views updated May 18 2018


Berenice A. Carroll

"Peacemaking" appears to be a commonplace term, easily understood and frequently used in public discourse and in peace movements. The Internet reports more than 50,000 entries containing the term "peacemaking." On closer examination, it is much more elusive. Dictionaries define it tautologically as "the making of peace"; standard encyclopedias do not recognize it as a topic for separate entry (though it does appear in two encyclopedias of peace); and there is surprisingly little on "peacemaking" in academic texts on international politics.

Where it does appear, the term "peacemaking" is used primarily in four senses:

  1. Settlement or termination of a war or dispute by explicit agreement among the belligerent parties or others ("peace settlements").
  2. The process of transition from hostility to amity, or from war to peace ("ending hostilities and preferably also resolving the active issues of war"), with or without explicit agreement.
  3. The development of procedures and institutions to facilitate conflict resolution, or termination or prevention of wars or conflicts ("pacific settlement of disputes").
  4. Efforts to create the foundations or conditions for lasting peace ("peacebuilding").


The number of scholarly works explicitly devoted to peacemaking has been relatively small as compared to studies of war and its causes, but there is now a substantial literature available to scholars and practitioners. Until about 1985, almost all of the scholarly studies devoted to peacemaking limited their concern to peace settlements, particularly settlements of interstate wars by explicit agreement. Since that time, the focus has shifted to related topics such as conflict resolution and prevention, preventive and multitrack diplomacy, humanitarian intervention, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. In addition, a large body of work has emerged that examines or applies these concepts in regard to specific conflict areas in various parts of the world.

There have been many works on specific peace settlements, such as Richard B. Morris's The Peacemakers (1965), dealing with the negotiation of the settlement of the American Revolution, and Harold Nicolson's Peacemaking 1919 (1965) as well as Arno J. Mayer's Politics and Diplomacy of Peacemaking, 19181919 (1967), dealing with the settlement reached at the end of World War I. Robert Randle, in The Origins of Peace: A Study of Peacemaking and the Structure of Peace Settlements (1973), broadened the scope to a wider range of examples, but made clear in the preface: "Although I have dealt with a number of aspects of peacemaking, I have concentrated mainly upon the structure and content of peace settlements." In a later work, while recognizing that peacemaking studies embrace "all matters relating to the transition from a state of war to a state of peace," including "an analysis of the conditions prompting the parties to move toward peace," Randle still placed central emphasis upon settlements by explicit agreement. Thus, in Randle's summation, peacemaking studies include, first, study of the peace negotiations; second, "an analysis of the form, content and meaning of the peace settlement"; and third, "a study of the impact of the war and its settlement, including consideration of any postwar negotiations aimed at completing, amending or improving the settlement, a history of the implementation of its terms, and its value as precedent for the management or resolution of future disputes."

This focus on agreed peace settlements was consistent with the position, then generally accepted in the field of international law, that "The most frequent mode of terminating a war is a treaty of peace, negotiated either while operations continue or after the conclusion of a general armistice." This was true of wars between recognized members of the international system in the period prior to World War II, but since 1945 fewer peace treaties have been concluded, and truce or cease-fire agreements have "tended in some respects to move forward to the place of the old treaty of peace."

For a general understanding of peacemaking, however, it must be recognized that a great many wars, or large-scale hostilities, ended without any agreed settlementfor example, by out-right conquest, annexation, or military rule of foreign territory, by suppression of insurrectionary forces, or by overthrow of an existing regime and its replacement by a new government. The number of armed conflicts ending with any kind of agreement diminished significantly over the last half of the twentieth century, and many were transformed into long-term protracted conflicts. Of ninety postCold War conflicts in the years 19891993, only forty-one were terminated in that period, the rest remaining active years later. Of the forty-one, only six ended with a peace accord, the others ending either with a clear-cut victory by one side (seventeen), some form of cease-fire or truce without a peace settlement, or various patterns of decline in armed hostilities.

Study of the causes of war has engendered a vast literature since at least the monumental work of Quincy Wright, A Study of War, first published in 1942. Analysis of peacemaking, or "the causes of peace," is a more recent project that presents difficulties even greater than analysis of the causes of war. While the latter has received much more attention, there is no consensus among scholars on the solution of either problem. With respect to the causes of making peace, however, debate has centered upon the relative importance of selected events, conditions, or policies in inducing the parties to make peace. Battle victories, war costs, "unconditional surrender" policies, misperception, coalition diplomacy, secrecy, the role of mediators, and domestic politics are among the factors often treated as primary to the process of ending or prolonging hostilities. In reality, all these and other factors enter into the calculations of belligerents weighing the prospects for peace, and it is unlikely that any simple formula could lead us to predict which would be "decisive" in any given case.

As the decade of the 1960s drew to a close, special issues of the Journal of Peace Research (December 1969) and of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (November 1970) were devoted to the topic "How Wars End," providing illuminating early analyses of war termination. Robert F. Randle's The Origins of Peace (1973) was followed by David Smith's From War to Peace: Essays in Peacemaking and War Termination (1974). In subsequent years, the number of works addressing peacemaking grew rapidly and expanded the information base, the scope, and the analytical complexity of knowledge and theory on the subject. Nevertheless, peacemaking remains a relatively neglected area of study as compared with warmaking.


Throughout its history, the United States has sought to project an image of dedication to peace and to peacemaking. George Washington, in his Farewell Address in 1796, exhorted Americans to avoid "overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty," and urged Americans: "Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all." Nearly two centuries later, President John F. Kennedy was obliged to acknowledge that, far from "cultivating peace and harmony," the United States found itself "caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other and new weapons beget counterweapons"; nevertheless, he too exhorted Americans to turn their attention to "the most important topic on earth, world peace":

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

But the record of the behavior of the United States in regard to both "peace in our time" and "peace for all time" has been ambiguous at best.

