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Essay Contest Entries 2014
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HOW CAN WE OBEY THE LAW AGAINST WAR?
How can we obey the law against war? In my opinion, it is a very rhetorical question to ask and
to an extent, a wrong question to start with. I say this wrong because we are letting war happen at
the first place. Time and again history has taught us one most important thing, “war is not going
to last forever but peace is”. So why not focus on prevention of war rather than coping with its
repercussions. With this intention in mind, the President of United States, German Reich signed
a treaty with several other power nations providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument
of national policy. Kellogg-Briand Pact, also known as Pact of Paris was signed on August 27,
1928, “condemning resource to war for the solution international controversies”.
One question always cross my mind Will we be able to stop a war only on the basis of a treaty
when one country is adamant on war? Looking at the present situation where US is invading
any country on the pretext of establishing peace or setting up democracy, this questions seems
very pertinent. Examples of such invasions can be Iran, Iraq and recently Syria. It is my humble
submission that, most of the treaties including Kellogg Briand have failed to prevent battles at
international plane though the principles have survived.
The most significant reason why we have continuously failed to prevent wars is because we have
always focused on how to stop the war and not how to prevent it. It is only after some calamity
occurs, international focus shifts to negotiation. Is it a hope against hope that wars cannot be
prevented? Or humankind is destined to indulge in such bloodbaths and then feel sorry about it?
Our history textbooks are filled with minute details of World War I, II and about every other
major war. In my opinion, if this much attention were paid to the techniques of avoiding war,
our history would have manifested itself in all together a different way. May be in a way, where
when one could have looked up to history books for solutions to resolve their problems in their
In today’s world where everything is depended on something or the other, occurrence of war has
decreased to considerable extent. To my understanding, economic integration of nations can be a
powerful tool in dissuading war or war like conditions. This was one of the principles of Pact of
Paris where it stated that “everyone should join hands in the renunciation of war…”
If we make it a rule that every nation has to indulge in negotiations at the time of enmity between
the two countries then I think we will be able to put off war in almost all the cases if not all.1
We need to bring a change in the ideology of the people that war cannot be only stopped but
can be prevented also. In my opinion, adding some texts in textbooks can be a mile stone in
this regard. I am not saying that one should not teach about war but if we also teach the ways
in which it could have been avoided that would fulfill the objective of studying history. If that
cannot be done or if it is very cumbersome for people, a complimentary course on “Solutions”
should be added to the curriculum. This course can comprise of teachings of Nelson Mandela
or M.K. Gandhi or both. Both were followers of Ahimsa (Non-violence). Modern techniques
of resolving disputes can also be incorporated in this course like Arbitration, negotiations,
diplomatic talks, mediation conciliation etc.
Kellogg Briand Pact should be taught whenever we talk about wars. It is because of the
principles enunciated in this pact were the basis of many treatises to come by.
Inspiration from Principles of Kellogg Briand Pact
How Can We Obey the Law Against War?
The Pact of Paris acts as a peace weapon to eliminate war. Kellogg–Briand Pact signed on
August 27, 1928 was an international multilateral agreement named after United States Secretary
of State Frank B. Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand. They are also called as
the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy as an instrument
of national policy for the peaceful settlement of disputes. Actually this pact turns to be an
American policy and other international efforts formulated to prevent war to resolve disputes or
So many wars, genocides, merciless and cruel dreadful mass terror wars of history can
be avoided if we really followed the Pact of Paris. Starting from the Japanese invasion of
Manchuria, World War II, Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Soviet war,
Yugoslav war, and Somali Civil war was a historical crime against humanity, peace which is
inconceivable cruelty and inhuman punitive methods represents a barbarian act in the history of
humankind and peace. The Pact initially influences U.S.A to renounce war, but gradually it loses
to resolve international conflicts. The American Intervention also in Lebanon crisis, Bay of Pigs
Invasion, Sidra Incident, and finally Libyan civil war were totally considered as the tragedy of
LESSON FOR FUTURE:
We should not forget the black pages of War History of America and learn to do everything to
prevent similar situations in future. Identify the mistakes from the past war for the future peace
home where all the people rely on unity and peace. So the nation and people needs the basic
Eight basic trends of sadachar (good behavior) in needed now among minds of people for
better future. They are Satya (Truth), Dharma (Moral, Ethics), Prem (Love and Compassion),
Ahimsa (Non-Violence) Daya (Sympathy), Kshma (Forgiveness), Dana (Charity).
