Could There Ever Be Another World War?

Could there be another world war?

Warmer questions

  1. Why do nations fight in wars?
  2. Would you ever sign up to join the military to defend your country?
  3. Is the world now more peaceful and stable than ever? Why or why not?
  4. Can a conflict ever be justified?

Reading section

It is time for conflict?

War is frequently referred to as a situation or a period of fighting between two factions or countries. During a war, a nation enforces its rights by using strength. This generally involves a military organisation, the use of weapons, and soldiers. But not every armed conflict is a war. A fight between individuals, gangs, drug cartels, etc. is not considered a war. Nonetheless, most wars are called armed conflicts.

Individual states or political parties have gained sovereignty over regions by means of war from the earliest times. The winners of said conflict frequently end up with the new land. And more land ownership represents increased resources for a country’s population and more space for profitable development. For this reason, some people are of the view that, regardless of its tragedies, war has lots of benefits; it particularly allows a country to gain new lands or to protect its lands or interests from possible invaders.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL), jus in bello, also known as the laws of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal framework applicable to situations of armed conflict. It regulates the conduct of forces when engaged in war or armed conflict. International Humanitarian Law serious violations are called war crimes. The International

Humanitarian Law recognises two kinds of wars:
• “International armed conflicts” between two or more states.
• “Non-international armed conflicts” between a government and a non-government group or one that is between two said groups.

World War II was the most destructive conflict in history. Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany’s Nazi Party, was one of the most powerful and notorious dictators of the 20th century. Hitler viewed the Jewish race as a menial race of people that were below the pure bread German Aryan. He tried to exterminate the Jewish race in what became known as the Holocaust. It is estimated that 1.5 million children died during the Holocaust. Approximately 1.2 million of them were Jewish. The word Holocaust derives from the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “kaustos” (burned)”.

Also, the First Atomic Bomb ever made was created by the Americans during World War II and was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb shattered 90% of the city and killed 80,000 people in a matter of seconds. Three days later, another Atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki killing another 40,000.

Questions to consider:

  1. Military logistics service providers also serve government customers. Are governments deliberately leading to war to earn valuable extra revenue?
  2. The perpetuation of wars and global enemies is essential to sustaining military equipment corporations. Is this billionaire enterprise will ever go bankrupt?
  3. An indirect advantage of war is that it contributes to patriotism. Do developed nations use patriotism as a veiled form of racial intolerance or xenophobia?

Vocabulary matching

Match the vocab on the left with the correct definitions on the right.

Vocabulary Definitions
1. War a. a way of dealing with something.
2. Threat b. a weapon that is self-propelled or directed by remote control, carrying a conventional or nuclear explosive.
3. Conflict c. a person who gives advice, typically someone who is an expert in a particular field.
4. Advisor d. a prolonged armed struggle.
5. Battle e. a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.
6. GCHQ f. a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.
7. Range g. a sustained fight between large organized armed forces.
8. Missile h. s an intelligence and security organisation in the UK, similar to the NSA (United States)
9. Approach i. the maximum distance to which a gun will shoot or over which a missile will travel
10. Weapon j. a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage.

  1. f
  2. e
  3. d
  4. c
  5. g
  6. h
  7. i
  8. b
  9. a
  10. j

Video: Could there be a World War Three?

Newsnight is a BBC 2 production that provides in-depth analysis into topical subjects. Here they are discussing the possibility of another global conflict and its implications.


Watch the video and then answer the questions below.

  1. Who is Patricia Lewis?
  2. Does Patricia see the possibility of a big war between major powers in the world in the next 20 or 30 years?
  3. How is conflict prevented?
  4. Who is James Jeffrey?
  5. Why haven’t we seen a return to the first half of the 20th century?
  6. What are Russia, China, and Iran doing right now?
  7. Are those people organising with a mind to weakening the West?
  8. Who is Brian Lord?
  9. Does Brian think a big war is a possibility?
  10. What are we looking at right now?
  11. Does North Korea represent a threat?
1. She is the Research Director for International Security at Chatham House.
2. Yes, she does. She sees it as a possibility if we do not learn the lessons of history.
3. We know almost everything we need to prevent conflict; it is a question of having the political will to do it.
4. He was U.S. Ambassador to Iraq from 2010 to 2012 and former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor.
5. The reason we have not seen a return to the first half of the awful 20th century is that during and after World War Two, the United States and European partners created a global collective security system with financial trade, rule of law, and other aspects.
6. They want to challenge that security system and, to some degree, are cooperating with regional actors such as North Korea.
7. There is no overall battle plan that Beijing and Moscow have agreed on; they have a commonality of interest in undercutting this American security system because it stands in the way of their alternative system.
8. He is former GCHQ Deputy Director for Intelligence and Cyber Operations.
9. He thinks a big war is highly unlikely.
10. We are seeing a challenge of traditional Western approach, but we are also living in a world where the rigidity of borders has been broken down by technology, trade, communication, and the uncontrolled availability of information.
11. Yes, it does. North Korea is a country that is enabled by China. Its long-range missiles are now mobile which is very threatening because they are on Chinese trucks; those trucks are not something they had thirty years ago, they are recent additions; the Chinese are enabling in many different ways the North Koreans basically to use them as a chess piece against the United States and the Western Pacific.

The advantages of large wars/conflicts

  1. Freedom from an occupying power: War can remove a corrupt government and replace it with a better alternative.
  2. Economic growth: War can strengthen an economy by providing jobs. Also, war allows manufacturing to thrive, especially weapons and ammo manufacturing.
  3. Technology boost: Competition and conflict tend to lead to nations trying to develop better technology than their opponents.
  4. History is made: History is written when conflict happens, and those who participate in wars play a role in shaping the course of history.

The disadvantages of large wars/conflicts

  1. Death and Injury: As a prime example, about 55 million died in WWII alone. Moreover, many more millions of people were injured than killed and a vast majority were civilians.
  2. Humanitarian Crisis: War generally results in waves of refugees and displaced persons; it can also end up in the kidnapping and training of child soldiers. Mental illnesses may be caused, sustained or worsened by traumatic experiences during war. War typically engenders general disease and famine.
  3. Unjustified Destruction: War devastates the economy and infrastructure of a region. War is often used to justify hatred and discrimination against certain groups.
  4. Environmental Damages: War also affects the environment of the area negatively as most of the weapons used during an armed conflict are extremely harmful for the environment.

Potential debating topics

  1. Wars are very useful in the long term. They help cleanse the conflicted regions of poor and unwanted people.
  2. Wars are worthless and add nothing positive. Ethnic cleansing has been the horror of the 20th century.
  3. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of cohabitation, but also conflict and religious wars. Religious wars destroy the very core of a country.
  4. Religious wars are holly and should be respected as such. If religious wars are required, victims are then unavoidable and an irrelevant issue.
  5. Every person has the right to the freedom of religion as well as the right to manifest, spread and observe the rights of his or her religion or faith −peacefully or unpeacefully.
  6. All persons must embrace peace in all places of worship in order to free our world of religious wars so that people are no longer victims of acts of terrorism based on religion.

Final remarks

Even though the perception of war has changed during the last decades, the hindrances attached with any armed conflict still remain. A country may eventually recover from the economic and environmental damages of war, but it will take decades to recover from its social and psychological effects.

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