War and Peace - Theory

HideShow resource information

The Causes of War

  • Search for Power - For example, throughout World War II, Adolf Hitler had sought domination of the entire continent of Europe. 
  • Wealth - Over money or land ownership
  • Freedom - Or independence, e.g. the Anglo-Irish War between the IRA and British forces between 1919-1921.
  • Last Resort - I.e. following prior diplomatic talks
  • Defence 

There are numerous examples of wars which may be referred to in exam answers - you should be able to name at least two. For example: The Falklands Conflict, World War I, World War II, The Gaza/Palestine Conflict, The Crusades of the 11th-13 Centuries, etc. 

Religious Attitudes to War

Peace is the absence of conflict; and the subsequent allowance of harmony. This is much supported by pacifists - a term referring to those that refuse to participate in war or any other form of violence. The Quakers are an example of a Christian denomination that practices pacifism; in light of Jesus' example. 

Some religious believers might choose to fight within a war, according to the following criteria:

Just War Theory - This was developed by Roman Catholic, Thomas Aquinas; referring to the criteria by which the Church defines a war as acceptable. The criteria are as follows: 

  • Good must outweigh evil caused
  • Must be fought by just, proportionate means
  • Must be fought in self defence
  • Must be fought as a final resort (after unsuccessful previous diplomatic talks)
  • Must be declared lawfully by an official authority
  • There has to be a reasonable chance of success

Holy War - This is a war fought for a religious cause, declared by a religious leader.

  • Must be declared by a religious leader
  • Many that participate anticipate a spiritual reward
  • Often fought to protect a religion, a country or beliefs. 
  • An example would be in the Crusades between the 11th and 13th centuries. The Christians overtook Holy Lands under Islamic rule; brutally murdering the Muslim population of Jerusalem. Pope Urban II purified the murderers of their sins. 

Lesser Jihad - This is a holy war fought to protect Islamic people, beliefs and Allah's name. 

  • Fought as self defence
  • No use of WMDs


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Peace and Conflict resources »