History is full of war all over the world. Often, one war leads to another, but sometimes, a war can end in a peace that lasts for a long time. What is the best way to end a conflict and get peace?
By studying how people acted in past wars, maybe we can learn how to make peace.
Wars often stop because people get tired of fighting – for a while. Often people don’t become friends, and so the core conflict doesn’t go away.
The most famous modern example of this is World War I. This was a clash between many nations, but it boiled down to the Allies (France, Britain, and Russia) versus the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary).
Germany lost that war, but the country wasn’t beaten. Kaiser Wilhelm II gave up and ordered his troops back home. Ordinary Germans had lost money in the war. On top of that, the Triple Entente demanded a lot of money after the war was over. Many Germans were angry and felt that the war had ended unfairly. This helped the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis to power only 15 years later.
In 1939, World War II started between Germany and the Allies, with the U.S. joining the Allies. It was a different war, but the conflict had started long ago, with World War I.
World War II ended much worse for Germany than the first war. In Japan, the United States dropped nuclear bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Hand of Friendship
Germany and Japan were defeated. After World War I, the Allies got revenge by making Germany suffer. But after World War II, America didn’t seek revenge on its enemies. It instead helped rebuild both Germany and Japan. The result has been 75 years of peace.
The Germans and Japanese were offered friendship and this led to cooperation and close ties.
Bullies target those they think are weak – one way to stop this is to refuse to put up with their demands. Standing up to the bullies, as the Allies did against the Nazis in WWII, can be the first step – but being the bigger person can also involve making amends. After all, bullies may be acting out of hurt pride or other problems, as Germany did after WWI.
No one bullies the strong, but nobody wants to be left on their own in the schoolyard – especially not once the hand of friendship has been honestly offered.