, and left Bulgaria and Turkey, both defeated in the wars, with a desire for revenge. Germany, disappointed because Turkey had been deprived of its European territory by the Balkan Wars, increased the size of its army. France responded by increasing peacetime military service from two to three years. Following the example of these nations, all the others of Europe in 1913 and 1914 spent huge sums for military preparedness.
http://www.historychannel.com/thcsearch/thc_resourcedetail.do?encyc_id=226139

Will humanity ever be free of motivation to go to war?
 
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  • #2
People who are sedated by chips and Coca-cola won't bother to wage war in my opinion.
 
  • #3
Astronuc said:
Will humanity ever be free of motivation to go to war?
No.Unfrountrly humans are just like.Einstien once said "As long as there men there will be wars"
 
  • #4
Astronuc said:
I found this while browsing for some information. It seems similar 'causes' persist.

It reminded my of a multiple choice question on a 'stardardized' history test that I took in 11th grade. The question pertained to the 'cause' of World War I, and the mulitiple choices where 1. militarism, 2. nationalism, 3. imperialism, 4. entry of the US. The test answer was 4 - which was so wrong, but that is the answer the teacher would only accept.

Was it a trick question? The war couldn't truly be called a "world" war until a country from a continent other than Europe entered. Even then, I don't think it warranted the name.
 
  • #5
loseyourname said:
Was it a trick question? The war couldn't truly be called a "world" war until a country from a continent other than Europe entered. Even then, I don't think it warranted the name.

That can't be the reason that was the answer unless the question was worded incorrectly. The entry of the US may have, in the narrowest sense of the phrase "world war", defined it is a world war but it surely wasn't the cause of world war. Then if you compare it to the other answers and it surely wasn't meant to be a definition question.

Why did you remember such a random thing astronuc and what was the teachers problem?
 
  • #6
scott1 said:
No.Unfrountrly humans are just like.Einstien once said "As long as there men there will be wars"

As opposed to 'if there were no men, there will be no wars?' Isn't that obvious? Why should be care about what a scientist (in this case, einstein) says on the matter of war i.e. a topic he has no credible knowledge about?

I don't understand why people are complaining so much about wars. It will never stop between nations. ACCEPT IT AS A PART OF HUMAN LIFE AND MOVE ON. Its a lost cause, for heavens sake.

Was it a trick question? The war couldn't truly be called a "world" war until a country from a continent other than Europe entered. Even then, I don't think it warranted the name.

By definition, the World war 1 is still a 'World' war. It's like the argument of whether Pluto is a planet or not; it was named when it was presumed to be a planet, and the name stuck. I.e Its irrelevant, and all that is important is what we can learn from it and the inane human causes to it. Note that this does NOT imply that further wars will no happen. In fact, as I state now, I believe a WW3 will most definitely happen inevitably.
 
  • #7
Bladibla said:
As opposed to 'if there were no men, there will be no wars?' Isn't that obvious? Why should be care about what a scientist (in this case, einstein) says on the matter of war i.e. a topic he has no credible knowledge about?

I don't understand why people are complaining so much about wars. It will never stop between nations. ACCEPT IT AS A PART OF HUMAN LIFE AND MOVE ON. Its a lost cause, for heavens sake.

So you are contemptuous of Einstein's opinion even though you agree with it?

BTW your point that humans are necessary to war is not the same as Einstein's point that humans are sufficient to war.
 
  • #8
loseyourname said:
Was it a trick question? The war couldn't truly be called a "world" war until a country from a continent other than Europe entered. Even then, I don't think it warranted the name.
It wasn't a trick question, but the 'official' answer was that the war wasn't a world war until the United States became involved. When the teacher said that, I was incredulous. I reminded her that, it still wasn't called a world war until World War II. Until about that time (1939), it was "The Great War". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_War

Even without the US, there were other countries like Canada and Australia, many in Africa, and China! So it encompassed much of the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participants_in_World_War_I

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1112.html

The African nations got pulled in by their colonial powers.

I had studied world history and particularly military history and technology for many years before I took the history course in 11th grade.
 
  • #9
Pengwuino said:
Why did you remember such a random thing astronuc and what was the teachers problem?
The question is as I stated it. I had argued with the teacher a year before when my friend got the question wrong, even though he got it right!