The myths behind the every war were the absence of humanity, peace and human prospects
of life. Thus various seminars and conferences have to be arranged for the students, people
explaining the worst case scenario about the effects. We cannot change the law or the minds of
the people to prevent war. The only way is to change by our self. We have to understand the
value of peace and we have to stop this by having a human life. We are born to live not to taste
blood. If every citizen in the country developed a feel of humanity and love, we can easily follow
“What a man can be, he must be.” This forms the basis of the perceived need for better future
for demolishing war. They pertain to what a person's full potential is and realizing that potential.
This desire as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one
is capable of abolishing war. Humanity lives are distinguishable from normal life; there is a
difference between what people hope to achieve and what they expect to achieve. Thus by
developing the peace which drives individuals to do more and be more than they currently are.
Kellogg–Briand Pact considers the quest to reach one's full potential as a person without the
sense of violence, enmity. Kellogg–Briand Pact focuses “ability to identify and set goals for the
peaceful future, while being inspired in the present to work toward those goals.”
KEY TO EXCELLENCE AND SUCCESS:
So the people are more likely to achieve positive outcomes when they develop better future,
combined with the ambitious, self-esteem, self-efficacy, information and inspiration they
need to persevere towards their goals. Every people can vary by gender, ethnicity, social class
and area. The people, we are also responsible for every war in and around the world because we
are associated with low meaning of life– such as close knit social networks, a sense of isolation
from broader sins and a history of death and decline. The people of east should react to the west
problems. High levels of bonding people can motivate people’s horizons and access to unity.
Thus if any war done to any people like world war in future, the whole world should oppose
and we have to protect every people. In simple don’t pour blood for the human plant. Thus we
should follow “unity in diversity”. We are drawing our border line with the blood of poor people,
innocent people. Think a while, for the real meaning of life and say goodbye to war and violence
and have a simple human life with peace as prescribed by Kellogg–Briand Pact.
"Time present and time past
And; both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past."
Therefore the vision of Perspectives of War, in the past will be best suitable to the present and
future also. Thus be responsible to every human life as, with inspiration being the willingness to
engage in activities for inherent value and future worth, and ambition referring to the ability to
set peace and avoiding war.
“Tell me and I forget, Show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.” -
“Alert today, empower tomorrow”
“Build a society of life for the pleasure of human life building the future without any war” The
good news is that we know what to do – now we just have to do it.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
508 Young St.
Dallas, TX 75202
Attn: George Rodrigue, VP and Managing Editor at The Dallas Morning News
Dear Mr. Rodrigue:
I am a college student in Dallas. I would like to request that The Dallas Morning News run a story
about the KelloggBriand Pact, an international treaty to outlaw war. In 1928, 10 years after the
end of World War I, the United States and several other nations signed the General Treaty for
Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, a legally binding international treaty also
known as the KelloggBriand Pact. According to the State Department:
On August 27, 1928, fifteen nations signed the pact at Paris. Signatories included
France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa, India, Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy and
Japan. Later, an additional fortyseven nations followed suit, so the pact was
eventually signed by most of the established nations in the world.
According to Wikipedia, "[S]ignatory states promised not to use war to resolve ‘disputes or
conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them’,”
(“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 April
2014. Web. ). Sponsored by France and the U.S., the Pact renounced the use of war and called for
the peaceful settlement of disputes," (“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 April 2014. Web.). It was a very noble effort, and it had
widespread international support in the late 1920s. By July 29, 1929, 62 countries had signed the
treaty, according to Wikipedia (“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 April 2014. Web.). "In the United States, the Senate approved the
treaty overwhelmingly, 85–1," (“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 April 2014. Web.). As of 2014, "The 1928 Kellogg–Briand
Pact...remains a binding treaty under international law," (“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The
Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 April 2014. Web.). One might very well ask,
"If the United States and dozens of other countries have signed a treaty forbidding war, how can
countries still legally wage war against one another?" Since the KelloggBriand Pact went into
effect in 1929, countries have claimed selfdefense or collective defense as legal justification for
declaring war on one another (“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 April 2014. Web.). For example, after the September 11
attacks, NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to justify collective action against
However, countries often do not have a legitimate reason for attacking one another. For example,
fascist regimes invaded their neighbors in Europe and Asia before and during World War II
(“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 April
2014. Web.). According to the State Department, the KelloggBriand “[P]act was one of many
international efforts to prevent another World War, but it had little effect in stopping the rising
militarism of the 1930s or preventing World War II." (history.state.gov). According to the State
Department, “[The KelloggBriand Pact['s] legacy remains as a statement of the idealism
expressed by advocates for peace in the interwar period. [United States Secretary of State] Frank
Kellogg earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929 for his work on the Peace Pact," (history.state.gov).
