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Essay on Peace: Need and Importance of Peace

Essay on Peace: Need and Importance of Peace!

The issue of war and peace has always been a focal issue in all periods of history and at all levels relations among nations. The concern of the humankind for peace can be assessed by taking into account the fact that all religions, all religious scriptures and several religious ceremonies are committed to the cause of peace and all these advocate an elimination of war. The Shanti Path recited by the Hindus, the sermons of Pope and the commands of all the holy scriptures of the Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and all other communities hold out a sacred commitment to peace.

Yet the international community fully realized the supreme importance of the virtue of peace against the evil of war only after having suffered the most unfortunate and highly destructive two World Wars in the first half of the 20th century. The blood soaked shreds of humanity that lay scattered in several hundred battle grounds, particularly on the soils of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cried for peace, peace and peace on the earth.

The UN Charter and International Peace and Security:

The human consciousness then rallied in the Charter of the United Nations to affirm. “We the people of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life time has brought untold sorrow to humankind…. and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security….. have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.”

Since 1945, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, several international associations and institutions, international peace movements, global and national level human rights movements and in fact all members of the international community have been consistently and strongly advocating the need for the preservation and promotion of peace against war.

In contemporary times, the most urgent and important international objective has been to preserve protect and defend peace against terrorism and terrorist organizations like A1 Qacda, Talibans, and other enemies of peace.

How International Community has been trying to secure peace:

Through international peace keeping under the aegis of the United Nations through the development and use of international law; creation of more international and regional institutions committed to promote peace, promotion of friendly cooperation for development among the member countries; popularization of peaceful means of conflict-resolution, institutionalization of relations among nations; integration of international community through strengthening of human consciousness in favour of peace against war; and by enhancing the ability for crisis-management, the humankind has been trying to secure peace against war.

(i) Globalization i.e. by encouraging the free flow of people goods, information services and knowledge;

(ii) Establishment of non-official people to people socio-economic-cultural relations;

(iii) Organisation of international peace movements against nuclear weapons, armament race, militarisation, and environmental pollution;

(iv) Launching of special drives for elimination of such evils as apartheid, poverty, illiteracy; ill-health, hunger, disease, inequalities, tyranny and terrorism; and

(v) organised attempts at environment protection and protection of Human Rights of all, the international community has been making meaningful attempts to limit the chances of war.

One elementary way of defining peace has been to say that peace is absence of war. This is, however, a very narrow view of peace. No doubt absence of war is the first condition of peace, yet peace is not merely an absence of war. It is in reality a condition characterised by peaceful, cooperative and harmonious conduct of international relations with a view to secure all-round sustainable development of the people of the world.

Nevertheless, since absence of war is the first condition of peace, one of the major concerns of all scholars and statesmen has been to formulate and follow the principles and devices needed for securing this primary objective. The cold war that kept the world preoccupied during 1945-90, indirectly secured this objective in a negative way by developing a balance of terror in international relations.

While it was successful in preventing a global war, it failed to prevent local wars and in fact gave rise to several tensions, stresses, strains and crises in international relations. The international community had to work very hard for keeping the conflicts and wars limited. It, however, successfully exhibited a welcome and positive ability in the sphere of crisis-management.

In fact, till today there have been present several hindrances in way of securing a stable, healthy and enduring peace. Fortunately, the final end of cold war came in the last decade of the 20th century and the world found herself living is an environment characterised by a new faith and commitment to peace, peaceful co-existence, peaceful conflict-resolution, liberalisation, cooperation for development and attempts at sustainable development.

The people began focusing their attention on the need for the protection of human rights of all, protection of environment and securing of a real and meaningful international integration. However several negative factors, ethnic conflict, ethnic violence, ethnic wars, terrorism in its several dimensions, neo-colonialism, hegemony n-hegemony and the like kept on acting as big hindrances.

The need to secure peace by controlling these evils continues to be a primary aim of international community. Crises have been repeatedly coming and these are bound to keep coming. This makes it very urgent for the humankind to prepare and act for managing crises through collective efforts and by the use of several devices.

