Why Nations Go To War

2542 Words Jan 13th, 2014 11 Pages
WHY NATIONS GO TO WAR
By
John G. Stoessinger

BOOK REVIEW:
WHY NATIONS GO TO WAR is a unique book and a product of reflection by author, Dr. John G. Stoessinger. First published in 1978, its Eleventh Edition with additions came out in 2010.
It is built around ten case studies, culminating in the new wars that ushered in the twenty-first century: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the wars between Arabs and Israelis in Gaza and in Lebanon.
In the book he analyses the most important military conflicts of the 20th century: First World War, operation Barbarossa, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the war in Yugoslavia, the India-Pakistan conflict etc.
The distinguishing feature of the book is the author 's emphasis on the pivotal role of
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This approach is very well organized and helps the reader to follow the evolution of war styles.

The book’s first chapter is dedicated to World War I and is expressively entitled The Iron Dice, referring to the famous words spoken on August 1st by German chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg:
“If the iron dice must roll, may God help us”
In general, because of the history taught in schools or because of popular history books, most people consider that the so-called fundamental causes of World War I are: the deteriorating balance of power in Europe and the new competitive alliances, the arms race, Germany’s militarism and her claims regarding a larger colonial empire etc. Loyal to his theory, Stoessinger ignores these causes and chooses to analyze the leader’s actions in the war’s eve.
According to the author, all of the political leaders involved were aware of the war’s inevitability and, in spite of this, they couldn’t stop it. More than once, these leaders have denied their responsibility, placing it in the hands of God or destiny. But it wasn’t God who could control the evolution of events and stop the war, was he?
Dr. Stoessinger’s main theory is that the events weren’t, in fact, incontrollable and that it was the people who made the crucial decisions. And these people weren’t some evil leaders with a thirst for blood and destruction (how the
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