Here is some more background about the treaty. According to the State Department:
According to the State Department, France was the driving force behind the pact at its inception:
Nevertheless, the KelloggBriand Pact has not been totally worthless. According to Wikipedia,
In the wake of World War I, U.S. officials and private citizens made significant
efforts to guarantee that the nation would not be drawn into another war. Some
focused on disarmament…Others initiated a movement to try to outlaw war
outright. Peace advocates Nicholas Murray Butler and James T. Shotwell were part
of this movement. Both men were affiliated with the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace, an organization dedicated to promoting internationalism that
was established in 1910 by leading American industrialist Andrew Carnegie."
Particularly hard hit by World War I, France faced continuing insecurity from its
German neighbor and sought alliances to shore up its defenses. [French foreign
minister Aristide] Briand published an open letter in April of 1927 containing the
proposal...the suggestion had the enthusiastic support of some members of the
American peace movement. (history.state.gov)
The pact is an important multilateral treaty because, in addition to binding the
particular nations that signed it, it has also served as one of the legal bases
establishing the international norms that the threat or use of military force in
contravention of international law, as well as the territorial acquisitions resulting
from it, are unlawful. (“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The Free
Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 April 2014. Web.).
Furthermore, "One legal consequence of this is that it is clearly unlawful to annex territory by
force," (“KelloggBriand Pact,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
14 April 2014. Web.). Today, most countries do abstain from forcibly annexing the territory of
other nations, and the United Nations Security Council and NATO stand ready to stop unlawful
territory expansion by a belligerent power. For example, when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
invaded Kuwait in order to expand his country's territory and take control over Kuwait's lucrative
oil fields, the United States and NATO responded by defending Kuwait from this unprovoked and
illegal invasion. The United States and other countries should abide by the terms of the Kellogg
Briand Pact and refrain from launching unprovoked attacks against other nations.
Reclaiming the Kellogg-Briand Pact
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The Kellogg-Briand Pact, otherwise known as the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War, or simply the Pact of Paris, is one of the
most interesting of all modern treaties. This was a treaty signed in 1928 by most of the nations of the world, including Australia, and by
which the signatory nations pledged to renounce war as an official instrument of national policy and to use peaceful means to resolve
disputes. One of the interesting facts about this Treaty is that it is still current. There are a number of reasons why I would suggest it is
now appropriate to reclaim this Treaty in the popular imagination.
The first reason is that the Treaty coincides with other international commitments. For instance, the 1999 United Nations Declaration
and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, commits the signatories to promoting non-violence and a culture of non-violence. The
Preamble to the UN Charter indicates that the basis for the organization is to prevent succeeding generations from experiencing the
“scourge of war”, and the constitutional mandate for UNESCO commits that organization to encouraging a culture of peace. The value
of the Kellogg-Briand Pact is that this commitment to peace is made a little more concrete and a little more explicit.
The second reason is that the Kellogg-Briand Pact is more relevant than ever, given current international politics. It is arguable that we
live in a world where there has been a relative absence of inter-state armed conflict in recent years. However the paradox is that the
potential for inter-state violence is more apparent than ever, with growing major power rivalries now evident in the Western Pacific and
in Eastern Europe. It is instructive to remember that in 1914 the world had experienced a time of relative peace, but that peace soon
came to an end. I contend the ideals of the Kellogg-Briand Pact are now more important than ever.
The third reason is that aspirational goals are important. Goethe once wrote that the potential we identify is the potential we will tend to
fulfil. It is true that the Kellogg-Briand Pact did not stop fascist aggression in the 1930s, leading to global war. Yet I would suggest that
this only underscores the importance of educating and publicizing why such a Pact is important, that is, why it is important for nations
to renounce war as an official instrument of policy, and why it is important for nations to commit to pacific and diplomatic means for the
resolving of disputes. Ideals are worth working on.
The fourth reason is practical. The Kellogg-Briand Pact is often criticized as being overly idealist, and yet it was on the basis of the
Pact that the Nuremburg Tribunal and the Tokyo Trials prosecuted those who had led the world into yet another world war. It is timely
to remind ourselves that using war as an instrument of national policy is contrary to international law, and that those who do so are war
criminals. Many would argue that there are many such contemporary war criminals yet to be prosecuted, although this in itself is yet
another reason why the Kellogg-Briand Pact needs to be publicized.
The final reason is cultural. We live in strange times, with a wide recognition of the destructiveness and futility of war, and yet we
witness a popular culture which increasingly celebrates participation in violent conflict as the defining mark of courage and identity. Any
statement which explicitly rejects the value of war, and in particular which rejects war as an instrument of national policy, is useful in
these circumstances. Such statements help undergird a rejection of the culture of violence, which is so pervasive. The Kellogg-Briand
Pact is one such public statement.