Certainly there have been strong traditions of antimilitarism, internationalism, and pacifism in American society. The history of peace movements in the United States, reaching back at least to the formation of the New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio Peace Societies in 1815, is long and rich, and can lay claim to having influenced the peace settlements in a number of wars or other conflicts, most prominently in World War I. On the level of governmental action, the long-term peacemaking efforts of the United States have focused on the development of international legal and institutional instruments for pacific settlement of disputes and peacekeeping by international organizations. The Rush-Bagot Convention (1817) established a lasting basis for disarmament on the long border between the United States and Canada, and the Treaty of Washington (1871) provided for the resolution of other outstanding issues (boundary and fisheries questions, and the Alabama Claims) by a court of arbitration.

The United States has also given strong support to the formulation of treaties of arbitration, both voluntary and compulsory, though the Senate has as strongly resisted acceptance of compulsory arbitration without significant reservations. The United States has also shown itself willing and even eager to extend its services as mediator, and has had some success in this rolefor example, in mediating the Russo-Japanese peace settlement of 1905. In the protracted conflicts that troubled many parts of the world in the late twentieth century, the efforts of the United States to serve as mediator, as in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the former Yugoslavia, have had mixed success and have elicited charges of bias, hypocrisy, and even direct military aid to preferred parties in the conflicts.

Finally, the United States has sometimes adopted the role of peacemaker on a global scale, taking the initiative in the establishment of the Permanent Court of International Justice and the League of Nations. Although the United States never joined the league and even declined to become a party to the Statute of the Permanent Court, it later played a major role in the establishment and development of the United Nations, and has accepted (though with major reservations) the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice as reconstituted under the United Nations Charter.

There has also been strong interest in the United States in the development of techniques of peacekeeping and other approaches to conflict resolution. On the governmental level, United States involvement in "peacekeeping" or "peace enforcement" operations has unfortunately been associated with the large-scale use of military force, especially in Korea, the Persian Gulf, and the former Yugoslavia.

Nevertheless, on the level of independent citizen action and professional research, there has been widespread interest in peacekeeping without the use of military force and in nonviolent modes of conflict resolution at international as well as domestic and interpersonal levels. The decades since World War II have witnessed the establishment of numerous peace studies programs, research institutes and centers, journals and professional associations devoted to peace and peacemaking, in the United States and around the world. In 1978 a citizen campaign in the United States led to the appointment by Congress of a commission to consider the establishment of a national academy of peace that would carry out and support research about international peace and peacemaking; educate and train persons from government, private enterprise, and voluntary associations about peace and peacemaking skills; and provide an information service in the field of peace learning. In 1984 legislation to create the United States Institute for Peace was passed by Congress, providing for an agency to support research but not to serve as a teaching and training academy. Since that time, Congress has increased funding and other forms of support for the institute's programs, including grants and fellowships, conferences, publications, library resources, and other activities, and has designated a tract of land for the institute's permanent headquarters, "in recognition of the Institute's accomplishments and the heightened relevance of its work in a dangerous and uncertain world."


In the period between 1775 and 1945, the United States entered into a great many treaties or other formal peace agreements, of which the overwhelming majority were treaties with the Indian nations or tribes. Five major wars between the United States and recognized foreign states were concluded by peace treaties: the American Revolution (Treaty of Paris, 3 September 1783), the War of 1812 (Treaty of Ghent, 24 December 1814), the Mexican War (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 2 February 1848), the Spanish-American War (Treaty of Paris, 10 December 1898), and World War I. The U.S. Senate declined to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and associated treaties negotiated by President Woodrow Wilson at the conclusion of World War I, but the United States subsequently signed separate treaties of peace with Germany (Berlin, 25 August 1921), Austria (Vienna, 24 August 1921), and Hungary (Budapest, 29 August 1921). No treaties were signed and ratified by the United States with Bulgaria and Turkey, and the Soviet Union was absent from the entire peace settlement.

A number of lesser foreign wars or partial engagements of the United States were also concluded by treaties of peace: the Moroccan War (treaty of 28 June 1786), the Tripolitan War (Treaty of Tripoli, 3 June 1805), two Algerian wars (treaties of 1795 and 1815), the second Opium War (Treaty of Tientsin, 18 June 1858), and the Boxer Rebellion (Treaty of Peking, 7 September 1901). The undeclared naval war with France (Quasi-War) of 17981800 was also settled by a formal convention of 30 September 1800.


The United States has been involved in a considerable number of undeclared foreign wars or "interventions," particularly in the twentieth century. Such wars typically were not concluded by formal agreement but were ended rather by U.S. suppression of opposition, military rule, unilateral imposition of terms, or, in some cases, unilateral withdrawal of American forces. These undeclared wars included the suppression of the Philippine independence movement in 18991902, the Siberian interventions of 19181921, and numerous interventions in Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Grenada. They also included military interventions in civil wars in Greece, China, Korea, Lebanon, Vietnam, and others since World War II; covert actions and coups or attempted coups in Iran, Chile, and elsewhere; enforcement actions under "coalition" or North Atlantic Treaty Organization authority against Iraq and Serbia; and "antiterrorist" bombings in Libya and Afghanistan.

A study of American peacemaking must give some attention to the way the United States has handled the conclusion of civil wars and insurrections. The distinction between these and "foreign wars" becomes somewhat doubtful when we recall that the United States itself originated in an insurrectionary war. When an incumbent government is obliged to concede statehood and separate territorial sovereignty to rebel belligerents, the ending of the conflict takes on the character of a settlement between sovereign states. On the other hand, the treatment accorded to defeated belligerents in civil wars and insurrections often is not significantly different from the treatment accorded to defeated foreign nations in colonial wars of conquest or interventions.

