Unconditional Surrender: A Modern Paradox   [open pdf - 142KB]

"This study determines whether or not unconditional surrender leads to a more lasting peace. The answer is paradoxical"yes, unconditional surrender can achieve the desired effects; however, it is no longer a suitable policy in the twenty-first century, due to the threat of nuclear escalation and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Using the methodology of historical and descriptive comparison, the findings reveal the following: persistence of bellicose means and will have a direct impact on the duration of the ensuing peace; and victory results in a more lasting peace when the enemys will is removed. Considerable attention should also be given to post war settlement efforts with regard to financial aid and reconstruction. The Marshall Plan is a prime example. The findings also discover the existence of a perceived cultural bias in the West towards warfighting. This bias is described as the Western lens, which places inordinate significance on the aspects of time and decisiveness that can produce false expectations. Although demanding unconditional surrender, carte blanche, is not likely in the foreseeable future, there are methods governments can use to ensure certain conditions for war termination are met unconditionally. As long as these conditions remove an adversarys belligerent intentions, then the possibility exists for an enduring peace to ensue."

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