How do we go about re-claiming the Kellogg-Briand Pact within the popular imagination, or, to put the question another way, how do
we obey the law against war? I would suggest what needs to happen is that national and international leaders of opinion ought to be
encouraged to speak out on the importance of the Kellogg-Briand Pact and its relevance today. For the United Nations, one practical
innovation would be the establishment of an International Day for the Renunciation of War, as a means for raising consciousness.
Whatever the means, it is difficult to gainsay the relevance of the Pact, and the need for this to be reclaimed as a pressing one for our
Dear Pope Francis,
As Catholics, our hope for the Church has been re-kindled by the
dominant themes of the first year of your papacy. Your call for the faithful to go forth
from their churches and into the streets to help those who are poor and oppressed
strikes a deep chord in us. All over the world, your message of solidarity with those
who suffer has inspired Catholics and non-Catholics alike. We long for you to take an
even more prophetic stand by addressing another great cause of human suffering—
This year marks the 86th
known as the General Treaty of Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National
Policy, which was signed by most of the world’s nations in Paris in 1928. Instead of
being a great boon to mankind, this still binding treaty has been ignored, leading to
untold misery from the continuing scourge of state violence. We believe that a major
reason nations cling to armed conflict is the belief that there can be a just war. It is
time for the Church to make a break with all attempts to justify killing as policy and
give her full support to nonviolent means of rectifying injustice.
For centuries, the Church has given her blessing to war. Ever since St.
Augustine formulated a Christian version of the just war theory, it has been possible
for men (and women) in arms to kill each other believing that it is God’s will. As
recently as the pontificate of Pius XII, conscientious objection to war was frowned
upon by the Church. Yet just a few years later, the Church moved away from its
unequivocal support of the just war theory. The Constitution on the Church in the
Modern World, from Vatican II, grants conscientious objection equal status with
participation in a just war. In St. John Paul II”s encyclical, Centesimus Annus, written
just after the mostly nonviolent overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe, he calls
for the adoption of alternative methods in situations of conflict. His support for such
nonviolent heroes as Lech Walensa and Oscar Romero is well known. Today, it is
our conviction that the Church should go one step further in her endorsement of non-
violence. We ask that she publicly reject the just war theory.
Addressing the issue of political violence and war is particularly timely
today. Never in history have so many people around the world resisted injustice with
nonviolent actions. Current research is finding that, contrary to conventional wisdom,
nonviolent action, also called “people power,” succeeds more often than violent
power in liberating people from repressive regimes. In the last 30 years people power
has overthrown dictatorships in the Philippines, the Warsaw Pact countries, Serbia,
and elsewhere. African women have been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for
nonviolently ending a civil war in Liberia. Tunisians and Egyptians were able to
depose long-time dictators with minimal violence in 2011. Moreover, groups like
Christian Peacemaker Teams and the Nonviolent Peaceforce are placing trained
civilian peacekeepers in conflict areas where military forces have failed to bring
peace, with remarkable results, all the while operating on budgets that are
infinitesimal compared to the 1.75 trillion dollars the world spends annually on
preparations for armed conflict.
War and violence are utterly antithetical to the peace of Christ;
nonviolence, which is more powerful at effecting positive change, has no such
contradiction. It springs from belief in the unity and dignity of humankind. Jesus said,
“Love your enemies.” How much more force his words would have if the leader of
1.2 billion Catholics were to call on us to return to that visionary moment in Paris and
remember that we once renounced war. Over the centuries, the Church has spoken out
in opposition to particular wars, like the recent war in Iraq, but her protest has been
muted by her continuing acceptance of the just war theory, which has never been used
to stop a war and is frequently employed to justify immoral military campaigns.
Dear Pope Francis, your words and actions on behalf of the poor have
touched the hearts of people of good will everywhere. The time is right to issue
another challenge-- that we once again reject war and the preparations for war which
the just war theory requires. The business of preparing for war, by bleeding resources
from essential goods and services, hurts the poor most of all. As Jesus’s teaching
suggests, assisting the poor and nonviolence go hand in hand. Please reject the just
war theory and call for a redirection of our talents toward nonviolent security and true
To: Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations
I am writing to urge adoption of the United Nations resolution for an International Day of Remembrance of the
Kellogg-Briand Pact. As the number of violent world conflicts continues to increase, leaders and constituents
worldwide are calling for peaceful alternatives to war. However, this is not a new development. On August 27,
1928, fifteen countries signed the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy
(Also known as the Pact of Paris, and hereafter to be referred to as the Kellogg-Briand Pact in this letter). By
today, 61 countries have joined. 
