Wars can be waged for a wide variety of reasons:-
In response to armed invasion (e.g. The Falklands War, where British
Armed Forces regained the Falkland Islands from an Argentine force).
To support a less powerful nation in its struggle against a superior military
e.g. The Gulf War, where a coalition of military powers went to war
against Iraq to reclaim Kuwaiti territory. It is arguable that the Gulf War
was waged to protect western access to oil).
To try to gain territory from a neighbouring nation (e.g. The wars waged
by the English against the French throughout most of the Medieval
To counter a threat to peace and stability (e.g. Israel’s war in the
Because a treaty exists which obliges a nation to go to war in support of
another nation (
e.g. The various treaties that were in operation in 1914,
which led to most of Europe going to war).
In the case of World War Two, most of these reasons applied!
Philosophy has had a varied relationship with armed struggle:
Plato’s opinions of Athenian politics were formed during the disastrous
Augustine wrote Civitas Dei (The City of God) after the Visigoths sacked
Rome in AD410.
Hobbes wrote Leviathan, in which he characterised life as being “nasty,
brutish and short” after the English Civil War.
After the horrors of the First World War, most of the intellectual map of
Europe was altered completely (
e.g. Compare Elgar’s music pre-war, such
as his Cockaigne overture, and the Pomp and Circumstance marches, with
the desolation of his post-war Cello Concerto). In some cases,
philosophers were enlisted to justify militaristic and nationalistic
standpoints, as the various nations struggled to redefine themselves in
the aftermath of the war.
For most religious people, war is a difficult issue because it is often a very
complex one. The rules of international politics and of sovereign statehood
make an opinion on the justification of war rarely a straightforward opinion.
The Notion of a Just War
The different religions have different interpretations of the justification
Islam - the Jihad . Jihad is spoken of on two levels, the
spiritual struggle against evil, and the external struggle
against the forces that represent evil. Jihad is the duty of all
Muslims. There are four ways they may fulfill a jihad: by the
heart, the tongue, the hand, and the sword. These refer to the
inner, spiritual battle of the heart against vice, passion, and
ignorance; spreading the word of Islam with one's tongue;
choosing to do good and avoiding evil with one's hand; and
waging war against non-Muslims with the sword
Various Christian philosophers have tried to
identify the conditions in which it could be justified to enter an
armed struggle. Unlike Islam, Christianity has never supported
the notion of…