• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Medieval Concept of the Just War Applied to the Boer War (1899-1902)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Medieval Concept of the Just War Applied to the Boer War (1899-1902) According to medieval theologians, namely St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, for a war to be deemed as just it must fulfill five conditions. The first of these conditions was that the war must be declared by the governments of the nations involved. The next condition was that the war not be an act of aggression: a war must only be an act of defense. Thirdly, the losses and sacrifice made by a nation during a conflict must not be greater than the predicted gain of the war. The fourth condition was that excessive force must not be used: the goal in the just war is to repel an enemy's attack, not obliterate the enemy. Lastly, discrimination must be made between soldiers and civilians, with the latter being spared during wartime. The first condition, which demands that a war be declared by the governments involved, was unquestionably fulfilled. ...read more.

Middle

"The Tea- Time War", as it was commonly called, was to be a sweeping imperial victory that would boost Imperial morale as well as fill the coffers of the Empire with South African gold and diamonds. The earlier British disasters of Liang's Nek, Majuba, and the Jameson Raid seemed to have been overlooked and the British obviously thought that this would be a minimum expenditure, maximum return war. The Boers as well seemed reasonably confident about the war. Not having suffered a defeat from the British since 1884 at Boomplatz, and indeed having triumphed over them three times since, they were fairly certain their superior tactics would carry through a Boer victory. In terms of return for expenditure, remaining autonomous in the land that they felt was given to them by God was ample return for any expenditure. Barring the opening months of the war, in which British troops had not all arrived in South Africa, the British were always numerically superior to the Boers. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Boer War was, according to the medieval conception, a just war for the Boers, but not for the British. The Boers respected each condition as stipulated by St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. The same cannot be said of the British Empire. Allegations that their aggression was only to defend the rights of the Uitlanders were nothing more that a feeble attempt to disguise Imperialist greed. The force used towards the end of the war was disproportionate, and the neutrality of civilians was completely disregarded. Thus applied to the Boer War, the medieval concept of the just war tells us that according to its conditions, the Boers fought a just war, whereas the British did not. 1 Generally in order to gain international sympathy and support and/or justify any military action. 2 Afrikaans name for British immigrants to the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. 3 According to Milner in his jingoist "Helot Dispatch". 4 By attempting to force a 5-year residency for Uitlander citizenship on the Transvaal government instead of the 14-year residency it took for Transvaal citizenship. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How far was the Boer War, 1899-1902, a turning point in the history of ...

    5 star(s)

    The humanitarian cause behind the war disappeared, and with it so did the popularity for and support of the war. This was exacerbated by the increased use of Chinese labourers in South African gold mines in 1904. This contradicted the reasons used to justify the war, as they came to

  2. "To what extent did the Boer War change attitudes to Empire in Britain?

    His appointee Milner's influence stretched everywhere and he 'stirred the pot'. He placed pressure on the Transvaal government and stretched them to their limits. He did not believe that they were capable of war and greatly underestimated them. Paul Kruger, president of Transvaal saw war as 'inevitable' because his attempts at regaining peace were insufficient for Milner.

  1. The Sieges of Ladysmith, Mafeking, and Kimberley

    that as the reinforcements not yet arrived, Cape Colony would be unable to defend itself against the Boers if they staged a united attack. Until these crucial reinforcements came, it was up to Baden-Powell to bluff the Boers into slowing down and wasting troops.

  2. To what extent was the adoption of a scorched earth policy after 1900 by ...

    Thus, although the clause may be seen by some as an attempt to legitimize the actions of the British, it could also be seen, and far more likely, that when not in the field itself, that chivalry and the notion of "a gentleman's war" was very much in place in the war.

  1. Examine the main premises behind Eisenhower's concept of containment

    Eisenhower was adamant not to rage another land-war like that of Korea again, it was unthinkable that the United States should secure an armistice in Korea and then send US troops to fight another local War somewhere else. It would not only be hypocritical, but it was both costly in

  2. Post-Cold War Realities

    Similar to Iran, Moscow also fears conflict spillover and aspires to retain some control over what was once its undisputed sphere of influence. In the face of encroaching Western and U.S. influence in the region, Russia and Iran?s mutual goals and priorities conveniently fall into line.

  1. Was Canadian participation in the Boer

    They did not want to disturb the Britain-Canada relationships. All in all, Canadian participation in war was undeniably unnecessary. There were already many existing issues between French and English Canadians, but as the war broke out, French and English Canadian relationships got further dreadful.

  2. To what extent do the origins of the South African War (1899 - 1902) ...

    These 'Boer Republics' protected their Protestant identity in their constitutions and were determined to exclude Africans from voting in their elections. By 1855 the British government had recognized the independence of these two countries. However this did not stop Anglo-Boer relations remaining tense.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work