The United States has experienced a substantial number of insurrections or rebellions, including at least thirty-five slave uprisings, at least five significant domestic insurrections or civil conflicts, the great Civil War of 18611865, and other types of conflicts such as large-scale riots, vigilante expeditions, and mass protests in labor, civil rights, and antiwar struggles. The United States government has consistently refused to give rebels, rioters, or protestors any recognized status as belligerents or negotiating partners, and these conflicts have been terminated by piecemeal suppression of the uprisings by military or police forces or by tacit concessions.

This was true even for the Civil War, in which the refusal of the U.S. government to negotiate with the rebel forces affected both the duration of hostilities and the character of the outcome. Efforts of the Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston to negotiate terms of general surrender with Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman were expressly rejected by both President Abraham Lincoln and President Andrew Johnson. Far from welcoming the opportunity to put a rapid end to the fighting, on 3 March 1865 Lincoln instructed Grant "to have no conference with General Lee, unless it be for the capitulation of General Lee's army, or on some minor or purely military matter." Furthermore, Grant was "not to decide, discuss, or confer upon any political questions. Such questions the president holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or conventions. Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military advantages."

Similarly, when Sherman, unaware of this directive to Grant, later met with Johnston and drafted terms for a general surrender of the Confederate forces remaining after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, the draft agreement was sharply rejected by President Johnson and his cabinet. Sherman was authorized to accept only the surrender of the army commanded by Johnston, and to engage in no negotiations. As Sherman observed, this policy meant that the war might continue indefinitely in sporadic engagements with dispersed "guerrilla bands." Indeed, while the Civil War formally terminated one year later with a proclamation by President Johnson (2 April 1866), some hostilities continued even after that date and a separate proclamation was required to end the fighting in Texas (20 August 1866).

While the position taken by Lincoln and Johnson appears at first sight to be based primarily on the principle of civilian control over vital political and civil questions, it must be observed that it was not particular political terms drafted by the generals that were rejected, but any conference or negotiation between the military leaders for terms of general surrender. Nor was the United States government itself willing to negotiate with the Confederate government or its generals. In contrast, in both World War I and World War II, general surrender or armistice agreements were received and signed by military leaders of the Allied armies. Marshal Ferdinand Foch, general-in-chief of the Allied armies in France, signed the armistice agreement for the Allies in World War I. In 1945, Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith, chief of staff to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, signed the German instrument of surrender, while General Douglas MacArthur signed the Japanese surrender agreement for the Allied powers in World War II. Although the terms of these documents were determined ultimately by the civilian authorities, the Allied governments did not hesitate to have the military leaders receive the surrenders and, indeed, accorded them considerable influence on the formulation of surrender terms and occupation policies.

It seems probable that the refusal of the presidents during the Civil War to approve the receipt by either Grant or Sherman of general surrender by Lee or Johnston was less a question of military versus civilian control of policy than it was a question of refusing to treat with any party claiming to represent or exercise general authority in or over the Confederate states or forces. Such a position is characteristic of incumbent governments faced with insurrectionary forces, not only at the cost of prolonging armed hostilities but even at the cost of making impossible a settlement based on mutual accord and amity.


In Custer Died for Your Sins (1969), Vine Deloria wrote that "Indian people laugh themselves sick" when they hear American whites charge Soviet Russia with breaking treaty agreements: "It would take Russia another century to make and break as many treaties as the United States has already violated" in its dealings with American Indians. In the century between 1778 and 1871, the United States government made some 370 treaties with Indian tribes and nations. About one-third of these were peace treaties, but it is open to question what relationship should be understood between these treaties and "peacemaking" as construed above.

Since 1871 the United States has declined to sign treaties with Indian tribes, though it has continued to sign "agreements" understood to have the same binding force as treaties. The difference lies in rejection of the notion that the Indian tribes should be recognized as independent nations. Prior to 1871 this had been a matter of dispute, subject to varying interpretation and practice. In 1828, President John Quincy Adams declared that at the establishment of the United States, "the principle was adopted of considering them as foreign and independent powers." But in 1831, in the case of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, Chief Justice John Marshall gave the majority judgment of the Supreme Court that the Indians were "domestic dependent nations," not to be considered "a foreign state in the sense of the Constitution." However, the Supreme Court was closely divided on the issue. In their dissent, Justices Smith Thompson and Joseph Story argued that the history of past treatment of the Indians led irresistibly to the conclusion that "they have been regarded, by the executive and legislative branches of the government, not only as sovereign and independent, but as foreign nations or tribes, not within the jurisdiction nor under the government of the states within which they were located."

Moreover, while Chief Justice Marshall maintained that the Indians were not "foreign states in the sense of the Constitution" with respect to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, he acknowledged that for other purposes the Cherokee nation clearly did have the character of

a state, as a distinct political society, separated from others, capable of managing its own affairs and governing itself. The numerous treaties made with them by the United States recognize them as a people capable of maintaining the relations of peace and war, of being responsible in their political character for any violation of their engagements, or for any aggression committed on the citizens of the United States by any individual of their community.

The following year, in the related case of Worcester v. Georgia, Marshall reaffirmed as the judgment of the Court that treaties with the Indians had the same standing as treaties with other nations:

The constitution, by declaring treaties already made, as well as those to be made, to be the supreme law of the land, has adopted and sanctioned the previous treaties with the Indian nations, and consequently admits their rank among those powers who are capable of making treaties. The words "treaty" and "nation" are words of our own language, selected in our diplomatic and legislative proceedings, by ourselves, having each a definite and well understood meaning. We have applied them to Indians as we have applied them to the other nations of the earth. They are applied to all in the same sense.

The first treaty of peace ever made by the U.S. government was with the Delaware Indians in 1778, at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh). This was in fact a treaty of alliance between the United States and some of the Delaware tribes, at a time when most of the Indians of Ohio and New York, including the Delaware, were fighting on the side of the British in the revolutionary war. The treaty repudiates the allegations of "enemies of the United States" who have

endeavoured by every artifice to possess the Indians with an opinion that it is our design to extirpate them, and take possession of their country; to obviate such false suggestions, the United States guarantee to said nation of Delawares, and their heirs, all their territorial rights in the fullest and most ample manner as bounded by former treaties.