The teacher went with the 'official' answer, which was "that it wasn't a world war until the US entered it". When I heard that from a teacher, I just about went ballistic. :mad: So, I was prepared when I took the test, and I 'discussed' the matter in class after the test was returned and we went over the answers.

So whenever I read history or historical subjects, especially when the pertain to war, and particularly WWI, I am reminded of that incident.

I had an attitude in high school.

It also helped that I was a honors student, so I could stand up to most teachers. :biggrin: I didn't give the good teachers a hard time.

Actually I got along with the history teacher, who was rather young, but I had to challenge the test question and the 'official' answer. I actually wanted her to contact the administration and get the offical answer changed. She declined, not wanting to make waves, which is understandable given the system and her lack of seniority or tenure.
 
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  • #10
selfAdjoint said:
So you are contemptuous of Einstein's opinion even though you agree with it?

BTW your point that humans are necessary to war is not the same as Einstein's point that humans are sufficient to war.

What? You just answered your own question. My point is, as you say, exactly that my point is different from Einstein's!

Lets just say for the sake of argument that I *do* agree with Einstein's opinion. Just who the hell is he to openly say 'As long as there are men there will be wars'?! The guy hasn't even picked up a gun and went to battle to see what a 'war' is about! Why are people making such a big deal that a patent clerk (Note that I am NOT criticizing his job from a scientific view) stated his opinion on war? Hell, why not next time, listen to a plumber state his opinion? No, wait, how about everyone else?
 
  • #11
Bladibla said:
Just who the hell is he to openly say 'As long as there are men there will be wars'?! The guy hasn't even picked up a gun and went to battle to see what a 'war' is about! Why are people making such a big deal that a patent clerk (Note that I am NOT criticizing his job from a scientific view) stated his opinion on war? Hell, why not next time, listen to a plumber state his opinion? No, wait, how about everyone else?
Einstein became a celebrity in the world in his time - something like Bono (U2) today or John Lennon about 30 years ago. If Einstein muttered something and someone from the press heard, it would probably become news.

Einstein became a celebrity primarily based upon his work on Relativity and other contributions in physics. To the vast majority of the literate population, this work was considered like 'magic'.

Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century. He was the author of the general theory of relativity and made important contributions to the special theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and cosmology. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 (his "miracle year") and "for his services to Theoretical Physics."

After British solar eclipse expeditions in 1919 confirmed that light rays from distant stars were deflected by the gravity of the sun in the exact amount he predicted in his general theory of relativity, Einstein became world-famous, an unusual achievement for a scientist. In his later years, his fame exceeded that of any other scientist in history. In popular culture, his name has become synonymous with great intelligence and genius.
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

Had Einstein not escaped from Europe prior to World War II, he would have likely been killed with the millions of other Jews in Europe during the Holocaust.
The International Rescue Committee was founded 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein to assist opponents of Adolf Hitler.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#World_War_II
 
  • #12
use your knowledge

With all the knowledge you guys have, why not use it to create a global policy that can be used by all nation & races to achieve world peace, I had already outline the basic concerns for you on my reply to thread "science to society, politics as mediator..."
Its up to you to throw to the pile.
Lets consciously counteract "darwins survival of the fittest attitudde of humans " which is the theoretical cause of wars. Let us concern ourselves with 6 billion people of the world instead of only ourselves even if its only in the internet.
Make yourselves significant instead of useless ramlings that I've been always seeing here in "politics & w. affairs forum".
Where is the " learning without thought is labor lost " guy may be he can join.

And finally let us share love with another.
Dsky
 
  • #13
"Sharing the love" is easier said than done. :rolleyes:

Nevertheless it is a worthy goal.
 
  • #14
Astronuc said:
Einstein became a celebrity in the world in his time - something like Bono (U2) today or John Lennon about 30 years ago. If Einstein muttered something and someone from the press heard, it would probably become news.

Einstein became a celebrity primarily based upon his work on Relativity and other contributions in physics. To the vast majority of the literate population, this work was considered like 'magic'.

Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

Had Einstein not escaped from Europe prior to World War II, he would have likely been killed with the millions of other Jews in Europe during the Holocaust. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#World_War_II

You're not answering the question. Does Einstein have a direct experience of what it is like to be out in the battlefield in a war? I never knew that relativity and war would go along together so well, after all, ones about spacetime and ones about...killing. great (!)

