Book Report - Why Nations Go to War

710 Words3 Pages
In Why Nations Go to War, Dr.John G Stoessinger talks about the role of individuals in starting wars. He is of the view that factors like economics, nationalism, alliance networks and even fate are often put forward as the primary reasons for the outbreak of a war, but the human element, the personalities, the hopes and fears and the particular worldview of the individual leaders of the country are not given nearly as much importance. The writer points out that wars are after all, started by people and to a large extent, the book deals with the lead up to the moment when people finally decide to go to war. The author holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and has taught at Harvard, M.I.T, Columbia and Princeton. He won the Bancroft Prize for his book, The Might of Nations and he has served as acting director for the political affairs division at the United Nations. To prove his point that wars do not occur due to “events” outside anyone’s control, Stoessinger makes use of seven case studies (extended to ten in later editions): WW1, Hitler’s attack on Russia, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Indo Pak wars, the Iraq-Iran wars and the wars between Israel and her Arab neighbors. Regarding the attack on Russia by Nazi Germany for example, Dr. Stoessinger maintains that the attack can be explained by Hitler’s deep rooted hatred for Russia. According to the author, Hitler became obsessed with wiping out Russia; he wished to not only wipe the country off the face of the earth, but also to destroy every trace of Russian civilization or culture. To Hitler, Russia’s policy towards Germany as irrelevant; all that mattered to him was that Russia and everything Russian cease to exist. On his end, Stalin was so blinded by his hatred for the Capitalistic West that he choose to ignore all warnings of an impending German invasion. Instead, he denounced these warning as Western attempts to
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