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War And Peace By Leo Tolstoy

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Then novel War and Peace was written by a famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy in 1865. The novel describes the war with Napoleon in which many countries were involved such as Russia, Austrian, Prussia, Spain, Sweden, and Britain. The novel mainly focuses on Russia. It reflects the different views and participation in the war of Russian aristocracy and peasants and also shows Tolstoy’s negative viewpoint on the war.

Showing the war, Tolstoy describes Napoleon’s attack on Russia, the battle of Borodino, the slow retrieval of the Russian army, the conquest of Moscow by Napoleon, the fire in Moscow, and the retrieval of Napoleon’s army during a deadly winter. Naopleon had to retrieve from Russia under attacks by Russian peasants and horsemen on those who fell behind. His army also sufferes from cold and hunger, since the Russians destroyed all food supplies. The takeover of Moscow by Napoleon proved to be useless, and in the long run, destroyed a large part of his army.

Alongside with these historical events, Tolstoy describes the different classes of Russian society in terms of their participation in the war and what kind of an impact war had on their lives. In the beginning of the novel, the Russian aristocratic class, which was in the czar’s circle, wanted Russia to participate in the war. They wanted a quick victory and pride for the Russian nobility. They did not anticipate that the war would destroy homes, agriculture, and take many Russian lives. This class is shown in Anna Pavlova Sharer’s salon, with it’s upper class aristocracy, who talk only in French, viewing the Russian language as uncivilized and useful only for peasants. They adopted French culture and wear French style clothing, and at the same time they want to fight Napoleon. However, the majority of this class doesn’t want to participate themselves in the war, but want to win the war with the hands of the peasants. These aristocrats, despite their high education and power, will do nothing to help win the war. They live like parasites on the body of Russia’s society. This is how Tolstoy describes this class in general, but he also depicts two representatives of this upper class, Andrew Bolkonsky and Pierre Bisuhov, who were the more intellectual ones, and whose lives and views of war and life changed as the result of the war.

Andrew was interested in a military career, and wasn’t completely satisfied with the czar, while Pierre wasted his life on alcohol – his everyday activity.

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Depicting the Rostov family, who were also wealthy nobles, but were not in the czar’s circle and lived in rural parts of Russia, Tolstoy showed a typical Russian family who were devoted to their country and Russian traditions. All of Tolstoy’s sympathy is on their side and he presents them in a positive way. They sing Russian folklore, which the higher aristocrats would not dream of doing. Depicting this class, Tolstoy describes simple and eternal problems such as birth, love, forgiveness, and death. War hurt these people the most. They lost everything: hoses, livestock, and serfs. The loss of their serfs was very hard to come by, since they became very close to them. The women from this class served in hospitals and became nurses, like Natasha Rostova did, or hid wounded soldiers in their house from the French army. Men from this class organized their own little armies of peasants and fought with guerilla warfare when the French army was retreating, as captain Dolohov did. According to Tolstoy, these people played a bigger role in war and were more devoted to their nation than the aristocratic class in the czar’s circle.

According to Tolstoy, the main national characteristics are in Russian peasants. He shows this through these people, who hate war, but are forced to participate because the have no other choice. They show real heroism during war. Captain Tushin and a soldier, Timohin, give their lives to save their army.

Showing historical figures such as Napoleon and Kutuzov, Tolstoy opposes the views of the aristocratic class in the czar’s circle. This class didn’t like Kutuzov, who became the general of the Russian army. They thought that he was too simple minded and his lifestyle was too close to a lifestyle of a peasant. They did not think he could fight the “Great Napoleon”. At the same time they were amazed at Napoleon’s victories in Europe, and were in awe of Napoleon. Despite Tolstoy being a member of this class, his view is totally the opposite, he hated Napoleon and loved Kutuzov. In the novel he reflects the simple life of Kutuzov’s soldiers, who trusted their lives to him. The Russian people believed in Kutuzov, and because of his strategic tactics such as giving up Moscow in order to save the Russian army, helped Russia become victorious in the war and leave Napoleon empty handed. Tolstoy hated Napoleon because Tolstoy felt that it was wrong what Napoleon did 1799 in Turkey; killing 4000 people that surrendered and were promised life to by him. T.olstoy also describes a moment when Napoleon left his army to die and took just a small part of the army to retreat from Moscow. Tolsoy shows this hate of Napoleon through a dialogue between two characters in the novel.