No in fact, Einstein caused more damage with his comments in the war than his 'intended' purpose of being peaceful. His words convinced the president gave, argueably, the 'push' for the go-ahead with the nuclear bombs. Why should we give ANY credit to Einstein, who obviously is a hipocrit? (Whether he intended or not, the fact that it happened makes him eligible. Hence, my point stands)

My argument goes to any 'Zionist' around these days - John Lennon, U2, whatever. They are not politicians, they are not soldiers, so therefore they have no right to speak about a war in terms of how much suffering is in it. I am NOT eligible for this argument, since I'm not the one having a problem with the absence of 'world peace' and all those fantasies.

If Einstein muttered something and someone from the press heard, it would probably become news.

That is exactly the problem! Just where does it say that these people have any credible evidence on wars to even start talking about it?
 
  • #15
Einstein, zionist and other types of people don't have to be in a war to have a right to speak about war is, its relatively nothing, and we don't have argue about it. World Peace I,II... World No Hungry I,II ...is not a fantasy, it can real as you and me, can be more better real than the Nuclear bomb.How about youre idea of how.
 
  • #16
dsky said:
Einstein, zionist and other types of people don't have to be in a war to have a right to speak about war is, its relatively nothing, and we don't have argue about it. World Peace I,II... World No Hungry I,II ...is not a fantasy, it can real as you and me, can be more better real than the Nuclear bomb.How about youre idea of how.

Of course, everyone has a right to open their big mouths. But what I'm arguing is whether it is credible for a good perspective of the 'horrors' of war?

And furthermore, when in any of my comments did I say that World wars were fantasies? When I say fantasy, I mean the fantasy of having of having a peaceful world. What does that say? Wait, that's COMPLEMENTING the existence of wars in this world! Just what are you trying to say with your comments?

My point still stands.
 
  • #17
Bladibla said:
When I say fantasy, I mean the fantasy of having of having a peaceful world.
Bladibla, my own opinion on this matter is that every war has definite causes, objective causes that one can trace to specific issues. In my opinion, human beings are not 'naturally violent' or 'genetically disposed' to making war - it is the way society is organised by human beings that causes war. If this is the case, then talking about peace is not 'fantasy': it is a very real possibility - but achieving peace will involve reorganising global 'society'.

I'm not saying that this is an easily achievable task - it's huge. What I'm saying is that it is possible. While I sometimes give into despair about the human race, I don't seem to be quite as cynical as you are. We can learn from history and we can change things. That is what human beings are best at: changing their environment. Massive social change would be required to end wars, but human beings are certainly up to the task of changing the structures of the societies they live in. These are all my opinions, for what they're worth :smile:
 
  • #18
Yes agree with you miss Alex, its worth having you in this world that we share, Iwould certainly like to hear your constructive ideas about reorganising global soceity, I am not a social sceintist or economist like u that's why I can't contribute much to this.But I will support it if ever there was a way. So others to can add too.

finally let us share love with one another
Dsky
 
  • #19
Bladibla said:
You're not answering the question. Does Einstein have a direct experience of what it is like to be out in the battlefield in a war? I never knew that relativity and war would go along together so well, after all, ones about spacetime and ones about...killing. great (!)

No in fact, Einstein caused more damage with his comments in the war than his 'intended' purpose of being peaceful. His words convinced the president gave, argueably, the 'push' for the go-ahead with the nuclear bombs. Why should we give ANY credit to Einstein, who obviously is a hipocrit? (Whether he intended or not, the fact that it happened makes him eligible. Hence, my point stands)
No, Einstein did not have direct experience on the battlefield, but neither do most who speak for or against war. I think many, like myself, have seen the destruction and homicide wrought by war that we speak against it.

I have worked with men who served in war, and then at home they are forgotten. They were psychologically harmed as a result of participating in the killing of other men, sometimes in very brutal ways. The society which sent them to war offers no substantial support afterward.

And people, like Bush and Cheney, who send young men to die, never put themselves at risk.

Bladibla said:
My argument goes to any 'Zionist' around these days - John Lennon, U2, whatever. They are not politicians, they are not soldiers, so therefore they have no right to speak about a war in terms of how much suffering is in it. I am NOT eligible for this argument, since I'm not the one having a problem with the absence of 'world peace' and all those fantasies.
Sounds like the issue is 'Zionism' more than the right to speak against war. U2 is not a politician and John Lennon was murdered by a deranged fan a little more than 25 years ago. See my comment below.

