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Was the Second World War a Just War or a Holy War?

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Was the Second World War a Just War or a Holy War? There are several factors to be considered when discussing whether the Second World War was a Just War or a Holy War. Thomas Aquinas's Just War Theory consists of six criteria or conditions which a war must fulfil to be considered justified. Firstly, the war must be started and controlled by the authority of the state or the ruler as war's outcomes would involve the people of the whole country and hence their views must be taken into account and discussed in the Parliament. In the case of the Second World War, it was the critical decision of the British government to declare war on Germany for her blatant aggression over weaker European countries. Therefore, the Second World War fulfils the first criteria as the government was the authority of the state which considered it was necessary to start a war for the protection of European people from Hitler's exploits. Moving on, the second condition of the Just War Theory states that there must be a just cause for the outbreak of war and those attacked must deserve it. ...read more.


In addition, the war must be the last resort when all the other ways of solving the problem have been tried and failed. Suitably, before declaring war on Germany, Britain and France followed the Appeasement policy of agreeing to reasonable demands of Germany to prevent war, trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement. However, they realised that if they kept turning a "blind eye" on Hitler's belligerent exploits over weaker European powers, the invasion of France followed be Britain would soon be his targets as he would take for granted that Britain would not be able to defend such a large empire if she would have to fight Germany's armed forces in Europe. This is one of the main reasons why Britain and France considered it just to start a war with Germany. Unsurprisingly, the Theory clarifies that most of a war's aims have to be fulfilled and that the good gained by the victory must be greater than the evil which led to war. However, this wasn't necessarily the case in the outcomes of the Second World War as although Soviet forces pushed German forces out ...read more.


This wouldn't have destroyed millions of innocent lives in those regions. Predictably, the Second World War also failed to satisfy this aim of Aquinas's Just War Theory. On the other hand, a Holy War can be described as a war fought between two different religious groups of people for the preservation of their faith. It can also involve one religious group of people attempting to convert the other of their religion. Obviously, this wasn't the issue at the start of World War Two in 1939 as France and Britain only intended to protect Europe from Hitler's exploits but didn't endeavour to convert the Germans into any religious group as such. However, the religious purposes were apparent in the later stages of the War as 6 million Jews were tormented and killed by the Nazis which had discriminating views based on Hitler's prejudice and dislike of the Jewish community. In conclusion, I believe the Second World War can be classified as a Just War to a much larger extent than a Holy War. This is because it satisfies most of the Just War Theory whereas the religious discrimination was not measured a major issue until later on in the war, in the Holocaust. ...read more.

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