War and Peace

It might seem as if violence is an unstoppable force, but surprisingly there’s also great power in peace. A ‘peace warrior’ is person who fights for peace and justice without using violence – and when peace warriors join together it’s known as ‘people power’.

The Evidence

In time of conflict, it’s often argued that there is no alternative to military action – but research shows that non-violent alternatives can be more effective.

Between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts.

Erica Chenoweth, Maria J Stephan (Why Civil Resistance Works)

(click charts to enlarge)

1. The % success rates and failure rates of 323 large nonviolent and violent resistance campaigns between 1900 and 2006 (graph adapted from Chenoweth with permission):


2: World Military Spending: $1747 billion a year. Most wars happen in poor countries – a tiny fraction of the military budget would provide food, education and health care for those who need it.

World-military-expenditure-1988-2013 copy

Image courtesy Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: www.sipri.org

3.  Countries with the highest military spending:

The-share-of-world-military-expenditure-of-the-15-states-with-the-highest-expenditure-in-2013 copy

Images 2 and 3 courtesy Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: www.sipri.org

Find Out More:

198 Methods of Nonviolent Action (Albert Einstein Institution) 

Nobel Peace Prize Winners

A Force More Powerful by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall

Sophie Scholl, The Woman Who Defied Hitler by Frank McDonough

We Will Not Cease by Archibald Baxter

Peace Quotes

You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change. – Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird)

It is odd that we can accept the need for courage to do battle with an enemy, but not the courage to stand bare-breasted before an enemy’s guns. -A C Grayling (The Reason of Things)

Love your enemies.- Jesus (Gospel of Matthew 5:24)

For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love. -Buddha

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. -Martin Luther King Jr

Peace may sound simple — one beautiful word — but it requires everything we have, every quality, every strength, every dream, every high ideal. – Yehudi Menuhin

Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed. – UNESCO

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education.- Maria Montessori

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. -The 14th Dalai Lama

It is the great challenge of our time: how to achieve justice — with struggle, but without war.- Howard Zinn

If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself. -Thomas Merton (The Root Of War Is Fear)

For us to struggle (the forces being so unequal) must appear insane. They have millions of money and millions of obedient soldiers; we have only one thing, but that is the most powerful thing in the world: Truth. -Leo Tolstoy

…history is full of small acts that changed the world in surprising ways. -Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark)

Expenditures for defence have risen to mountainous proportions. The nations have believed that greater armaments will cast out fear, but they have produced greater fear.- Martin Luther King Jr.

Of course the people don’t want war. But … it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger. – Göring (Nazi Leader)

Violence brings only temporary victories; violence, by creating more social problems than it solves, never brings permanent peace. -Martin Luther King Jr.

Peace Videos

1. Malala Yousafzai (17 years old): Nobel Peace Prize speech, 2014

Malala speaks powerfully for children, education and peace.

2. Martin Luther King Jr.’s great anti-war speech is more relevant than ever today. Excerpts from his sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967:

3. The Fallen Of World War Two: a stunning animation showing the effects of war.

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.