Bladibla said:
That is exactly the problem! Just where does it say that these people have any credible evidence on wars to even start talking about it?
Einstein was a target of the German government and he had to leave his homeland, or face extermination!

The fact that one is a citizen of the world and a person of conscience in theory gives one the right to speak against war.
 
  • #20
Bladibla,
dont mean to anoy u in any way. I understand the desparation that comes when something we dream of, don't happen many of us just deny the dream or ridicule it. As I come from a region where never ending tribal revenge always takes place.walking in the steet expecting a bullet from a passionate person or a bomb going off near me is not different from watching wars on tv or movies.Just think that you can move ur body, its the same as being dead.When it comes to war,destruction suffering everyone is credible. what I mean is let's give more attention for developing peace than than war. Your point still stands, no more arguments please.
 
  • #21
Please excuse me, everyone, but I'm going to go slightly 'off-topic' just for a second (I'm generally very careful not to do this nowadays). I just need to 'vent' briefly.

This statement, Astronuc
Astronuc said:
And people, like Bush and Cheney, who send young men to die, never put themselves at risk.
made me vividly recall how angry I got while watching the news on TV tonight: Australia's Minister of 'Defence' (very Orwellian name for it) made a 'surprise visit' to the Australian troops in Afghanistan today, and casually informed them that they would be there another year! And he was wearing his bullet-proof jacket as if it were a fashion item, and there was a helicopter on standby behind him, waiting to take him back to the safety of his office. And he smiled and praised these young men (and perhaps women, I'm not sure) for their noble deeds - all from the safety of his ministerial life. I don't know why I watch the news, it disgusts me so much.

The fact that one is a citizen of the world and a person of conscience in theory gives one the right to speak against war.
I couldn't agree more, Astronuc. In fact, it's not just a right (in my opinion) - at times like these, I see it as a duty. I, personally, would much rather be studying mathematics (it's so much more pleasant!), but to do so would be extremely selfish now, when the world seems to be falling apart at the seams...
 
  • #22
dsky said:
Yes agree with you miss Alex, its worth having you in this world that we share, Iwould certainly like to hear your constructive ideas about reorganising global soceity, I am not a social sceintist or economist like u that's why I can't contribute much to this.But I will support it if ever there was a way. So others to can add too.
Thanks, dsky :smile: But you don't have to be a social scientist or economist to know what's going on in the world: I think, from the posts I've read, that you know a lot about the world and that you, too, have very valuable contributions to make to discussions. I'm not impressed by people who have degrees - just that isn't enough: they also have to be able to think critically. Many people who don't have formal qualifications can think more critically than some people who are qualified. There are many ways to learn things: getting a degree is just one way - life experience and reading (and thinking about what you're reading) is another:-)
 
  • #23
well whatever it is you, just do it well & enjoy the hapiness of Life. I just hope something good will come out of the time we spent in the net, wish i could still be here when it goes well, if not mayb my daugther or her offspring will have the chance. thanks Alex
But I still want your expansion of "Internationalism and its economics" to have a framework of the gobal policy. Have U got that figured out, I'll wait.
 
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  • #24
alexandra said:
Bladibla, my own opinion on this matter is that every war has definite causes, objective causes that one can trace to specific issues. In my opinion, human beings are not 'naturally violent' or 'genetically disposed' to making war - it is the way society is organised by human beings that causes war. If this is the case, then talking about peace is not 'fantasy': it is a very real possibility - but achieving peace will involve reorganising global 'society'.

I'm not saying that this is an easily achievable task - it's huge. What I'm saying is that it is possible. While I sometimes give into despair about the human race, I don't seem to be quite as cynical as you are. We can learn from history and we can change things. That is what human beings are best at: changing their environment. Massive social change would be required to end wars, but human beings are certainly up to the task of changing the structures of the societies they live in. These are all my opinions, for what they're worth :smile:


Bladibla, my own opinion on this matter is that every war has definite causes, objective causes that one can trace to specific issues. In my opinion, human beings are not 'naturally violent' or 'genetically disposed' to making war - it is the way society is organised by human beings that causes war.
Sure, If you are so sure that:
human beings are not 'naturally violent' or 'genetically disposed' to making war
Humans *are* naturally wanting to be superior to other human beings. Whether it comes to money, power, cultural superiority, humans tick nearly every box there is! What is stopping them from being 'naturally violent' if it means becoming superior to one another?