Articles I and II of the Kellogg-Briand Pact state the following:
“The High Contracting Parties solemly [sic] declare in the names of
their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the
solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an
instrument of national policy in their relations with one another….The
High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all
disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they
may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except
by pacific means.” 
In accordance with the worldwide growing desire for peaceful means of conflict resolution, the Kellogg-Briand
Pact can be a powerful tool in helping us transform the future of conflict resolution. However, in the time since
it was originally signed, it has sadly failed to have the impact that was intended.
Criticisms of the Kellogg-Briand pact are centered around the fact that it is difficult to enforce. As is the
main challenge with most international agreements, sovereign governments choose the extent to which they
implement and are committed to the agreed upon resolution. Although unfortunate, this is the reality which
restrains the effectiveness of peace agreements.
However, an advantage of our modern global society is that what international governmental organizations
cannot enforce, the citizens of individual countries can, even in countries without high levels of public
participation in government. This is evidenced by the Arab spring movement in 2011, the current, ongoing
Venezuela protests, and countless other political movements instigated by the public in order to socially
pressure governments into observance of public moral opinion. These demonstrations prove that public opinion
has the power to enforce their respective ideals.
I submit that The United States should propose and/or support language in a United Nations resolution that
would make August 27th (the anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact) an International Day of Remembrance
of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Additionally, language should be included to invite nations that are not signers of
the Kellogg-Briand Pact to ratify it. If an international day of remembrance is recognized in these countries, it
would invite the attention of the public to the fact that their governments have agreed to a formal pact against
the use of war in resolving conflict. If, then, the issue arises that a government violates the agreement of the
pact, the public would have the knowledge and awareness necessary to exercise whatever social pressure they
feel would represent the will of the citizens of that nation.
If citizens are empowered with knowledge of what their respective governments have agreed to, they
themselves will be able to take on the responsibility of enforcing it according to public opinion. A key method
for circulating this knowledge is by establishing an international day of remembrance and recognition. With this
international day, media attention will inform people of the peace agreement, internet sites such as google will
give a history of the meaning of the day, and tweets and facebook posts relating to the themes of the Kellogg-
Briand Pact will become more prevalent. Armed with knowledge, citizens can take on the role of promoting
world peace by holding their governments accountable for compliance with their international agreements.
Thank you for your time,
We all know that there are no winners in war, but what we would never fully understand is the
extent of the sufferings of the victims or casualties of war. We can see what they see, but we would
never think the way they think or feel what they feel. To make the Kellogg-Briand Pact respected and
obeyed is the responsibility of everyone, from the biggest world leader to the smallest student in school.
At the level of world leaders, let there be mutual respect and understanding between presidents. To
say that all presidents should be treated as equals is impossible, but let no top ranking official in any
country publicly declare the position of his country amidst unrest in another country. We have the right
to choose sides based on what we get from intelligence, but there is something very fundamental that
the intelligence may never understand; the mentality of people. In 2008, I experienced my first unrest
in Cameroon. It started as a simple strike, where taxi drivers were protesting the government’s decision
to stop subsidizing the price of petrol. This was a chance for every Cameroonian who wanted a job
and detested the government’s decision to change the constitution to go to the street, so thousands
of people joined the taxi drivers. In the very beginning, we were excited with strike activities like the
burning of tyres on the streets and the closing of public offices. As time went on, the strike began to
degenerate. Elements of the Cameroonian army were dispatched to all big cities. We started to feel
the full impact of the strike. At the time of the strike, I was in high school and living alone. After three
days of strike, all stores were closed! So the protesters started to break into the stores, banks and other
financial institutions. The strike lasted only for five days, but we almost starved to death!!The most
important thing I learnt from the unrest was the fact that in most countries where the president is
hated, all it requires is a small sign of support from a bigger country for one party to set the tone for a
In Syria, it started as a simple strike. Then the great nations gave the tone by choosing sides. The
US, France and the Great Britain started showing support towards the opposition, meanwhile Russia
supported the government. I don’t even know the reason why there is war in Syria today! Maybe it’s
because of corruption or unemployment.
In Libya it was the same thing. The only slide difference here is the fact that there was unilateral
support from the great nations towards the opposition, but it didn’t prevent the outbreak of a civil war.
The question I’m asking is “is Libya better off today than it was with Gadafi?”
If we look critically at what is happening in Ukraine, then we would understand that the protesters
of MAIDAN wanted the EU and the US to support them. It’s the same thing in the east where the
protesters want Russia to support them. Let’s hope it doesn’t degenerate into a civil war. The question
mediators should be asking themselves is “if we succeed to solve the current problem, how shall
Ukrainians live after this?”
