The Laws of War: Constraints on Warfare in the Western World / Edition 1

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This book explores not only the formal constraints on the conduct of war throughout Western history but also the unwritten conventions about what is permissible in the course of military operations. In discussions ranging from classical antiquity to the present, eminent historians examine the legal and cultural regulation of violence in such matters as belligerent rights, the treatment of prisoners and civilians, the observing of truces and immunities, the use of particular weapons, siege warfare, codes of honor, and war crimes.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This thought-provoking collection of original essays, edited and written by American history professors ( and one Britain), defines the limitations that Western societies have attempted to impose on themselves in warfare, and the extent to which these attempts have been influenced by the development of new weapons. Adam Roberts's ``Land Warfare: From Hague to Nuremberg'' focuses on the non-use of poison gas in WWII as one of the successes of voluntary restraint, but he goes on to note that the introduction of the machine gun, tank, submarine and bomber increased humankind's capacity for destruction. The present century, despite the optimism at the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, saw the intensification of violence and the adoption of indiscriminate forms of ``total'' war. Tami Biddle Davis's ``Air Power'' makes the point that the most effective aerial bombardment campaign in history, Operation Desert Storm, was also the most indiscriminate. As for the Bomb, David Alan Rosenberg's ``Nuclear War Planning'' argues that nuclear weapons remain largely outside the sphere of international controls. In the concluding piece, ``The Laws of War,'' Paul Kennedy and George Andreopoulos discuss the intersection between human rights and the laws of war, especially in connection with the current debate over ``humane intervention.'' (Jan.)
Contains essays exploring both formal constraints on the conduct of war from classical antiquity to the present and unwritten conventions as to what was or was not "done" in the course of military operations. Explored are such issues as treatment of prisoners and civilians, observation of truces and immunities, the acceptability of particular weapons and systems, and war crimes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300070620
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 311
  • Product dimensions: 5.89 (w) x 8.87 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Constraints on Warfare 1
2 Classical Greek Times 12
3 The Age of Chivalry 27
4 Early Modern Europe 40
5 Colonial America 59
6 The Age of Napoleon 86
7 Maritime Conflict 98
8 Land Warfare: From Hague to Nuremberg 116
9 Air Power 140
10 Nuclear War Planning 160
11 The Age of National Liberation Movements 191
12 The Laws of War: Some Concluding Reflections 214
Notes 227
Acknowledgments 281
List of Contributors 283
Suggested Readings 285
Index 291
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