The Counterproductive Effects of Pacificism

 

Pacifism is a term that is applied to those that are averse to war between contending parties or nations. Pacifists try to refrain from confronting violence or belligerence and exist under the illusion that it is the one and only way to achieve peace. They have a jaundiced view of achieving peace through conciliation and are under the impression that international disputes can be settled by arbitration. Pacifists should not be regarded as peacemakers, their agenda being that militarism is absolutely unnecessary, even in the face of aggression and intimidation, and by so doing, they believe that they would finally be instrumental in preventing war by, perhaps, signing treaties that end up in the dustbins of history.

 

A perfect example of a pacifist was Neville Chamberlain who was Prime Minister of England when Nazi Germany, under the dictatorship of Hitler, was getting ready to invade and occupy the smaller countries of Europe.   For the sake of avoiding war with Germany, he signed an agreement, in September, 1938, (the Munich Pact) that included Germany, Great Britain and France, ratifying a willingness on the part of the signatories to give away the Sudetenland, or Sudetes Mountain region of Czechoslovakia, to Germany. Both France and Great Britain were afraid of Germany and were not willing to go to war until Hitler reneged on his promise and invaded Czechoslovakia. The Munich Pact was a perfect example of the result of appeasement. Within a short time, Hitler started World War II, thus proving that pacifism was not the answer to Hitler’s aggressive intention.

Another example of a pacifist was Mohandas Gandhi. While his doctrine of non-violence was in itself a philosophy of interest at the time, there was also a built-in sense of pacifism therein, culminating in the eventual division of India into two states, namely, Hindustan and Pakistan.  

When Jesus advocated turning the other cheek, he was, by no means, recommending pacifism. What he had meant was that, individually, in order to avoid a dispute, one should refrain from any verbal retaliation that might, perhaps, lead to tragic consequences.

Pacifism should not be confused with the overture of peace. Peace can only be achieved from a position of strength. Pacifism, on the other hand, originates from a position of weakness. In order to maintain peace, a nation must remain defensively ready by preparing for war. At no time in history did pacifism succeed in achieving its intended objective.  Instead, it reflects fear and cowardice, and does not belong in the same category of peace.

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