Similar guarantees were reiterated numerous times in succeeding yearsfor example, in 1790, when President George Washington assured the Iroquois Nations that the U.S. government would "protect you in all your just rights. You possess the right to sell, and the right of refusing to sell your lands. The United States will be true and faithful to their engagements." In reality, the United States repeatedly violated these engagements, systematically dispossessing the Indian tribes of their lands and depriving them of their traditional means of subsistence, utilizing every means at hand including force and fraud, trickery and bribery, and finally murder, arson, and massacre. Although no war was ever declared by Congress against an Indian nation, one may well name the entire period of white colonization of the territory now comprising the United States the "Four Hundred Years' War." This protracted war reduced the Indian population of some twelve million in the area of the continental United States before the arrival of the colonists to about 300,000 in 1872. By that time the Delaware, who had been assured in 1778 that it was only the "false suggestions" of "enemies of the United States" that it was "our design to extirpate them, and take possession of their country," had been driven from their native territory and so reduced and dispersed that the report of the commissioner of Indian affairs for 1872 mentioned only eighty-one Delaware, living with the Wichita in Indian Territory.

In the present context, three main points are salient about the relations between the United States and the Indian nations: first, the consistent failure of the U.S. government to adhere to commitments made in numerous treaties of peace and amity; second, the outright resistance of many officers of the U.S. Army, and many state and federal government officials, to making peace with Indians on any terms other than unconditional surrender, removal to reservations, or, if necessary, extermination; and third, the use of peace treaties as weapons of war.

Although the full history of "broken peace pipes" has yet to be written, one may read parts of it in such works as Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor (1881), Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1971), Vine Deloria's Of Utmost Good Faith (1971) and Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties (1985), and M. Annette Jaimes's collection The State of Native America: Genocide, Colonization, and Resistance (1992). With respect to peacemaking, the effect of the most glaring atrocities, such as the Sand Creek massacre, was to shut all doors to peace. On 29 November 1864, Colonel John M. Chivington and Major Scott Anthony led seven hundred men to mutilate and slaughter some two hundred Indians, encamped at Sand Creek under assurances from Anthony himself that they would be under the protection of Fort Lyon. As Dee Brown concludes: "In a few hours of madness at Sand Creek, Chivington and his soldiers destroyed the lives or the power of every Cheyenne and Arapaho chief who had held out for peace with the white men. After the flight of the survivors, the Indians rejected Black Kettle and Left Hand, and turned to their war leaders to save them from extermination."

Despite the hideousness of this and other massacres, far more Indians were killed and driven off their lands by the devices of dishonest, dictated, and disregarded peace treaties. Among the clearest examples of this was the case of the Cherokee. First persuaded by treaty commitments in 17851791 that the United States "solemnly guarantees to the Cherokee nation all their lands" not expressly ceded in the treaties, the Cherokees refrained from making war despite many hostile encounters with whites and the illegal entry onto their lands of numerous white settlers. Pressured into ceding more territory by treaty in 1817, some of the Cherokee began to move west of the Mississippi; but many refused to sign the treaty and most of the Cherokee clung stubbornly to their traditional lands. In 1829, however, the state of Georgia adopted an act that annexed their whole territory to the state and deprived them of all legal and political rights, annulling "all laws made by the Cherokee nation, either in council or in any other way," and providing that "no Indian shall be deemed a competent witness in any Court of this State to which a white man may be a party." The Cherokee sought to challenge this in the Supreme Court, but were discouraged by the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear their case in 1831, and the refusal of President Andrew Jackson to implement the more favorable decision of the court in Worcester v. Georgia (1832).

Under these circumstances, some of the Cherokee were induced to sign the Treaty of New Echota (1835), relinquishing all the Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi (encompassing territory in four southern states exceeding in size the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) in return for five million dollars and seven million acres west of the Mississippi. The treaty again assured the Cherokee that the new lands ceded to them "shall in no future time, without their consent, be included within the territorial limits or jurisdiction of any State or Territory." Whether they recognized that these assurances would be as worthless as earlier ones, or simply preferred their ancestral lands, most of the Cherokees refused to sign the Treaty of New Echota; in 1837, General John Ellis Wool reported that the Cherokee people "uniformly declare that they never made the treaty in question." Nevertheless, at the expiration of the stipulated time the U.S. Army appeared to carry out the removal, "in obedience to the treaty of 1835." Fifteen thousand Cherokee were forcibly evicted under conditions of such inadequate food, shelter, and sanitation that four thousand died on the long trek west. Thus, in retrospect, treaty-making takes on the appearance of the most deadly weapon employed by the whites in their war to wrest the continent from the Indians; to persuade, trick, or coerce them into giving up their lands; and to reduce them to a remnant of their former numbers.

Nevertheless, with the emergence of Indian activism in the Americas and other indigenous movements around the world since the 1970s, there was a revival of interest in past treaties and contemporary treaty-making to clarify and reaf-firm the rights of Indian tribes and other indigenous groups promised in earlier treaties and agreements, resolve the destructive conflicts over these rights that persist today, and restore the dignity and lands of indigenous peoples. In 1974 the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) was established to press for the rights of indigenous peoples across the Americas and around the globe. The IITC has worked through the United Nations and through autonomous meetings and action to secure recognition and redress, with some degree of success.

For example, in 1995, Queen Elizabeth II signed an apology to the Maori people of New Zealand and announced the return to the Maori of 39,000 acres of land the British had confiscated from them illegally in 1863, and the provision of a $42 million fund for the repurchase of privately owned land. Although the amount restored was far less than had been taken, and hundreds of tribal claims remained in litigation, this was an unprecedented and important gesture of reconciliation. In the United States some lands and rights were restored to Native Americans through the Indian Claims Commission between 1946 and 1978, the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, and other legislative acts. However, the claims settlements have been very limited, and since 1978, Indian claims have been pressed mainly through the federal courts and acts of Congress. Some of these have been settled, notably the Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990, which provided a settlement award of $60 million to the Seneca, but in 2001 many claims were still pending, including the long-fought Black Hills land claim of the Lakota Nation, and there was little ground for optimism about early resolution of the major claims and issues.

