It is always frightening to see when images of war and destruction are presented by the media. Once again it becomes clear how contemptibly one deals with the lives of others when it comes to political or, even worse, so-called religious or ideological goals.
A human life counts for nothing. Whether expelled by death or flight from one's own homeland, the fate of the individual still counts for nothing in our world. The saying from the 1970s is only too well remembered: "Imagine, there's a war and nobody goes there". Has anything changed? Could lessons be learned from the past? Isn't the "modern, well-informed person" able to draw his lessons from bitter knowledge?
Wars are still largely not seen as common crime.
If you look back in the historically documented history of mankind, historians count almost 14,400 wars since history was recorded. The number of victims of these wars can only be calculated roughly; historians assume a number of around 3.5 billion people who have fallen victim to wars in the course of history. Since about 100 billion people were born and grew up during the same period of time due to evolution, this means, conversely, that about every twentieth citizen of the world has lost his life through acts of war. A bad calculation, which, however, clearly documents human imperfection.
While today we generally classify collective or individual robbery, ambush or even the deliberate killing of people as a crime and make it a punishable offense in all so-called constitutional states, war is still largely not regarded as a common crime. Why actually?
Here, to differentiate between actions, one finds the formulation of the armed conflict between collectives or groups, which as a rule see themselves as legitimate in the conflict. With this view, a war partially or completely abolishes the civilizational limitation of violence to an executive, which the constitutional state normally requires: In the worst case, armed armies are confronted that pretend to represent entire peoples or ethnic groups. They are also at the same time a party to the war, whether they like it or not.
Participation in war has always been considered necessary and, above all, justified
War parties always judge their own participation in the war as necessary and, above all, as justified. Their organized collective power therefore requires legitimation as a matter of principle. War as a state action therefore requires martial law within a state as well as international martial law to regulate interstate relations. This distinguishes above all aggressive from defensive war. Neither the one nor the other war behavior is of use to the individual and his relatives or his belongings.
Wars have accompanied human cultural history since the high culture phase. For pre-state tribal societies, armed raiding was an unproven means of survival, but not war in the Clausewitzian sense. The tribal feud corresponded roughly to what is now considered a skirmish or armed conflict: smaller local groups fought in a spontaneous, unplanned manner and with ever-changing alliances. Often because of violation of the hunting territory, because gradually the hunter became a warrior.
Only with the emergence of state-like structures, which in ancient times were almost always monarchies, did wars arise with armies specially assigned to fight. The rulers used the armies for resources in conflicts, which they understood as a personal duel. This has hardly changed to this day, even if not openly admitted.
The ruling upper classes of the later period saw war as normal. The peace that followed required special treaties. In Greece of the 4th century BC, on the other hand, as a result of the development after the Peloponnesian War, which had destabilized the polis order in Greece, there were several attempts to establish a lasting peace order through the idea of universal peace.
Ancient great empires often arose from organized raids. They made the conquered areas subject to tribute, enslaved or deported parts of the population. They translated military victories into lasting rule. The Roman Empire also occupied the conquered areas and exploited them economically. The Pax Romana of the Roman Empire was based on the permanent military presence of the occupying power.
Maintaining an army had a certain momentum of its own. Anyone who did military service could not also work as a serf in agriculture or otherwise. At the same time, the supply of the troops had to be guaranteed and the easiest way to do this was through robbery in conquered areas. The soldiers and mercenaries of a non-combat force would be "useless eaters" and therefore had to be employed in battle and conquest (to ensure their own sustenance). In the European Middle Ages, however, armies were only called up when a campaign was planned or an enemy invasion had to be repelled. The obligation to serve in the army was justified by the feudal dependencies.
These events brought about a first change of heart.
In the wake of the Reformation, the relatively stable entity of the Middle Ages, the Holy Roman Empire under the leadership of Emperor and Pope, disintegrated. The combination of religious and political differences eventually led to the Thirty Years' War from 1618 to 1648. Field battles that were announced were often accompanied by raids, looting and massacres of the civilian population. In the course of this, about a third of the Central European population died, either as a direct result of the war or as a result of the war, such as crop failures and epidemics.
These events brought about a first change of heart. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 brought the principle of non-interference in the affairs of foreign states into the discussion for the first time. The war devalued the claim to enforce religious positions by force of arms. The Peace of Westphalia initiated the separation of politics and religion in Europe.
Whether these findings, which are actually available to everyone, will one day be observed worldwide? Or will the future be allowed to continue to act without regard for people and nature due to the striving for power and greed. As long as individuals have the possibility of a so-called right of veto in organizations for peace and security, which are actually shaped by progressive basic ideas, the criminal behaviour of individuals will not change.
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