We can learn from history and we can change things. That is what human beings are best at: changing their environment. Massive social change would be required to end wars, but human beings are certainly up to the task of changing the structures of the societies they live in. These are all my opinions, for what they're worth
We can most definately learn from the past, given that there has been war in nearly every civilisations over the last... whatever year's Humans have started thinking. Whether coming from indian tribes fighting each other to semite genocide, the trend has never stopped! I'm sure that a couple of thousand years of history is worth more than you're opinion.

it is the way society is organised by human beings that causes war. If this is the case, then talking about peace is not 'fantasy': it is a very real possibility - but achieving peace will involve reorganising global 'society'

What is stopping you're 'peace achieving' society from having the same flaws as any other policy or society out there? A universal 'comprimise' between countries wil never happen!

Bladibla,
dont mean to anoy u in any way. I understand the desparation that comes when something we dream of, don't happen many of us just deny the dream or ridicule it. As I come from a region where never ending tribal revenge always takes place.walking in the steet expecting a bullet from a passionate person or a bomb going off near me is not different from watching wars on tv or movies.Just think that you can move ur body, its the same as being dead.When it comes to war,destruction suffering everyone is credible. what I mean is let's give more attention for developing peace than than war. Your point still stands, no more arguments please.
I'm not denying the dream or ridiculing as you so put it! Heck, I want (in a cheesy voice) World peace too! but you know what? There are just far too many people unwilling to comprimise in this world (This is a fact), unfairly or fairly, and given that stands (Most probably for a long time, since I don't see any reason for countries like North Korea to disarm and come out empty handed with no plausible reason) peace will not happen!

what I mean is let's give more attention for developing peace than than war. Your point still stands, no more arguments please
Simply,no. This thread is about war, hence war it will be the topic of discussion. No more arguments? So what, no more room for discussion?!
 
  • #25
No, Einstein did not have direct experience on the battlefield, but neither do most who speak for or against war. I think many, like myself, have seen the destruction and homicide wrought by war that we speak against it.
Again, People can open their big mouths. But is it credible at all? No. Why don't the people who speak against or for war pack up, and go to the actual battlefield to see what it is actuallly like with the 2 eyes THEN talk about war? How are you any different from Bush or Cheney?

They were psychologically harmed as a result of participating in the killing of other men, sometimes in very brutal ways. The society which sent them to war offers no substantial support afterward.
Tell me otherwise, but I think this is irrelevant.

Einstein was a target of the German government and he had to leave his homeland, or face extermination!

The fact that one is a citizen of the world and a person of conscience in theory gives one the right to speak against war.
Okay. But that still doesn't change the fact that he had the (argueably) biggest hand in enabling the atomic bombing of Japan.
 
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  • #26
Bladibla said:
Okay. But that still doesn't change the fact that he had the (argueably) biggest hand in enabling the atomic bombing of Japan.
I believe that is over-simplifying the situation. There were so many people involved. Einstein was encouraged by others to give his opinion to Roosevelt. Had Einstein refused, there was a lineup of prestigious people to make a case for developing the atomic bomb, including Oppenheimer, Lawrence, Fermi, Teller, and many others.


Bladibla said:
Again, People can open their big mouths. But is it credible at all? No. Why don't the people who speak against or for war pack up, and go to the actual battlefield to see what it is actuallly like with the 2 eyes THEN talk about war?
Why is it not credible to speak against war when one has not participated in war? What difference would it make?

I don't have to be on a battlefield in person and watch people being killed and maimed in order to be horrified and disgusted by it. I have seen enough on television and in photographs to be repulsed by war.
 
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  • #27
alexandra said:
Bladibla, my own opinion on this matter is that every war has definite causes, objective causes that one can trace to specific issues. In my opinion, human beings are not 'naturally violent' or 'genetically disposed' to making war - it is the way society is organised by human beings that causes war. If this is the case, then talking about peace is not 'fantasy': it is a very real possibility - but achieving peace will involve reorganising global 'society'.