The novel also reflects Tolstoy’s views on women emancipation. He opposed it, and thought that the role of women was to be a loyal wife and mother, and live in the interest of her husband. He shows this in Pierre and Natasha’s marriage. He made their marriage ideal from his point of view.

Tolstoy thought of War and Peace as his greatest novel. The historical events of the novel were real, and the characters reflected the people of that time. Tolstoy brought forward the main social ideals of his time; the 3 major classes of society and their references to the war with Napoleon, women emancipation, and view of society to historical figures such as Napoleon and Kutuzov. Tolstoy doesn’t hide his negative feelings to the social class that belonged in the czar’s circle, and likes the lower classes. He is fascinated by the courage and deep patriotism of the Russian peasants. He also hates war, because it destroys and changes lives.

War and Peace Essay Questions

What is Tolstoy's view of history?

Tolstoy believes that history is caused by infinite minute decisions, and that the people we normally recognize as the great decision-makers of history, like Napoleon Bonaparte, are no more important than common servants on the home front. Because individuals cannot change history, historical events are inevitable and predestined. However, because that predestination comes from an infinity of individual choices and decisions, it has an uneasy relationship with free will. The novel takes an implicit stand at its close that we must choose to do our best to live morally while not attempting to control the larger forces of history.

Discuss the misconceptions that the characters have about war at the beginning of the novel. How are they proven wrong by later events?

Nikolai Rostov initially believes that war will be a romantic opportunity for glory. He is disillusioned in his first battle, although he renews some of his romanticism when he sees the tsar. However, he quickly loses his illusions about war again when he nearly kills a French dragoon. Prince Andrei also finds that war is not what he hoped, although his illusions were somewhat different. He wanted an easy escape from Petersburg and his unhappy family life, and instead he found a complex political landscape that was every bit as fraught and unpleasant as the one he faced in Petersburg society. Overall, the novel seems to suggest that war has a universal power to force us to confront our socially-conditioned beliefs and feelings. In its rawness and violence, it is both a part of us and something we often despise about ourselves.

Explain Tolstoy’s view of morality. How does the novel’s plot illustrate his views?

Tolstoy admires pious, ascetic people like Princess Marya Bolkonsky, but he also suggests that people should pursue worldly happiness. He seems to imply that this is a moral imperative and not just an individual priority. Marya's moral development consists not of becoming more pious, but of reconciling her piety and altruism with a healthy family life. Sonya never learns to balance her own needs with those of the people around her. Because of this, she faces a miserable, empty life at the end of the novel. Both Pierre and Andrei constantly battle against this conflict between spiritual and material life, and Pierre's final happiness comes, like Marya's does, from finding spiritual happiness within a material world he can never totally renounce.

Analyze the novel's portrayal of marriage.

For much of the novel, Tolstoy is cynical about marriage. In a telling scene, Prince Nikolai Bolkonsky advises Prince Andrei that all marriages are as unhappy as his union with Lise Meinen was. Likewise, Pierre marries Hélène impulsively for superficial reasons, and regrets it almost immediately. Tolstoy views happy marriage as an elusive goal that can only be achieved by marrying for sincere feeling rather than for money or beauty. However, even in cases like this, the war-like machinations of society can often poison our beliefs and feelings. In the end, marriage and relationships seem a source of great anxiety for Tolstoy.

How does Tolstoy portray Napoleon Bonaparte? Why does he depict him this way?

Tolstoy portrays Napoleon as charismatic but effete, as competent but not a genius. This dovetails with his criticism of the 'great men' theory of history: Napoleon is a flawed human with strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. The perspective on the historical ruler is interesting. Sometimes he is presented with objective distance, as a force on the events to come. Other times, Tolstoy examines the man's psyche to find complications like those discussed above. Again, he is able to both present the human who influenced history, while downplaying the possibility that this one man was solely responsible for the carnage often attributed to him.

How does the epilogue of War and Peace relate to the novel’s main plot?