In 1996 a subcommission of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights issued a Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. While the General Assembly did not vote to approve the draft, it recognized the adoption of such a declaration as one of the main goals of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (19952004). Article 36 of the Draft Declaration states: "Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors, according to their original spirit and intent, and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements."


The experience of the American Indians is the most glaring example, but by no means unique, illustrating the limitations of treaty-making as a model for peacemaking. It is widely recognized that so-called "peace settlements," explicit agreements for the termination of a particular war or dispute, may fail to resolve key issues in dispute, and may even plant the seeds for new hostilities.

In the case of World War I, for example, President Woodrow Wilson resisted strong pressures from political opponents at home to demand "unconditional surrender" as the only basis for a settlement of the war with Germany, but he was later obliged to make many concessions weakening or contradicting the principles of his Fourteen Points, and forcing Germany to accept dictated terms of peace. When the Senate declined to ratify the resulting Treaty of Versailles, it was in the setting of a national campaign portraying the treaty terms and even the Covenant of the League of Nations as a betrayal of hopes for a lasting peace. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge argued before the Senate on 12 August 1919:

Whatever may be said, it [League of Nations] is not a league of peace; it is an alliance, dominated at the present moment by five great powers, really by three, and it has all the marks of an alliance. The development of international law is neglected. The court which is to decide disputes brought before it fills but a small place it exhibits that most marked characteristic of an alliancethat its decisions are to be carried out by force. Those articles on which the whole structure rests are articles which provide for the use of force; that is, for war.

Nor did the opposition to the treaty as a provocation of future wars come only from the right. Indeed, the first organized group to condemn the Treaty of Versailles was the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, whose international congress at Zurich, meeting 1217 May 1919, declared:

This International Congress of Women expresses its deep regret that the terms of peace proposed at Versailles should so seriously violate the principles upon which alone a just and lasting peace can be secured, and which the democracies of the world had come to accept.

By guaranteeing the fruits of the secret treaties to conquerors, the terms of peace tacitly sanction secret diplomacy, deny the principles of self-determination, recognize the right of the victors to the spoils of war, and create all over Europe discords and animosities, which can only lead to future wars.

By the demand for the disarmament of one set of belligerents only, the principle of justice is violated and the rule of force continued.

One may argue that the Treaty of Versailles was not so bad as its opponents portrayed it, that its terms were less harsh than they might have been, that the disarmament of Germany was a first step toward the general disarmament that the treaty envisaged for the future, and that the League of Nations, imperfect as it was, offered a framework for international cooperation and peace that would have been effective had it been given responsible support and leadership by the United States and other great powers. One may argue that the failure of the peace settlement of 1919 was less a consequence of its internal flaws than of its abandonment in the subsequent years, first by the withdrawal of the United States and then by successive retreats by other major signatories (especially Great Britain and France), particularly from the treaty's provisions for general disarmament and for collective action against breaches of the peace. These questions are still debated; nevertheless, it is probable that disillusionment with the settlement of 1919 contributed to the failure to arrive at any general peace settlement in World War II, and perhaps to the near abandonment of treaties of peace as a mode of terminating hostilities in the period since 1945.

Doubts concerning the necessity and advisability of concluding a treaty of peace at the end of World War II were expressed in the work on planning for peace during the last years of the war. In the report "Procedures of Peacemaking: With Special Reference to the Present War," the Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress pointed out in August 1943 that the Declaration of the United Nations bound the signatories not to conclude a separate peace. Nevertheless, the report noted:

The worldwide scope of the present war and the multitude of problems which its settlement entails constitute a strong temptation for the solution of certain questions independently of the overall settlement. Even the major prob lems of boundaries, of federations, and of economic and political alliances among foreign States, insofar as the United States is not directly committed, might be thus decided without these decisions ever appearing in the text of a treaty which the United States would be called upon to ratify. The cessation of hostilities in different parts of the world may be far from simultaneous. And should a pro longed interval intervene between the end of the fighting in the main theatres of war and the definitive peace, the situation might become so deeply influenced by decisions made and regimes established in the meantime, that the peace conference might find its freedom of action considerably prejudiced. As a result of this development, the peace treaty or treaties may lose a great deal of their importance.

This analysis proved remarkably close to the actual course of events at the end of World War II. As one text summed it up, "peacemaking was a long drawn-out process which never quite ended but turned into the Cold War between the Soviet Union and its wartime allies." The wartime conferences at Casablanca, Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam laid down some of the principles and specific terms of the postwar arrangements, including the demand for "unconditional surrender" of the Axis powers, the policy of "complete disarmament, demilitarization and dismemberment of Germany," the establishment of the United Nations, and various specific provisions relating to the Far East and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland. Nevertheless, many key issues were left imprecise or totally unresolved, and all the agreements were understood to be provisional pending a final peace treaty. By the time the peace conference convened in Paris, however, the situation had indeed become "so deeply influenced by decisions made and regimes established in the meantime" that the formulation of a general peace settlement acceptable to all the major participants had become impossible.

Thus, no general treaty settlement of World War II in Europe was concluded; the peace treaty with Japan was delayed until 1951, and was not signed by the Soviet Union. Nor were peace treaties concluded in other wars fought by the United States since then. No peace treaty followed the armistice in the Korean War, concluded at Panmunjom in July 1953. The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam was arranged by a cease-fire agreement of 28 January 1973. Although this was called "An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam," it was actually, as Randle notes, "a military settlement without the concomitant political settlement that completes the peacemaking process." Moreover, the withdrawal of U.S. uniformed forces did not end the war or restore the peace; fighting continued among the Vietnamese and other Indochinese belligerents in subsequent years.