In Venezuela, there is still a way to avoid a civil war. I call on the president of the United States to
talk with the other great countries not to choose sides but to look for a way to bring all parties to the
table for dialogue.
In Thailand, there have been violent clashes, but the risk of an outbreak of a civil war is slim because
the international community has not chosen to support the government or the opposition.
Article two of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand pact states that “the settlement or solution of all disputes or
conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall
never be sought except by pacific means”. Let us not denounce wars by choosing sides! Let us condemn
all parties involved in war because they kill innocent people.
Teaching the KBP in schools and letting children know that war is bad is necessary, but letting them
know the real cause of war is even more important. I’m not just seeing this as an opportunity to win
money, but as a way of making the world leaders know that people surfer because of the decisions they
make. What we need in the world is the right to live! We don’t want to keep on being casualties while
the bigger countries try to prove their might. Please Mr. Barack H. Obama we need you to try to bring
some order into the world through sincere dialogue.
How Can We Obey the Law Against War?
“Why are your legs so badly injured?,” I inquired. Laughing, while trying to hide his pain, my
father answered, “I have them because I knew it was going to make you stick around me all
day staring at them.” He was right. My fascination with the human body and its ability to take
different forms made me gaze at his legs all day. Growing up, I always dreamt of becoming a
medical doctor. “I want to be able to play with people’s organs and understand how they really
function,” I used to say. Despite my fascination with the sight, I knew that my father’s injuries
caused him a lot of discomfort. My mother always repeated the story of the time when he was
shot by rubber bullets when he was tried to cross a checkpoint. I was only eleven when I saw my
father in this state. It left a long lasting impact. I am still engrossed at the fact we, human beings,
are able to harm one another, kill a soul, and initiate wars.
Growing up in the midst of conflict in Palestine, I sometimes got into situations that were not
different than my father being shot by a rubber bullet. Having to cross checkpoints from one city
to another, and breathing tear gas from clashes between protesters and Israeli troops were part of
my daily routine. Oddly enough, I even thought that breathing tear gas was a commonality for
people around the world. It was when I left Palestine for the first time in 2010 that I realized that
these things were not only foreign to everybody else, but they were also something they would
Encountering these events made me wonder whether one day, we, as humans will be able to
challenge our brutal ability of starting wars, and work towards a more peaceful world. If you ask
a school child about the year that World War Two started, they are likely to quickly give you
the correct answer. However, if you ask the same child about individuals who made an effort to
prevent wars, or pacts that were signed to make wars illegal, such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact,
they would seldom be able to give you a solid answer.
After the catastrophic death of more than 16 million people during World War I, people around
the world became aware of the real cost. It was important to guarantee that such (mis)use of
mass power would not take place in the future. Peace advocates, such as Nicholas Murray
Butler and James T. Shotwell, assisted the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aristide Briand,
who initiated the Pact. Briand signed a bilateral agreement with the United States to outlaw
wars between the two nations. The agreement came to be known as the Kellogg-Briand Peace
Pact. This April 1927 agreement gained support from President Calvin Coolidge and Secretary
of State Frank B. Kellogg, who suggested inviting other nations to join them in outlawing
war. Initially, fifteen nations signed the pact, and 47 nations soon followed. Among the early
signatories were: France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada. The Kellogg-Briand Pact
contains two Articles. Article I states that the contracting parties solemnly declare that "they
condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it as an
instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.” In Article 2, the contracting
countries agree that the settlement of all disputes with each other "shall never be sought except
Despite the initial optimism, the limitations of the Pact quickly became apparent. In 1931, Japan
invaded Manchuria in northern China. The League of Nations did little about this blunt act of
aggression. It became clear that there were no mechanisms in place to enforce the articles of the
Pact. And when Germany invaded Poland in the fall of 1939, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was all but
Despite its practical failure, one must not completely dismiss the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The spirit
behind the Pact remains very alive. History has proven time and again that people have a lot of
power to fight for peace. After all, it is the same spirit of the Kellogg-Briand Pact that brought an
end to, among other things, wars, slavery, and apartheids.
In order to be able to bring the countries that signed this pact into compliance, the youth should,
first, be aware of its existence. Attending a liberal arts college has given me the opportunity to
meet a lot of passionate people who aspire to work towards preventing wars. I have been part
of various student clubs and organizers whose chapters are working around the world. As an
activist, I could work in a much better capacity by fighting against wars if I knew that there is
a law that makes war illegal. Without knowing about this Pact, activists could hardly hold their
leaders accountable for their decisions to engage in wars. The first step may be to have all the
non-governmental human rights movement, such as Amnesty International, spread awareness
about the Pact. The second step would be to establish a campaign by the leaders of various
non-violent movements to put pressure on the governments who signed the Pact to obey the
law against war. This campaign will include boycott, divestment, and political and economic
sanction. This movement will take place against the government engaging in wars that are not
act of self defense until they comply with international law and human rights. In order to do so,
it is crucial to target citizens, activists, businessmen, political leaders, and government officials
that believe in the need to end the war. After all, these governments are more likely to follow our
demand when they are pressured by their very own constituencies. This strategy has shown to be
successful in the past. Notably, the South African BDS movement mounted enough political and
economical pressure to cause the South African government to end its apartheid regime.
