Humanitarian perspectives on the changing face of war



37-minute read

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One of the ways of understanding the dynamics and evolution of warfare is to use what we know of the past to illuminate the present and the future. However, a historical perspective in and of itself would not suffice, which is why a multidisciplinary perspective ought to be taken. By looking at war through historical, legal and humanitarian lenses, one can learn how it has changed through time.

On the occasion of the remembrances marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War, this e-briefing looks at the evolution of warfare from the eighteenth century until today. In order to get a complete and comprehensive understanding of this complex topic, a longer-term perspective is taken which places human suffering – so often relegated to the backdrop of history ‒ front and centre. Additionally, to complement this, certain positive developments and innovations in the field of humanitarian action and law are looked at.

The e-briefing is structured in five parts: Introduction - The age of mass war - The age of the “war amongst the people” - Present and future threats - Furthering humanitarian consciousness in a divided yet connected world.

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