On the whole, the United States has held an image of peacemaking as "sitting down around the table to negotiate." But with the exception of the early period of its history in relations with European powers, especially Great Britain, the United States has not had a strong record of making peace on negotiated terms, such as to establish a lasting basis of concord. The terms of the treaties with Mexico in 1848, Spain in 1898, and Germany in 1919 were essentially dictated, as were the terms of surrender of the Axis countries in World War II. In the latter cases, the United States was obliged to negotiate at least with its own allies. In World War I, negotiation with allies may have cost the United States the freedom to negotiate with the opposing belligerents, but in World War II, it was the declared policy of the United States to achieve "unconditional surrender." This was also the policy most often adopted by the United States in dealing with insurgents, both domestic, as in the Civil War, and foreign, as in the Philippines. Moreover, in dealing with Native Americans, the United States has shown that negotiating treaties may be a device not to establish peace but to disarm, defeat, and gradually drive an opponent into a dependent condition.

The United States has sometimes sought to ameliorate the harshness of terms imposed on defeated opponents by financial awards (payments and annuities to Native Americans, $15 million to Mexico for 40 percent of its territory from Texas to California) or postwar programs of aid and rehabilitation (loans to Germany after World War I, the Marshall Plan after World War II). Even in this respect, however, the provision of aid has been more generous and given on less humiliating terms to powerful opponents, especially those of white race, than to those peoples of different race and culture who have found themselves in the path of "manifest destiny" and U.S. global expansion, whether Native Americans, Filipinos, or Vietnamese.


In the scholarly literature focusing on peacemaking in the international arena, surprisingly little attention has been given to issues of race. Although "ethnic" conflict is recognized as a cause of war or internal armed conflict and as sometimes especially intractable, the treatment of racial conflicts as such in works on "peacemaking" has been limited mainly to those concerned with conflict resolution in the schools, in the criminal justice system, or in community relations. Yet the salience of race as a factor in international relations and peacemaking has been called to our attention repeatedly, from W. E. B. Du Bois's declaration that "the problem of the twentieth century is the color line" to a number of contemporary works that emphasize the international and transnational importance of race. These include, in particular, George W. Shepherd, Jr., Racial Influences on American Foreign Policy (1970); Hugh Tinker, Race, Conflict, and the International Order (1977); and Paul Gordon Lauren, Power and Prejudice: The Politics and Diplomacy of Racial Discrimination (1988).

As Shepherd argued in 1970, "all great powers must face the reality of racial attitudes in their policies." This includes recognition of the dominant group interests as well as attitudes of racial superiority that may drive foreign policy choices and decisions and may shape support or disaffection from those choices at home. It has been suggested, for example, that the failure of the United States and other powers to support preventive action in Rwanda, while intervening at much higher levels of commitment in the Middle East and the Balkans, reflected a racially biased choice. Another aspect of the influence of race in international politics is that of transnational communication and interaction. As in the case of indigenous peoples, the transnational force of race identity and solidarity may have a powerful influence on policies relating to conflicts both at home and abroad. At the same time Shepherd called upon us to engage "a more perceptive study of the special contribution of nonwhite and non-Western peoples within and among nations."

Lauren later expanded on these themes, recognizing the problematic nature of the very concept of "race" but arguing that it has nonetheless profoundly influenced global politics and diplomacy. As he sums it up, race issues have affected relations between and among states and have posed serious threats to international peace and security. They have "motivated domestic groups concerned with racial discrimination to exert noticeable pressure upon the foreign policy of their own governments and to seek the active support of other nations for their protection." Despite the silence on these issues in most of the "peacemaking" literature, they have held a very high place on the international agenda of matters relating to a broad conception of peace. The first global attempt to speak for equality focused upon race. The first human rights provisions in the United Nations Charter were placed there because of race. The first international challenge to a country's claim of domestic jurisdiction and exclusive treatment of its own citizens centered upon race. The first binding treaty of human rights concentrated upon race. The international conventions with the greatest number of signatories is that on race. Within the United Nations, more resolutions deal with race than with any other subject. It may be hoped that as work continues and grows in the peacemaking field, more direct attention will be accorded to the issues of race at the international level.


Given the widespread and persistent popular association between women and peace, and the worldwide presence of women's peace movements, it is not surprising that we now have several large bodies of literature on women, war, and peace. These include histories and biographies of women's peace activism, collections of women's poetry, fiction, and other writings on war and peace, sociological and political studies on women's peace movements, the gender gap on peace issues, and women's roles in peace and war, grueling accounts of women's losses, sufferings, displacement, and subjection to torture, rape, and sexual slavery in situations of war and armed conflict. Also portrayed are inspiring accounts of women's creativity, intellectual brilliance, courage, daring, and solidarity in the use of nonviolent direct action or other techniques of resistance, and a wide variety of theories to explain and comprehend women's struggles to overcome violence and subjection and build peace.

It may seem surprising, however, to find that in all this wealth of theory and knowledge there is relatively little about women and the processes of peacemaking as such. Less surprising, but more troubling, is that there is even less on women and gender in the mainstream studies on peacemaking, suggesting that women's peace work remains nearly as invisible to scholars and experts in the academy as the male political and military establishments would like it to be in the arenas of "real world" conflict. Of course the reason for this invisibility is above all the practical exclusion of women from most of the official and even unofficial avenues of peacemaking. At peace talks for Burundi in Arusha, a delegation of women was not welcomed to participatemale delegates declared: "The women are not parties to this conflict. This is not their concern. We cannot see why they have come, why they bother us. We are here and we represent them." While these sentiments may not be so readily expressed aloud in other contexts, they are in fact all too common in practice. On a positive note, women have gained high-level positions in U.S. foreign relations, including Madeleine Albright as secretary of state under President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush's national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. However, the number of women admitted to the sacrosanct premises of peace or cease-fire negotiations is minuscule, and the adage, "out of sight, out of mind," is all too accurate here. The women themselves, their proposals for peace, and their concerns with regard to peace settlements, are steadfastly relegated to the sidelines. Nonetheless, the multiple roles women play relative to settling conflicts and restoring peace are in fact highly important, sometimes decisive, and the gendered character of all wars and armed conflicts is central to a clear comprehension of the context and path to resolution.