I'm not saying that this is an easily achievable task - it's huge. What I'm saying is that it is possible. While I sometimes give into despair about the human race, I don't seem to be quite as cynical as you are. We can learn from history and we can change things. That is what human beings are best at: changing their environment. Massive social change would be required to end wars, but human beings are certainly up to the task of changing the structures of the societies they live in. These are all my opinions, for what they're worth :smile:

Typical Western thought; disconnected from reality, IMHO.

Before I start I will say that Bangladesh is not representative of the entire Islamic world. It is nothing like ... Kuwait, or Bahrain. It(former East Pakistan)is more like 'Pakistan', except even poorer(if that is possible)and wetter.

But, even on a good day, a peaceful day, life is cheap in Bangladesh. It is a regular, several times a day occurrence when driving on the streets to witness rickshaw drivers flying through space, guilty of being the smallest vehicles on a highway governed only by the laws of physics.

Before you say, "But, we have accidents, too," I need to point out that when we do, a random crowd of enraged folks does not descend on the victims and beat them, dragging them out of the street, and berate them for holding up traffic.

The cumulative proof of this daily occurrence is the vast army of one legged and no legged former rickshaw drivers lining most major thoroughfares, begging.

I happened to be there during a religious Hartal, a 24 hr national religious strike, held frequently to demonstrate to the struggling civil authorities exactly who runs the place. What I saw outside of my darkened hotel was gangs of roving religious nuts hunting down the odd rickshaw driver, hauling out both passenger and driver, and hacking them to death for defying the religious Hartal, then leaving them to rot in the stinking heat until some vaguely civil/military looking detail came along and 'cleaned them up.' It was only during Hartals that the most desperate of the rickshaw drivers had the best shot of making a decent daily living, since all of the taxis and buses and Cushman three wheelers were shuit down. So, desperate Bangladeshis were murdered by their religiuous nut countrymen over the Holy issue of 'Who's da boss?'

Bangladesh, then, was a place where the daily overburden of the threat of violence was constant, palpable, and smoldering. As a Westerner, I barely went there then(about 8 years ago now), I would never go back there today, given the degradation of the climate; they are lurching even farther to the whacky religious nut end of the scale.

I'll never forget the 'Westerner' hotel I stayed in in Chittagong; an Eisenhour era 'modern' hotel, the "Agrabad."

And, Agrabad it was. Crawling with bugs. Carpets damp with standing water, even on the upper floors. Maybe it was 7 or 8 floors, something like that. I remember there were three of us in the entire hotel; an Australian and Japenese businessman, and me. The guy behind the desk in his stained wifebeater would glare at you as you walked through the lobby. The hotel was basically unlit. You'd go up to your room in the dark, listen to the water squishing under your feet from the wet, smelly carpets. A greenish moldy 'fur' grew on the walls. This is a 4 star hotel in Bangladesh. I think I paid something like $275/night, but they threw in a plate of rotted fruit once a day. I had a week's worth of MREs and bottled water, plenty of Cipro, so no thank you.

The agent I was with, traveled down from the capital, Dhaka with me, could not afford to stay at this fine 'Westerner' hotel, so he stayed at 'The Golden Shower.' I kid you not.

This was all arranged by the Bangladesh Navy/MoD for me. The 'Westerner' hotel was clearly the place where they made Westerners stay, to keep an eye on them. Or, it was the best place in town. Or, both.

Most mornings, a contingent of Bangladesh Navy swabs with long/ancient bayonetted Enfields would pick me up in the lobby, take/escort me to their base, which was a relative place of peace and tranquility. But, the ride to and from was a horror show. Sometimes I would make the trip with just the agent, scrunched down in the back of a either a taxi or someone the agent had browbeat into driving us around under threat of violence, hard to tell which.

But, the day of the Hartal, not even the bayonet wielding military folks would dare venture to the 'Westerner' hotel to conduct any business, and certainly not the agent. Too dangerous. Their advice? "Keep off the streets for a day, stay locked in your hotel room."

OK, so ...this is normal life in these places, at its best.

Now, give them unfettered Internet access. Give them satellite/cable TV access. Look, but don't touch.

Give them and their desperate to cling to their gig mullahs a decade to ponder the world and their place in it.

Now, let's go resolve a conflict with this culture of daily violence and its people by shuffling them around?

