The Horrors of War

It's impossible for any peace campaigning group to fail to refer to WAR - and its horrors both in terms of human & financial cost. The horror of millions of both servicemen & civilians being killed or maimed needs little explanation. It is the families, wives, girlfriends & children who were left bereaved for whom we should grieve.

Some people fail to understand why the cost of war is also an aspect to which we should also be strongly opposed as the billions of pounds wasted could so easily have been spent on improving the lives of the International population. Food for those suffering from famine, fresh clean water for those suffering from drought and medicines for the sick. Finance to enable families to become self-sufficient.

The Great War 1914-18
Many think that this was simply a war started by the Germans lusting for power. In fact it started as a result of the murder of the Austrian leader whilst on holiday. The perpetrators of this crime could have had little idea of the consequences of their actions.
THE HUMAN COST: Literally millions & millions of people all over the world but particularly in Europe were killed or injured. It is calculated that over 2% of the world's population perished.
Total 11,016,000 - Over 11 MILLION people.
FINANCIAL COST: $196,500,000,000 (adjusted to 1990 dollar values)
Unbelievably only 21 years later war was to start all over again.


World War II 1939-45
The Nazi movement under Adolph Hitler's leadership had been growing for several years. Although elected as the German Chancellor it was not long before he became the dictator who consulted no-one. Democracy became non-existent.
The photograph shown below of the Nazi Rally in Nuremburg in 1934 must have been a sure sign to the rest of the world that there was trouble on the horizon.

Appeasement by several statesmen including Britain?s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain all failed and in September 1939 Hitler?s troops invaded Poland. Due to the existence of a treaty between Britain & Poland, war was declared only a few days later. The war quickly escalated with the Nazi forces driving through France, Belgium & Holland as well as most of Eastern Europe. Although the USA gave financial support, it was not until the Japanese Air Force bombed the US fleet in Pearl Harbour that the United States finally joined the war.

The war raged on all over the world for two further years and Britain with their allies started to recapture France and the rest of Europe whilst the Germans were driven back to their homeland to be sandwiched between Allied & Soviet Armies.

In 1945 President Truman decided to use the recently developed Atomic Bombs in an attempt to bring the war to a swift conclusion. These bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima & Nagasaki in Japan causing the deaths of millions of citizens. Within a few weeks the Japanese capitulated and the war finally came to an end. During this war many inhuman atrocities were perpetrated. One of the worst was the holocaust - the murder by the Nazis of 6,000,000 Jewish prisoners in gas chambers.

The cost in human terms was horrendous with a total of 62,000,000 military & civilians were killed. Over 2.5% of the world?s population died in this war. Large swathes of Europe & Asia were devastated and took many years to recover. FINANCIAL COST: $2,091,300,000,000 (adjusted to 1990 dollar values)


The Korean War 1950-53
Essentially a war between the Soviet Union & the United States who were fearful of the expansion of Communism. The USA & British finally stopped the advance of Soviet troops at the 39th parallel where North Korea is governed by a communist regime. South Korea became an increasingly prosperous capitalist country which has remained a US ally ever since.

THE HUMAN COST: 4,000,000 Lives Lost
THE FINANCIAL COST: $330,000,000,000 (adjusted to 1990 dollar)

The Vietnam War (US Involvement) 1961-75
This war too was intended to stop the advance of Communism in Asia. The USA became involved only after the attempted invasion of South Vietnam by North Vietnam had been raging for 7 years. Following the report that Torpedo boats had attacked US destroyers in the gulf of Tonkin, President Johnson saw it as the USA's duty to oppose the invasion. Chinese forces were helping the invasion from the north.
A total of 8,744,000 troops were engaged during this war and their battle deaths totalled 47,410. The country is now under communist control following the withdrawal of troops by President Nixon. This followed a major outcry from the US public.

THE HUMAN COST: 6,000,000 Lives Lost
THE FINANCIAL COST: $500,000,000,000


The War On Terrorism 2001 (Ongoing)
Following the terrorist plane attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, on the Pentagon and the unsuccessful attack on Washington, President Bush declared war on terrorism. The US had these main objectives - to oust Saddam Hussein and eliminate his weapons of destruction; to capture Osama bin Laden the leader of Al Qaeda who was thought to have escaped to Afghanistan and to minimise the threat of further terrorist attacks throughout the world. It was also hoped to promote democracy in Iraq and the surrounding areas. However many claimed that the war against terrorism was an attempt to gain control of the rich oil-producing fields in this area. There remains considerable doubt about the legality of this war as the USA failed to obtain United Nations sanctions.

Britain joined in at the request of President Bush after Prime Minister Tony Blair was persuaded of the need to assist. He obtained the agreement of Parliament after a report from MI6 was falsified. Fierce battles with heavy missiles raged against Iraq and many innocent civilians were killed or mutilated. Eventually Saddam Hussein was captured. The US & Britain attempted to take control of the country.

A rebuilding programme was introduced but much of the money allocated for the rebuilding of hospitals was stolen by contractors. The civilian community was left without water or electricity for several months. Saddam Hussein has subsequently been tried by an Iraq court and found guilty of crimes against humanity. He was executed by hanging on December 30th 2006. The civil war in Iraq between various religious & political groupings continues to rage with both US & British troops as well as civilians being killed & maimed on a regular basis.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan US & British troops continue to battle against the Taliban and the search for Osama bin Laden continues.

FINANCIAL COST TO DATE: $500,000,000,000


How Can People Of Peace Help Prevent Future Wars?
The United Nations must become efficient Peace Keepers. The policing of the World must bot in future be entrusted to individual nations. It must be a united effort by all countries contributing finance with troops trained in helping to keep the Peace where ever in the World there is such a need.

Your views on this important subject would be most welcome. Let us not look back in anger but learn the lessons of history and look forward with confidence!


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