There are a number of works that are especially valuable in this regard, including: Gita Sen and Caren Grown, Development, Crises, and Alternative Visions: Third World Women's Perspectives (1987), Betty A. Reardon, Women and Peace: Feminist Visions of Global Security (1993), and Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Women at the Peace Table: Making a Difference (2000). The latter, a publication of UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women), deals most directly with women's participation in peace movements during wars and conflicts and in the processes of negotiation and peacebuilding to end the conflicts and secure a sustainable peace with benefits not only for the "winners" but for women and people at the grassroots. Anderlini interviews women who have been engaged in the peace processes, including Hanan Ashrawi, and explores both the obstacles the women have faced and the importance of their contributions to the peace processes. Further research and analysis in this area are urgently needed.


It was long held in the scholarly literature that wars for the most part end in victory for one side and defeat for the other. Stalemates and settlements with no discernible victor or defeated were regarded as relatively rare. This was not often stated as a general principle and was sometimes subjected to challenge. Nevertheless, it appeared repeatedly, sometimes as an empirical observation on selected groups of wars, sometimes as an underlying assumption in the theoretical analysis of war endings.

Thus, Melvin Small and J. David Singer in The Wages of War: 18161965, A Statistical Handbook (1972), assigned victor or defeated status to the belligerents in all but one of fifty interstate wars and forty-three "extra-systemic" wars that they included in their study. Similarly, George Modelski found that some four-fifths of one hundred internal wars since 1900 ended in an "out-right win" or victory of one side or the other. The theoretical significance of assigning victory had been set forth earlier by H. A. Calahan, who held that the key to peacemaking lies simply in the recognition of defeat on the part of the vanquished: "war is pressed by the victor, but peace is made by the vanquished."

This view was echoed later by others, including Paul Kecskemeti and Lewis Coser, but its fullest theoretical statement appears in Nicholas S. Timasheff's War and Revolution (1965). Timasheff views war as "a means of solving an inter-state conflict by measuring the relative strength of the parties." Timasheff goes on to make clear that the return to peace must take place through the initiative of the defeated, concluding that in studying the "movement from war to peace" (that is, war endings), the determination of victory is central: "Therefore, the study of the causal background of the return of political systems from war to peace is tantamount to the study of the premises of victory and of the mechanism converting victory into peace."

This preoccupation with victory and defeat persists in some measure today despite the fact that, as James D. Smith and others have pointed out, there has been a significant trend away from the conclusion of wars and armed conflicts by clear-cut victory of one side. Negotiated settlements, stalemates, and withdrawals of all parties are increasingly prevalent as outcomes of war in the late twentieth century. "'Victory,' then, is becoming increasingly elusive in modern warfare." Yet in their text How Nations Make Peace (1999), Charles W. Kegley, Jr., and Gregory A. Raymond center their entire analysis on "situations in which there was a clear winner and loser," exploring the "policy problems and moral dilemmas victors face," the choices to be made by "victors" after a "decisive military victory," and particularly "the relative merits of compassionate versus punitive peace settlements." In posing these issues, Kegley and Raymond express the laudable hope that their work may help to "bring the ethical dimension of decision making into the study of international relations." However, by narrowing the focus to exclude the great diversity of contemporary armed conflicts and their different kinds of endings, Kegley and Raymond obscure the broader question of "how nations make peace" and direct disproportionate attention to the relatively few instances in which the winner/loser, victor/defeated model prevails. Meanwhile, the elusive goal of victory continues to command the imaginations of both military and civilian leaders, often standing as a significant obstacle to timely and effective peacemaking, as illustrated in a number of case studies examined by James D. Smith in Stopping Wars (1995).


With the decline of formal peace settlements as the prevailing mode of terminating wars in the period since World War II, studies of peacemaking have shifted to the analysis of peace processes: the factors influencing parties in a conflict to move toward peace, procedures to facilitate the process, methods and techniques to bring about cessation of hostilities and implement cease-fire terms, and approaches to peacebuilding for the longer term. In these processes, the United Nations has been called on with increasing frequency to play a central part, yet often sidestepped to suit great-power interests.

In his 1992 report An Agenda for Peace, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali spelled out the multiple roles that the United Nations has taken in regard to peace, under the rubrics of preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peace enforcement, and peacekeeping. It may be noted that "peacemaking" appears here in a specific sense as one of a series of stages in the peace process, though the term is still widely used to denote the entire process, and the designations cover actions and procedures that are overlapping and interrelated.

"Preventive diplomacy" refers to efforts to resolve disputes before violence occurs. Such efforts may be conducted by the secretary-general or other offices of the United Nations, or by diplomatic engagement of others such as neutral states or regional associations, or by multitrack diplomacy involving both public and private parties. These may lead to a variety of steps to encourage resolution of the disputes without armed force, such as confidence-building measures, fact finding, early-warning systems, preventive deployment, and demilitarized zones. As Gareth Evans notes, in some circumstances "the preventive diplomacy techniquesnegotiation, enquiry, mediation and so onwhich are aimed at averting armed hostilities, are also appropriate if fighting does break out."