Volume IV ends abruptly with Natasha contemplating her marriage to Pierre. The epilogue offers some closure to the plot by portraying the characters eight years later, but more importantly, it explains the philosophy that underpins the story's plot and structure. It is important to remember that Tolstoy did not consider War and Peace a novel, and felt that he had to justify his arguments about history and explain directly how his beliefs pertained to the story. Considering that the novel was serialized, it is possible Tolstoy also wanted to make sure that his overarching purpose – which helps give cohesion to an otherwise sprawling work – was clear to readers. That is, he does not want us merely to think of it as a romance, but rather as a story of romance and more that attempts to capture the movement of history as a whole.

Discuss Pierre’s moral development over the course of the novel.

Pierre's lengthy quest for maturity and spiritual satisfaction is one of the novel's main plots. From the beginning, he is a spiritual soul who attempts to find fulfillment either in society or out of it. He seeks moral renewal from a variety of sources: pacifism, Freemasonry, poverty, glory in battle, and more. As he grows, he tries more and more to renounce the society that does not accept him, and falls more and more into these alternatives. For instance, he becomes a more devout Freemason than those who initiated him. However, he is never able to renounce the physical world, and keeps returning to his vices of women and liquor. In his imprisonment, Pierre discovers the virtue in simplicity, and from this develops a simple faith in God that neither renounces the material world nor delves into it. Through his years of contemplation and searching, he finally learns that happiness does not come from the search but instead from steadfast faith in God.

Analyze Natasha’s various relationships with men. What do they show about her character?

With each romantic relationship, Natasha shows more and more agency. Her first relationship with Boris Drubetskoy seems to be an arrangement of convenience, and she waits passively for Boris to break up with her when she realizes she is no longer interested in him. Similarly, she needs her mother's help to reject Captain Denisov's marriage proposal. By the time she meets Anatole Kuragin, she is willing to take her fate into her own hands, at least enough to elope with him (although someone else is still controlling the situation – in this case, Anatole and Dolokhov). By the end of the novel, Natasha is in full control of her relationship with Pierre; she enters it and conducts it according to her own free will.

Does Tolstoy believe that individuals have free will? Why or why not?

Although Tolstoy argues that history is predestined, he still has faith in individual free will. He reconciles these apparently contradictory viewpoints by explaining that the course of history is determined by infinite small choices, freely made. He adds that God reconciles the course of history with free will, and as long as one has faith in God, the contradiction between the two isn't a significant intellectual problem.

Compare Pierre's behavior at the battle of Borodino with his behavior in occupied Moscow. How does he change? How does he stay the same?

At both Borodino and Moscow, Pierre serves as a Don Quixote-like figure, who wanders through important events without fully realizing their significance. In doing so, he serves as a vehicle for the author's critique of the situation. At Borodino, Pierre's naïveté about the conditions of war highlights the battle's absurdity and violence. In Moscow, his privileged background again serves as a relief against which the city's deprivation is especially stark. However, in Moscow he is more mature and actively tries to help those around him, whereas at Borodino he is only concerned about glory for himself. When he is willing to so quickly abandon his glory-driven quest to kill Napoleon in favor of helping suffering people in the city, we see how suffering has led him to choose selfless morality over self-satisfactions. This step prefigures his ultimate acceptance of simple faith as the path to happiness.

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    • Volume II, Part 5
    • Volume III, Part 1
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    • Volume III, Part 3
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War and Peace Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for War and Peace is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

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I’m sorry, unless your questions are posted on the forum (separately), we will be unable to help you.

Tolstoy might be taking some artistic license with the date. It was September 7th.

Study Guide for War and Peace

War and Peace study guide contains a biography of Leo Tolstoy, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

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War and Peace essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

E-Text of War and Peace

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Essay on War and Peace

It is indeed a paradox when the war mongers say that they are fighting a war in order that peace may prevail. This has ever been the claim of all wars.

The World War I of 1914-18 ended with the establishment of the League of Nations — the purpose of which was to explore the possibilities how further wars could be avoided.

But in spite of all good intentions the fury of another war could not be abated and the World War II — deadlier than the I, was waged and fought and when that somehow ended, the United Nations Organization was formed as a forum to find ways and means for a lasting Universal Peace.

But, somehow, in spite of all pious intentions the war clouds still hover over the horizons in this part of the world or that and permanent peace seems just a dream worthy to be fulfilled but not fully fulfilled.

