Justice After War Essay

This essay has a total of 1231 words and 8 pages.

Justice After War

Justice after War
History - Wars - Writing Task

Wartime is definitely a time of much violence and many things happen during this time, but what about after war…

"The just war tradition is typically evoked when discussing the decision to launch a war
(justice of war) and when evaluating the conduct of forces during war (justice in war).
But the tradition does not explicitly specify principles for assessing justice after war,
nor does it discuss state obligations upon achieving military victory."


This excerpt was taken from an article by Tony Lang and Mary-Lea Cox. Once victory is
earned by one side it must take responsibility to pave the road to peace in that country
by building a new political system. This is summarized in Thomas L. Freidman's view when
he says "you break it, you own it". But maintaining peace in war-trodden country is not
easy. There is jealousy from that country, the urge to take revenge; while this is
happening the victors have to discuss how to maintain justice. Maintaining the balance
between these two is a tedious task. In many conflicts through history the aftermath has
been more of a problem to the defeated than the war itself, becoming financially crippled,
becoming underdogs of the world, being restricted. These are all problems faced by the
dark horse of the battle, after a battle keeping a stability of even-handedness and
retribution is a daunting task.


Many trials through time have been subject to comments by critics that have made points
that justice had no role in the final judgement. In the Nuremberg Trials, of the 21
defendants that were held in custody 11 were sentenced to death (over 50%), three were
acquitted and the rest were subject to heavy jail terms. The Nazi atrocities that they
were put on trial for were for good reason, though they had been wishing to give them all
a fair trial it is obvious that excessive urges to take revenge caused an imbalance in the
balance between revenge and justice.

Those to be prosecuted were done so because of the brutal "war crimes", "crimes against
peace" and "crimes against humanity" they had committed. The prosecutors were dominated by
a large percentage of Jews, who at this time, excusably, had a fervent hatred for the
Nazis, since the Nazis had also had a fervent hatred for them. But this just shows how
hard it would have been for these prosecutors to not have had revenge govern their
thoughts throughout the trial. The Nazis had murdered over 6 million Jews in a period of
10 years, obviously the prosecutors would not have taken lightly to it, though the terms
under which the defendants were prosecuted were very heavy, it could also be argued that
they had indeed deserved the sentence that they received even though some of them weren't
liable for their actions.


In 1918 a peace settlement was signed by Germany after World War I, though Germany had
once again committed atrocities they were forced into a lot of things that could be argued
as unjust and unfair, they were forced to sign the treaty of Versailles, which was an
unfair treaty to Germany. It is clear that justice wasn't Britain and the other Allies'
main concern in the issue. Justice was merely propaganda, as it was clear that all the
restrictions placed on Germany were not just so that Britain could bring justice and
balance to her. Germany was restricted to an army of merely 100,000 men, barely sufficient
to fend off an attacking island! Not only this, but their navy was restricted to 6 ships
and no submarines. This threshold placed on the army was merely a puddle in the flood that
Britain created to sink Germany. Much land was taken from Germany, specifically the
following:


Alsace-Lorraine (given to France)

Eupen and Malmedy (given to Belgium)

Northern Schleswig (given to Denmark)

Hultschin (given to Czechoslovakia)

West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia (given to Poland)


And to top this off Britain had inflicted several financial penalties on Germany, almost
crippling any attempts to rebuild it. Germany had also been in desperate need of repairs
to their country and combined with the financial penalties we can see that it is clear
that Britain had no other motive but to bankrupt Germany, the Allies ordered a blank
cheque be given to them and they would cash it when they see fit, the amount totalled was
₤6,600 million, well beyond Germany's capability to pay. Germany was also held
responsible for starting the war, and for everything that happened during the war.


As all the facts are saying that the Allies' sole achievement in the treaty of Versailles
was not to bring justice to Germany and its allies but rather to cripple it, it is true
that after such a war Britain would not be in the mood to be charitable to Germany. But
then again, you can't blame them, Britain and the triple entente had suffered multitudes
of casualties, it can't be expected that they not go hard on Germany. This just proves
that maintaining balance after a major conflict isn't the easiest of tasks.


To take a more contemporary example we can use the war on terrorism, namely the search for
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the overthrowing of Saddam Hussein as well as the
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