I disagree with your notion that we are not genetically dispositioned to be violent. I think there is a strong, atavistic, genetic, prewired characteristic of human beings, a survival attribute, which at every given moment, is looking to circle up the wagons, divide the world into "us" and "not us," and prepare for conflict. My evidence of this is based on observation:

1] The history of the world
2] The nature of man-made religion
3] 5 minutes at any Little League game, listening to adults scream at each other.
4] Dare I forget the big one--this very board, and thousands like it.

We are a species whose defensive radar is always turned up to "10." Maybe that comes from being naked apes in a gorilla world. We see conflict, we engage, we deal with it. In fact, we are at our most dangerous/paranoid when we don't see any conflict--that is often when our gain gets turned up beyond "10", to 115%, Full Military Power. In the context of Little League, I've said this a thousand times. "This is proof that, when we have it way too good, we just plain make **** up to yell about." Ironically, there are times when we are at our absolute worst when there is no actual threat/conflict, and our absolute best when in the depths of an actual threat/conflict. In pondering the cause for this, and noting its overal pervasivness, I can only conclude that it is a systematic bias, a genetically prewired trait in many of us, if not all of us. For example, my youngest son Eric has very little of this gene, whatever it is, but that is only an accident of birth; he has a 1:20000 genetic deletion syndrome, which, as it turns out is not all bad news.

But then, there are the rest of us. It is not automatic; we still have choice, we still have control. But, it is like a pervasive background tune, constantly playing in our head, waiting for those inevitable cracks in time when we are not clinging to the steering wheel of our psyche with white knuckled fists, ready to take over at a moments notice; autopilot.

It's what we do, it's how we do it. It's not how we should resolve conflict, but it's how we often do resolve conflict, and sometimes, not always, and hopefully, not often, despite how we should, it's also how we must resolve conflict, hating it the whole time we must.

Rwanda was an example.

When it comes to conflict, the problem with 'should' is, it cannot work unilaterally. "Should" can only work bilaterally. We should take the "should/bilateral" road as far as that road can go, when that road leads to peace. But, that road does not always lead to peace. At the end of the bilateral road, when that road runs out, there are two options; concede and withdraw, or prevail.

It matters greatly what you are conceding to. Rwanda is an example. By conceding to murdering thugs, the resolution fell back onto the shoulders of lesser force, the Tutsi rebels themselves, and many more were murdered. But, the Tutsi Rebels did what must have been done in that instance, to avoid the complete extermination of the Tutsis. 800,000 was more than enough. In the face of 800,000 murdered, there is no argument that the Hutus were going to stop at say, a million, as if that was a magic number. They were going to continue until they were stopped, by force.

There is what 'should' be done in a perfect world. And then, there is what 'should' be done in the world as it is. They are not always the same thing. Sometimes, what 'should' be done is also what 'must' be done, and often, in the case of forming peaceful states in conflict, that is the effective use of butt ugly force to end the conflict.

The absense of Superior Violence, projected as butt ugly force, is not the same as 'peace.' The absence of Superior Violence is an invitation to endless unchecked conflict while defenseless folks dream about a utopic enlightenment.
 
  • #28
Why is it not credible to speak against war when one has not participated in war? What difference would it make?
Then why are you criticizing Bush or Cheney who 'never put themselves' at risk?

believe that is over-simplifying the situation. There were so many people involved. Einstein was encouraged by others to give his opinion to Roosevelt. Had Einstein refused, there was a lineup of prestigious people to make a case for developing the atomic bomb, including Oppenheimer, Lawrence, Fermi, Teller, and many others.
None of the scientists you mention had the power to influence Roosevelt to give the go ahead for the atomic bomb than Einstein. Why do you think people like Leo Szilard ( Who is part of the many scientists you have mentioned) came to Einstein to convince him to convince the president to drop the atomic bomb?
 
  • #29
Bladibla said:
Then why are you criticizing Bush or Cheney who 'never put themselves' at risk?
Because they are asking young men to do something that they themselves would not do. I am funny about stuff like that. I never ask someone to do something that I would not do myself - especially putting one's life at risk. But then that's me.

Bladibla said:
None of the scientists you mention had the power to influence Roosevelt to give the go ahead for the atomic bomb than Einstein. Why do you think people like Leo Szilard ( Who is part of the many scientists you have mentioned) came to Einstein to convince him to convince the president to drop the atomic bomb?
Those scientists did have the influence - however, Einstein did get involved, and it appears he gets the blame.