“The Kingdom of God is within man” says the 17th Chapter of St. Luke. The Kingdom of God
is not within one man, or a group of men, but within all men. We, the people, have the power
and responsibility to shape a world without war. Perhaps one day we can live in the world that
Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed their own lives for.
How Can We Obey the Law Against War?
The present times is evident of the increasing number of ‘armed conflicts’ taking place
around the world causing violent deaths of thousands of innocent lives. To mention a
few include: War in Afghanistan (1978-Present), the Somali Civil War 1991, the Islamist
insurgency in Nigeria 2001, War in North West Pakistan 2004, Mexican Drug War 2006,
Egyptian Crisis (2011-present), Syrian Civil War 2011, Central African Republic Conflict
(2012-Present), the South –Sudanese Conflict 2012-2013 and so on and so forth with the list.
This list mentioned above is for the sole purpose of identifying towards which deadly
direction- we as a ‘human race’ are heading and “how can we be called as civilised nations of
the World?” An important moment to pause and think as to “what are we doing?”
An awakening as early as in 1928 was made against War by the “Kellogg –Briand Pact”-
It’s an agreement that ‘outlaws War’. On August 27, 1928, fifteen nations signed the
Peace Pact at Paris realising the need of the hour was to restore peace. Signatories included
France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
South Africa, India, Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy and Japan. Further
an additional forty-seven nations signed the treaty making it acceptable by most of the
established nations in the world.
Can it be rightly said that “The intention to restore peace was present only for those few
moments while signing the treaty by the Heads of different nations and then forgotten, buried
and wiped off from their minds” The Peace Pact was definitely a Milestone Achievement in
the revolution to end war in the world. But despite acquiring such a Masterpiece from Sir
Aristide Briand and Frank B. Kellogg to say-‘No to War just not by Words but by Actions’,
we are still surrounded by wars, conflicts and terror. Nothing has changed in the field of
crimes except the number has been increasing with no stop or full stop.
In such a chaotic situation, it becomes imperative to obey the Law against War for all the
Nations of the World. The question is ‘How can we obey the Law against War’. From an
individual point of view, Peace should start from one’s home; the obedience should come
from refraining to do any actions that will threaten the peace with in the local community
where we live like forming street gangs or rebel groups etc... As individuals, we should take
initiative in spreading the importance of Peace all around and to keep reminding one another
with ‘Let Peace be with you and with all’. By doing these simple practices, we are not only
doing our duties as abiding citizens but also setting example for the governments to end
conflicts in a peaceful manner.
To achieve obedience globally against war, the onus lies on the Governments of each nation-
as without enforceable laws, wars and conflicts cannot be stopped or ceased. Just signing
treaties and pacts are not enough as experienced in the past. It needs the force of law as in
if we commit a crime, we are jailed and penalised. The same applies here, when a country
breaches the very norm of international law that is “to keep peace and not resort to war”, it
is the duty of other nations to impose stringent sanctions against that country and penalise
for instance - by cutting all the foreign relations and supplies to that nation until it restores
peace back in order. These implications will strengthen the very foundation of peace as the
Governments will be aware of the consequences they will face on breach.
Keeping the Peace Pacts like the Kellogg –Briand Pact as the foundation, each nation should
encourage friendly relations with one another and share a common spirit to stand together
as ONE against the outbreak of mass violence in any part of the world. Today, we lack this
unity and togetherness among nations as each nation thinks that it’s not their business to
interfere and that’s the reason there is prolonged violence in many parts of the world for years
together. What’s important to analyse is- innocent lives are killed at the gunpoint, dying
are the common citizens- who elect the governments to safeguard them and protect against
violence and in turn if governments fail to enforce peace then the very fact of making them as
their custodian is in vain.
“No doubt, we are divided on the World Map but we need not live as a divided community,
we have national boundaries to stick to but there is no need to create boundaries/limitations
in our international relations. When each nation thinks the other nation as its friend and share
the common spirit of prosperity, peace and development then we will in true sense succeed in
obeying the laws against war”.
