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War and Social Distress

Images of the Enemy
  • Robert W. Rieber
Part of the Path in Psychology book series (PATH)

Abstract

Though it is possible to think of war in terms of purely objective aims, as the continuation of diplomacy by other means, as Clausewitz’s famous phrase has it, “War is inconceivable without a clearly defined image of the enemy.” States at war may justify their strategic interests with rationales derived from current social and historical conditions. But the sheer aggressiveness of war, the use of unlimited force in the pursuit of those strategic objectives, both requires and engenders a deep-seated sense of enmity between participants. A battlefield without enemies cannot exist.1

Keywords

Emotional Contagion American Foreign Policy Social Distress Community Feeling Death Instinct 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    It may be of some value to remember Nietzsche’s observations on war and peace: And perhaps the great day will come when a people, distinguished by wars and victories and by the highest development of a military order and intelligence, and accustomed to make the heaviest sacrifices for these things, will exclaim of its own free will, “We break the sword, and will smash its entire military establishment down to its lowest foundations. Rendering oneself unarmed when one has been the best armed, out of a height of feeling that this is the means to a real peace, which must always rest on a peace of mind: whereas the so-called armed peace, as it now exists in all countries, is the absence of peace of mind. One trusts neither oneself nor one’s neighbor and, half from hatred, half from fear, does not lay down arms. Rather perish than hate and fear, and twice rather perish than make oneself hated and feared—this must someday become the highest maxim for every single commonwealth, too. (The Wanderer and His Shadow, p. 204)Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Rieber
    • 1
  1. 1.John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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