On august 27, 1928, a number of the largest and most powerful nations signed a pact that declared that they condemned recourse to war for the settlement of international differences, and renounced it as an instrument of national policy. The world had just witnessed the horrors of the WWI and it was clear that war would never lead to anything. In this book by Gerald Vann published in 1939, modern warfare is described as stripped of all its romantic glamour. With the flow of information through modern communication, the horrors of war will make it increasingly difficult to initiate war, the author reasons. The disadvantages of going to war will be so overwhelming, that overthrowing one’s own warmongering leader will always be preferable.
Morality and War describes a moral foundation for conflict solving in the modern world – just before the world went into a even more terrifying war. From the book:
There is nothing romantic about war to-day; and it is evidence alike of the power of propaganda and of the ability of human beings to close their eyes to realities that it should still be possible to think that there is. For the civilized man, war is simply the last repellent resort when all civilized means have failed. He will accept it therefore as he would accept any other unwelcome but necessary task ; hut he will refuse to shroud its realities in a mist of false pageantry ; and he will refuse to surrender his personality to the depersonalizing influences which it may unleash. Civilized society will not admit the notion that war is a biological necessity. To be civilized means precisely to have achieved control of the instincts. The aggressive instincts which may indeed find an outlet in war, need not do so ; and it is part of the evolution of the human personality to ensure that they shall not. War is only permissible, we remind ourselves, as an instrument rationally employed for the enforcing of law ; that result cannot be achieved by a war which is simply a sub-human surrender to uncontrolled biological urges. The days have gone by when war might be extolled as the sport of kings.
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