Einstein never advocated using nuclear weapons, and he certainly did not convince the president to 'drop the bomb'. Einstein did advocate developing the atomic bomb, only because he thought the Germans were.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Szilard#The_Manhattan_Project

Truman became president when Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, and it was Truman who made the decision to 'drop the bomb'. The original letter had been sent to Roosevelt.

He [Szilárd] hoped that the U.S. government, which prior to World War II was staunchly opposed to the bombing of civilians, would not use nuclear weapons, because of their potential for use against civilian populations. Szilárd hoped that the mere threat of such weapons would force Germany and/or Japan to surrender. He drafted the Szilárd petition advocating demonstration of the atomic bomb. However, rather than threatening the Axis Powers, President Harry Truman sided with advisors who thought use of the weapons was the best solution, and chose to deploy the weapons over the protestations of Szilárd and many of the other top scientists in the project.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Szilard#Views_on_the_use_of_nuclear_weapons

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project

And one should read https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/080506589X/?tag=pfamazon01-20 by Gregg Herken

and

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0156141507/?tag=pfamazon01-20
by Robert Jungk
 
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  • #30
Astronuc said:
Because they are asking young men to do something that they themselves would not do. I am funny about stuff like that. I never ask someone to do something that I would not do myself - especially putting one's life at risk. But then that's me.

Those scientists did have the influence - however, Einstein did get involved, and it appears he gets the blame.

Einstein never advocated using nuclear weapons, and he certainly did not convince the president to 'drop the bomb'. Einstein did advocate developing the atomic bomb, only because he thought the Germans were.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Szilard#The_Manhattan_Project

Truman became president when Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, and it was Truman who made the decision to 'drop the bomb'. The original letter had been sent to Roosevelt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Szilard#Views_on_the_use_of_nuclear_weapons

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project

And one should read https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/080506589X/?tag=pfamazon01-20 by Gregg Herken

and

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0156141507/?tag=pfamazon01-20
by Robert Jungk

Fair enough.
 
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  • #31
Opinion of war

First off A.E. had the right, just like everyone else, to express his opinion.
Second, when did it become necessary to have been in a battle before having an opinion about war? Any intelligent, educated person should know how horrible warfare is. If you are going to dis-allow an opinion because of a lack of "first hand knowledge" you will eliminate most of your own opinions. If you're only 18 you can't have very many "authorized" opinions yet.
My opinion: War may have its place. It should only be used as a last resort. Thats why I think the current "war" in Iraq is a crime. It was not necessary. International laws were broken to start it. It has wasted both lives and money and continues to do so. Lives and money that could have been better spent on other things, like funding scientific research.
 
  • #32
Bladibla said:
Fair enough.
I do appreciate your point of view. :smile:
 
  • #33
Astronuc said:
Because they are asking young men to do something that they themselves would not do. I am funny about stuff like that. I never ask someone to do something that I would not do myself - especially putting one's life at risk. But then that's me.

Is that honestly it, though? I'm not a big critic of hypocrisy, myself. What's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong, and it doesn't matter how is giving the order. If the order is right, it's right; if it's wrong, it's wrong. Had it been Bush that ordered D-Day, even though he was never willing to put himself in such a situation, it still would have been the right order. Had it been Eisenhower ordering troops into Iraq, even though a veteran of many wars himself, it still would have been the wrong order.
 
  • #34
MTyler8 said:
when did it become necessary to have been in a battle before having an opinion about war? Any intelligent, educated person should know how horrible warfare is. If you are going to dis-allow an opinion because of a lack of "first hand knowledge" you will eliminate most of your own opinions.

It is good, though to have SOME experience, like knowing a veteran, so that you don't just assume that horror is the end of the story, so that everybody who goes to war willingly, or orders it, has to be assumed either mad or evil.
 
  • #35
loseyourname said:
Is that honestly it, though? I'm not a big critic of hypocrisy, myself. What's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong, and it doesn't matter how is giving the order. If the order is right, it's right; if it's wrong, it's wrong. Had it been Bush that ordered D-Day, even though he was never willing to put himself in such a situation, it still would have been the right order. Had it been Eisenhower ordering troops into Iraq, even though a veteran of many wars himself, it still would have been the wrong order.
Well - that too!
 

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