The Kellogg-Briand Pact: A Failed Attempt
The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 made war illegal for the undersigned countries, which
included most countries involved in World War I. The Second World War began less than
a decade later. How could countries so recently dedicated to abolishing war have so soon
forgotten, or ignored, this promise? Upon first reading the Kellogg-Briand Pact I was
shocked by its brevity. The one page of the document consists largely of titles explaining
the authority of the signing heads of state. Thus, the question is not why did these
countries turn their back on this pact but rather how did they ever expect it to work? The
development of a lesson plan for high school history students, or even college and graduate
level peace and conflict resolution students, could be developed from the analysis of the
The first of these shortcomings concerns those who signed and formed the
document. Transitory heads of state signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact with presumably no
consultation to the people living in these nations. Many of the signatories of the pact were
monarchs and all were rather removed from the common people of their nations.
According to Karen Eppler, Cesar Chavez said it is of the most acute importance to the
success of any nonviolent effort that leaders not exploit the working class (364). The
leaders of these nations agreed to end war without consulting the people who fought the
wars on behalf of these same leaders and their policies. The Good Friday, or Belfast,
Agreement signed in 1998 and often considered the official end to the prolonged conflict in
N. Ireland, known as The Troubles, provides an example of Chavez’s insightful statement. It
was not merely signed by heads of state; the people also voted on the treaty. It should be
acknowledged that the Good Friday Agreement is problematic in many ways. The
provisions of this in part people-dictated treaty placed ex-paramilitary leaders in power,
leading diplomatic stalemates as those men engaged in violent conflict during The Troubles
moved their disagreements to the political realm. However, even with its problems, unlike
the non-participatory Kellogg-Briand Pact the Good Friday Agreement has dramatically
decreased violence in N. Ireland.
The Kellogg-Briand Pact also sought to abolish war without attempting to alleviate
human rights issues within undersigned countries. To call for an end of violence on an
international scale it only seems fitting that the countries would also handle structural
violence within their own societal and political systems. The Kellogg-Briand Pact sought to
eradicate war without changing structures in their own countries supporting violence,
which were, to an extent, the same structures supporting oppression of certain people
groups. There was little truthful representation of conditions in some of the countries
defeated in WWI, such as Germany, whose devastated economy due to reparations paid to
France and G. Britain in part allowed Hitler to rise to power. The Kellogg-Briand Pact was
too brief and nothing more than a superficial promise that did not fix infrastructure
conditions to make war less likely.
The brevity of the Kellogg-Briand Pact led to its downfall. It claimed to call
for the eradication of war; however, it never defined war. Because the treaty lacked a
comprehensible and internationally understood definition of war, this, in addition to other
factors, allowed for undersigned countries to participate in World War II. Secretary of State
Cordell Hull, who served as US Secretary of State for all of WWII, did not interpret the
inclusion of all of the undersigned countries involvement in the Second World War as a
violation of the pact. Some countries were exempt from blame because the language of the
treaty ambiguously allowed for self defense. In Hull’s “mind the shoe was on the other
foot . . . the countries entitled to invoke the doctrine of self-defense as excuses for their
conduct were not the invaders” (Hyde 118). The war was begun by Japan and Italy, both
countries that were a part of the pact. Thus, we can assume that some of the countries did
not take the pact seriously from the beginning. Even among those given the benefit of the
doubt, that is those that it can be gratuitously assumed had taken it seriously, interpreted
their actions as defensive—arming themselves in an unstable world. As the treaty included
no section for how to properly handle aggression, how could war not have been expected
To call for the reinstatement of a failed treaty is foolish. Instead, examining why the
Kellogg-Briand Pact failed and attempting to draw up a more successful treaty in the future
would more likely ensure future peace. I would argue that, if not entirely, the Kellogg-
Briand Pact was largely an effort on the part of the superpowers of the world alleviate any
ill will and fears following World War I. Regardless of the intentions behind the pact, its
failures and shortcomings cannot and should not be ignored. Instead of feeling an
overwhelming and ill-placed sense of disappointment because the Kellogg-Briand Pact
failed, we ought to examine its shortcomings and learn from its mistakes when creating
future treaties and pacts.
Eppler, Karen. “Transforming Power in the Labor Movement—Cesar Chavez.” Holmes and
Holmes, Robert L., and Gan, Barry L., eds. Nonviolence in Theory and Practice. Eds. Barry L.
Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc, 2012. Print.
Hyde, Charles Cheney. “Secretary Hull on the Kellogg-Briand Pact.” American Society of
International Law. 35.1 (1941): 117-118. Print.
Cooperation for the Prevention of Aggression.” American Society of International Law. 26. 1
(1932): 113-114. Print.
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