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The Search Begins
WHEN I FIRST began researching the origins of human warfare, certainly the furthest thing from my mind were UnidentifiedFlying Objects, better known as "UFOs." 'The many flying saucer magazines which once graced the newsstands were, in my opinion, not worthy of serious consideration.* I also did not feel that the UFO phenomenon was terribly important even if it was evidence of an extraterrestrial race. Solving the down-to-earth problems of war and human suffering seemed so much more important than arguing over whether or not "little green men from Mars" might occasionally be visiting Earth.
I began researching this book in 1979; however, my desire to see an end to war arose much earlier in life, at just about the age of eight. Back then, war movies were very popular in my circle of friends. Our favorite game was playing "army." I usually commanded one squad of kids and my friend David led the opposition. We filled our imaginary battles with the same glamor and altruism we saw , on television. We had no greater hero than the late actor Vic Morrow who would gallantly lead his army squad to victory every week on the television series, Combat!
One Saturday afternoon I was watching a Hollywood war movie on television. It was like any other war movie except that it contained a short piece of numbing realism. For the first time in my life, I found myself looking at documentary film footage of an actual Nazi concentration camp. Long after the images vanished off the television screen, I was haunted by the pictures of skeleton-like bodies being thrown into large pit. Like so many other people, I hadtrouble fathoming the souls of the Nazis who could shove human beings into brick ovens like loaves of bread and moments later pulled out the charred remains. Within a minute, those grainy black-and-white images presented a true picture of war. Behind the curt and stirring oratory, war is little but degraded psychosis. While war movies and games can sometimes be fun, the red thing is unconscionable.
For centuries,scientists and thinkers have attempted to solve theriddle, of why people go to war. They have observed Earth's creatures fight among themselves at one time or another, usually over food, territory, or mating. Aggression seems to be a universal behavior related to survival. Other factors also contribute to the creation of wars. The analyst must take into onsideration such variables as human psychology, sociology, political leadership, economic conditions, and the natural surroundings. Many thinkers, however, haveerroneously equated all human motives with motives found in the animal kingdom. This is a mistake because intelligence breeds complexity. As creatures rise in intelligence, their motivations tend to become more elaborate. It is easy to understand the mental stimuli in two alley cats squabbling over a scrap of food, but it would be a mistake to attribute as simple a state of mind to a terrorist planting a bomb in an airport.
I began this study as the result of a single idea I had encountered. The concept is certainly not a new one, and at first it seems narrow in in scope. The idea is nevertheless quite important because it addresses a motivation which can only be formulated by creatures of high intelligence:
War can be its own valuable commodity.The simple existence of violent conflict between groups of people can, in itself, be valuable to someone regardless of the issues over which people are fighting. An obvious example iS an armaments manufacturer selling military hardware to waning nations, or a lending institution making loan to governments during wartime. Both can achieve an economic benefit from the mere existence of war as long as the violence does not directly touch them.
The value of war as a commodity extends well beyond monetary gain:
War can be an effective tool for maintaining social and political control over a large population.
In the sixteenth century, Italy consisted of numerous independent principalities which were often at war with one another.When a prince conquered a neighboring city, he would sometimes breed internal conflicts among the vanquished citizens. This was an effective, way to maintain political control over the people because the endless squabbling prevented the vanquished people from engaging in unified action against the conqueror. It did not greatly matter over what issues the people bickered so long as they valiantly struggled against one another and not against the conquering prince.
A state Of war can also be used to encourage populations to think in ways that they would not otherwise do, and to accept the formation of institutions that they would normally reject. The longer a nation involves itself in wars, the more entrenched those institutions and ways of thinking will become.
Most comprehensive history books contain brief references to this type of manipulative third party activity. it is no secret, for example, that prior to the American Revolution, France had sent intelligence agents to America to stir up colonial discontent against the British Crown. it is also no secret that the German military had aided Lenin and the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution of 1917. Throughout all of history, people and nations have benefited from, and have contributed to, the existence of other people's conflicts.
Intrigued by these, concepts, I resolved to do a study to determine just how important the third party factor has been in human history. I wanted to discover what common threads, if any, may have existed between various third party influences in history. It was my hope that this study would offer added insights into how and by whom history has been made.What resulted from this modest goal was one of the most extraordinary odysseys I have ever taken. The trail of investigation move through a complex labyrinth of remarkable facts, startling theories and everything in between.