U.S. History/world war I


can you simultaneously prepare for war and peace?

its an essay question and i'm not sure how to elaborate on it.
all i got so far is that peace is an almost impossible thing to reach.

Hi Alicia,

Generally speaking, peace requires the cooperation of your neighbors.  If another country wants to go to war with yours and you cannot negotiate or settle, your choices are war or surrender.

In international relations, it is conventional wisdom that the best way to keep the peace is to prepare for war.  By that, they mean that if you have a very powerful military but do not threaten others, other countries will leave you in peace.  If they do not perceive you as a threat of attacking them, and they realize if they attack you have the defenses to do great harm to them, it is in their self interest to maintain peaceful relations.  

This has worked will for some countries, notably Switzerland, which has not been at war for over 500 years, despite all their neighbors going to war many times during that time.  Nearly every Swiss citizen receives military training and maintains weaponry to defend the country.  Yet at the same time they maintain neutrality and refuse to threaten any other country.  This has worked well for them.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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