Just War

Belief that it is right to fight

Rebekah Abblitt

11 Green 2013
Religion in Society - War and Peace

Assiment Task - Just War

What is 'just war'?

Just War is a therory that attemps to justify wars and alos tries to limit them. The original idea was created by St Thomas Aquinas, a Christain theologin from the thirteenth centuary.

The five rules of Just War

Just war (Bellum iustum) is a set of military ethics from Roman philosophical and Catholic origin. It’s studied by moral theologians, ethicists and international policy makers, which hold that a violent conflict has to meet philosophical, religious or political criteria.


St Augustine was the creator of the original two rules but it as St Thomas Aquinas who was credited for writing them clearly. He added the third rule and included proportionality. The rules, and how many there should be, was augured for over five hundred years until it was finally decided the five rules was the best thing to have, and cover everything had they believed in.
Sometimes the rules are said to be written with five or six but are most commonly written with just the five.


1) The war must be started and controlled by the state and/ or its ruler

For a war to be concerted just it has to have been started by someone of legitimate power i.e. a king. By doing so, it gives some sort of control over the war. They have the power to say stop and end everything. This also means that wars stared by rebels or anti-conformists, protested about government or other world issues it isn't considered to be just war as there is no on in official powers to control it or to declared it as a war.



2) there must be a just cause (reason) with a chance of winning

By having this rule means that war can’t be stared for just anything. It gives a sense of legitimacy to the war and this way people actually know what they are fighting for. This rule relates to the third rule. By making sure the war has been started for a just cause, it would of need a lot of planning and thought and not just a snap decision not giving the opposing side any warning.


3) war must be a last resort after all other options have been exhausted, and have a good chance of success

Even if a war has been started by someone of official power and status, the side that has declared the war must believe they have a very good chance of winning and is the last resort, otherwise it is not conceded to be a just war.

By having this rule it means can’t just be declare all the time. You have go through quite a lengthy process considering every other possible way that the problem could be resulted before doing to war. This also means the both sides know what is going on and both have a fair chance of winning.

4) the war must promote good and overcome evil

This rule would hopefully be common sense to most people. Even though war itself would be considered to be an act of evil, the reason for fight must be to promote good not evil. It’s sort of contradicting itself though. To make people fight for in something that is primarily evil and then to be going around preaching how much good it is going don’t really make all the must sense. One isn’t really any better than the other, sure promote all the good you want, but think of all the evil that you’re asking your people to do.


5) Proportionality

Proportionality mean that only enough force should be used as is absolutely necessary to achieve the set out goal of achieving peace. The general public shouldn’t be harmed and/or attacked and people should not be forced into fighting. By having this rule is hopefully secures the safety of more people and cities. Sadly though this isn’t the case and the war effects more people than it should.

effects of war

Ill-health - This is probably the biggest (along with psychological) effect of war. Whether it be illness from gas bombs, loss of limbs, horrible burns or it worst cause death, this effects the most people during war.


Psychological - As well as ill-health this would also be the biggest thing that effects people during and after war. What people would see, hear and fell wouldn't be something that they remember for the rest of their lives. Weather it be from the loss of a loved one, being tortured, fighting on the front line or just the war itself, the about of stress and fear that these people would of faced is going to be something they will never forget.


Landmines - Even after the war has finished, a lot of fields and farmlands can still be covered in undiscovered landlines. this effect a large number of people as they then have to change their lives and maybe even move house just o they can live out a normal life without fear of every time they step out into they're backward, could be the last step they take.


Refugees - After or during war many people leave there homes and flee their country in the hope to find safety, these people are called refugees. There is estimated to be around 15 million refuges worldwide.


Shellshock - Shell shock most commonly occurred after the effects of World War I it is the reaction of the soldiers form the intensity of the fighting and trauma of battle. The soldiers affected often have a dazed and hazy look on their face and will find they have an inability to reason, sleep, walk, eat or talk.


Environmental - War doesn’t just affect the people, but also the world around them. Many landscapes will never be able to fully regrow due to the amount of stress that the land had to go through. Not to mention the cost or rebuilding and replanting in some cases full cities.


Children's lives - Many young children are forces to become soldiers and as they are untrained many die is battle, or from environmental causes.


Children suffer - Most children will see many sights and horrors that young children shouldn’t have to see. Many become orphans and are can be quite badly injured in the process.


Gulf War Syndrome - After the Gulf War many men and woman that fought had serious health problems. Most believe it was from the vaccinations that they had to get to try and help stop disease from getting to them, but sadly they got something must worse.

key points

  • There are five main rules of Just War. The rules developed as war tactics changed.
  • The aim of the five rules is to make the cause of war acceptable and morally right.
  • Just war is a Christain concept.


Just War - feat Gruff Rhys