"Peacemaking" in the specific sense used here refers to efforts to bring together parties already engaged in hostilities to seek agreement for peaceful resolution of their conflict. The United Nations role in this context is spelled out under chapter 6 of the UN Charter, which specifies the options of mediation, negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, sanctions, and "other peaceful means." Mediation, negotiation, arbitration, and judicial settlement have been central to the theory and practice of peacemaking over the course of history and have been treated in numerous historical, legal, and political works. Two noteworthy contemporary examples are Paul R. Pillar, Negotiating Peace: War Termination as a Bargaining Process (1983), and I. William Zartman and J. Lewis Rasmussen, eds., Peacemaking in International Conflict: Methods and Techniques (1997). Peacemaking efforts in the last decades of the twentieth century sought less to arrive at any comprehensive peace agreement than to achieve a cessation or pause in hostilities in the form of a cease-fire, truce, or "suspension of arms." The processes of arriving at a cease-fire have been somewhat neglected in the existing literature, but have been addressed particularly by James D. Smith in Stopping Wars: Defining the Obstacles to Cease-fire (1995).

Sanctions, which are conceived in this context as an inducement to bring parties to the negotiating table, have also been invoked to bring international pressure on a state in favor of internal change, as in the case of sanctions imposed upon South Africa to end its apartheid policies. Here it can be argued that the combined impact of economic, strategic, social, and cultural sanctions imposed by the international community played an important peacemaking role in promoting an end to a violent system. On the other hand, sanctions used as a form of peace enforcement can become punitive action, amounting to a weapon of war. Sanctions imposed upon Iraq in conjunction with the Persian Gulf War of 1991 were maintained (though with some modifications) for over a decade at the insistence of the United States, with devastating consequences for the Iraqi people.

"Peace enforcement" under United Nations auspices is authorized under chapter 7 of the UN Charter. This provides for the use of any measures deemed necessary by the Security Council, including the use of armed force, to "maintain or restore international peace and security." In general, the United Nations has been somewhat reluctant to resort to this provision of the Charter, the main exceptions being the two major military enforcement actions spearheaded and directed by the United States in Korea and the Persian Gulf. In contrast, the efforts of Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali in 1994 to assemble a peace enforcement mission of five thousand troops to prevent the genocidal violence that eventually claimed over half a million lives in Rwanda were rebuffed by the United States and other powers. The United States also spearheaded the military enforcement action against Yugoslavia in 1999, under the aegis of NATO, declining to take the matter to the United Nations.

"Peacekeeping" refers to intervention by unarmed or lightly armed forces of the United Nations or other intergovernmental bodies, to monitor or supervise implementation of cease-fires, troop withdrawals, or other agreements reached through preventive diplomacy or peacemaking efforts. Peacekeeping bodies may include military personnel, police forces, or civilians and, as Evans points out, their presence usually presupposes "that the governments or parties involved in the conflict are willing to cooperate and are able to reach and maintain agreement." In the decades since the establishment of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization for Palestine in 1948, the United Nations and other international bodies have accumulated extensive experience with scores of peacekeeping operations around the world. A large body of works reporting, analyzing and assessing these operations has appeared, ranging from individual case histories such as Connor Cruise O'Brien's To Katanga and Back: A UN Case History (1964) and overviews such as The Blue Helmets: A Review of United Nations Peacekeeping (United Nations, 1990, 1996), to collections of scholarly and interpretive studies such as Tom Woodhouse et al., eds., Peacekeeping and Peacemaking: Towards Effective Intervention in Post-Cold War Conflicts (1998), and Olara A. Otunnu and Michael W. Doyle, eds., Peacemaking and Peacekeeping for the New Century (1998).

"Peacebuilding" is a newer concept, emerging from a growing recognition that termination of armed conflict is no guarantee of "peace," which depends on underlying social, political, and economic conditions. Peace studies as a field has moved away from an exclusive focus on "negative peace," conceived simply as the absence of organized warfare and other forms of armed violence, to the study of "positive peace." In the context of peacemaking, this means going beyond cease-fire or even peace accords to address underlying issues of justice and the structural violence of exploitation, racism, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression and dominance relations. This is sometimes described as a process of "conflict transformation," designed to build "cooperative, peaceful relationships capable of fostering reconciliation, reconstruction, and long-term economic and social development." John Paul Lederach, in Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (1997), sets out to provide "a set of ideas and strategies that undergird sustainable peace." As summarized in the foreword by Richard H. Solomon, a president of the United States Institute for Peace: "Sustainable peace requires that long-time antagonists not merely lay down their arms but that they achieve profound reconciliation that will endure because it is sustained by a society-wide network of relationships and mechanisms that promote justice and address the root causes of enmity." Peacebuilding thus expands the field of vision in peacemaking to encompass a broad range of individual, group, and societal and international problems and action.

It may be that there is no better symbol of the paradoxes in the history of United States peacemaking than dubbing the Colt .45 gun "the Peacemaker." Yet it may be hoped that the voices will be heard of those other peacemakers who hold with Jane Addams that peace cannot be secured merely by the temporary conclusion of fighting, but "only as men abstained from the gains of oppression and responded to the cause of the poor; that swords would finally be beaten into plowshares and pruning hooks, not because men resolved to be peaceful, but because the metal of the earth would be turned to its proper use when the poor and their children should be abundantly fed," and when peace came to be conceived "no longer as an absence of war, but the unfolding of worldwide processes making for the nurture of human life."


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See also Alliances, Coalitions, and Ententes; Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation; Dissent in Wars; Gender; Intervention and Nonintervention; Pacifism; Peace Movements; Race and Ethnicity; Treaties.


views updated May 21 2018

495. Peacemaking (See also Antimilitarism.)

  1. Agrippa, Menenius Coriolanuss witty friend; reasons with rioting mob. [Br. Lit.: Coriolanus ]
  2. Antenor percipiently urges peace with Greeks. [Gk. Lit.: Iliad ]
  3. Benvolio tries to stop Mercutios fatal clash with Tybalt. [Br. Lit.: Romeo and Juliet ]
  4. Lysistrata leads women to use wifely continence to secure peace between countries. [Gk. Lit.: Lysistrata ]