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War ...continued


In days of old warfare was a straightforward affair. Only military forces would be involved and usually the fighting would be localised to a particular battlefield(5). Today the situation has radically changed and warfare has escalated into operations by land sea and air, destroying property other than military targets and causing the death of thousands of civilians.

There are varied reasons for going to war. It is sometimes to obtain some territorial advantage, eg Mussolini into Abysinnia or Hitler into Poland etc. Sometimes it is to avenge a former previous injustice, or purely to defend against an invading army. Police forces as well as the military are sometimes obliged to use force in the maintenance of law and order, which also may result in fatalities.

War has become an accepted part of society, so much so that rules of agreement have been drawn up to control its procedure and make it as humane as possible. These rules were drawn up and known as the Geneva Convention. The Red Cross founder Jean Henri Dunant (1828-1910) played a major part in its inception, and the first Treaty (which included 16 European countries) was agreed in 1864. It was concerned about the treatment of prisoners of war, the care of sick and wounded soldiers, regulations against torture, race discrimination and other humane issues. The Convention committee continues to sit from time to time to make any necessary amendments and update its work.

Index to the Topic
War: killing and murder - a clarification
Attitudes to War
The Pacifist position
Personal responses to War
An overview of conscientious objection. 

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