Academic journal article Military Review

Why Nations Go to War

Academic journal article Military Review

Why Nations Go to War

Article excerpt

WHY NATIONS GO TO WAR, John G. Stoessinger, Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston, MA, 2001, 286 pages, $59.95.

Barnes and Noble and Amazon. com classify Why Nations Go to War by John G. Stoessinger as a history textbook. I agree. While Stoessinger attempts to convince readers of the "pivotal role leaders play in pushing a nation over the threshold into war," the true value of his book lies in providing a basic understanding of the causes of eight conflicts.

Stoessinger's thesis is summed up by the following quote. "With regard to the problem of the outbreak of war, the case studies indicate the crucial importance of the personalities of leaders." I agree that a leader's personality plays a large part in why nations go to war; I am not convinced that it is of such pivotal importance as Stoessinger would have us believe

The chapters on India and Pakistan; the Fifty Year War in the Holy Land between Israel and the Arabs; the two wars in the Persian Gulf; and the war over the remains of Yugoslavia are enlightening. …

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