When there is a war and when it ends, one power is the victor and the other the vanquished. The victor revels in glory and the vanquished wreaths in pain, Even the victors have hundreds and thousands of homes destroyed; women rendered widows, children rendered orphans and the vanquished have still many more calamitous after effects to suffer. It is only some territories and lands that are won and lost and that alone are the gains that war achieves.

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The other gain of war, if that could be called a gain at all, is that the victor gets regarded as a great power, feared and awed by others.

Alexander the Great, was a great conqueror and conquered countries after countries; the Romans spread their empire on large tracts of land; Tamurlaine got the renown of having ravaged countries after countries to bring under his sway; Mahmud Ghazni, attacked India seventeen times only to carry cart and camel loads of treasures and wealth; Ashok fought a bloody battle in Kalinga; Akbar was faced with the relentless encounters with Rana Pratap.

Napoleon and Bismarck came to be regarded as great soldiers; — all these are names in history that fought and fought only to vanquish foes and gain territories or loot the riches. But with what results? Wars cause havoc in human life; they destroy the finer sensibilities of human nature and arouse hatred, jealousies; crooked conspiracies and such other base instincts of human nature.

H.G. Wells has rightly pointed out ‘Hundreds and Thousands of men uniformly dressed, carrying diverse deadly weapons go to the theatre of war, killing those whom they do not know and who have done them no wrong.

The World War II brought about the horrors of devastation in the form of the dropping of the atom bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima turning the towns into filthy rubble and rendering men, women and children either dead or maimed for life. Only America could claim to have emerged into a great power. This was the gain of this war.

War wastes the resources of a country, those resources which could better have been applied for the good use of human welfare. It drains away all those means of energy which could have helped in establishing flourishing industries; it would devastate those lands which could have seen verdurous crops growing and giving to the general populace plenty of food.

The mind of men, during war, remains overshadowed with a sense of insecurity and danger and no constructive thinking could ever get a chance to flourish. Mankind sees the worst of human nature during a war-except some heroism and some exceptional valour on the part of some soldiers. The overall loss in the sphere of human nature is far greater than the overall gain.

But when a nation enjoys peace, there are gains all around. The wealth of the nation is saved to be put to good use in the welfare of the people; projects of general welfare get launched; art, architecture, literature all thrive only during peace.

Chandra Gupta Maurya was a great warrior and could face even the forces of the great conqueror, Alexander the Great, but could not have the great intellectual gems in his court as the Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty could have. This was only because the Gupta period saw a reign of peace and the mind of men found the suitable atmosphere to thrive and to think.

So long that Akbar kept fighting battles for a long period of his reign; nothing much could be achieved but when peace prevailed thereafter during his rule, he built the Agra Fort, the Fatehpur Sikri and he had in his court the great intellectuals and the great thinkers and that was the golden period of his reign. Could Taj Mahal have been built by Shah Jahan if he had remained engaged in warfare?

The Elizabethan Age became the golden age of ‘literature only when peace prevailed after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The English established their sway beyond their territories and when all wars were over the Victorian Age saw peace prevail and science, industry, ”treasure, democracy — there was an all round development on all fronts in English history.

India today is required to divert a very sizeable part of the nation’s budget in defending its frontiers. She had to spend 600 crores over the recent Kargil war, Pakistan stands completely depleted in its economy and the people there are suffering a miserable life. If the two countries had been at peace all these resources could well have been used and utilized for the people which could have brought a vibrant smile on the faces of so many India won the Kargil war; the country’s honour was saved and the heroism of her soldiers proved but at what tremendous cost. The defense preparedness is costing India very dear; but there is no escape so long as war clouds hover over the horizons of the Himalayan border.

A state of peace puts the mind of the common man at peace. It is such a mind which can think new thoughts, plan new projects, discover the undiscovered and invent for the welfare of the people.

Philosophy, art, literature — these are the permanent treasurers of human civilization — can prosper and flourish only when the mind is without fear when the baser instincts of hatred, jealously, discord stand eliminated from human mind.

What are more valuable and lasting — the victories of war or the victories of peace? — Let the saner minds everywhere on all parts of the globe think, plan and act. This very world can turn into heaven if peace prevails but that should be the general perception — not only perception but action based on that.

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