Essay on War and Peace
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100 Words Essay on War and Peace
Understanding war and peace.
War and peace are two sides of the same coin, representing conflict and harmony respectively. War often arises from disagreements, leading to violence and destruction. On the other hand, peace symbolizes tranquility, unity, and cooperation.
The Impact of War
War can cause immense suffering and loss. It destroys homes, breaks families, and causes physical and emotional pain. Moreover, it can lead to economic instability and environmental damage, affecting future generations.
The Importance of Peace
Peace is essential for the well-being of individuals and societies. It fosters growth, prosperity, and happiness. Peace encourages dialogue, understanding, and mutual respect, helping to resolve conflicts peacefully.
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250 Words Essay on War and Peace
War and peace, two contrasting states, have shaped human civilization, politics, and cultural identity. The dichotomy between these two conditions is not merely a matter of physical conflict or tranquility but extends to philosophical, psychological, and ethical dimensions.
War: A Double-Edged Sword
War, often perceived as destructive, has paradoxically been a catalyst for some societal advancements. Technological innovations, political shifts, and social change have all been byproducts of war. However, the cost of these “benefits” is immense, leading to loss of life, displacement, and socioeconomic upheavals.
The Necessity of Peace
Peace, on the other hand, is a state of harmony and cooperation, conducive to prosperity, growth, and human development. It fosters an environment where creativity, innovation, and collaboration can thrive. Peace is not merely the absence of war but also the presence of justice and equality, which are fundamental for sustainable development.
Striking a Balance
The challenge lies in striking a balance between the pursuit of peace and the inevitability of war. This balance is not about accepting war as a necessary evil, but about understanding its causes and working towards preventing them. Peacebuilding efforts should focus on addressing root causes of conflict, like inequality and injustice, and promoting dialogue, understanding, and cooperation.
In conclusion, the complex relationship between war and peace is a reflection of the human condition. Striving for peace while understanding the realities of war is a delicate but necessary balance we must achieve. It is through this equilibrium that we can hope to progress as a society, ensuring a better future for generations to come.
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500 Words Essay on War and Peace
War and peace are two polar opposites, yet they are inextricably linked in the complex tapestry of human history. They represent the dual nature of humanity: our capacity for both destruction and harmony. This essay explores the intricate relationship between war and peace, the impacts they have on societies, and the philosophical perspectives that underpin both.
The Dualism of War and Peace
War and peace are not merely states of conflict and tranquility, but rather manifestations of human nature and societal structures. War, in its essence, is a reflection of our primal instincts for survival, dominance, and territoriality. It exposes the darker side of humanity, where violence and power struggles prevail. Conversely, peace symbolizes our capacity for cooperation, empathy, and mutual understanding. It showcases the brighter side of humanity, where dialogue and diplomacy reign.
Impacts of War and Peace
The impacts of war and peace are profound and far-reaching. War, while destructive, has often catalyzed technological advancement and societal change. The World Wars, for instance, led to the development of nuclear technology and the establishment of international bodies like the United Nations. However, the cost of war is immense, leading to loss of life, economic devastation, and psychological trauma.
On the other hand, peace allows societies to flourish. It fosters economic growth, social development, and cultural exchange. Yet, peace is not merely the absence of war. It requires active effort to maintain social justice, equality, and mutual respect among diverse groups.
War and peace have been subjects of philosophical debate for centuries. Realists argue that war is an inevitable part of human nature and international relations, while idealists contend that peace can be achieved through international cooperation and diplomacy.
Philosophers like Thomas Hobbes viewed humans as naturally combative, necessitating strong governance to maintain peace. Conversely, Immanuel Kant argued for ‘Perpetual Peace’ through democratic governance and international cooperation. These differing viewpoints reflect the complexity of war and peace, and the ongoing struggle to reconcile our violent instincts with our aspirations for a peaceful world.
In conclusion, war and peace are multifaceted concepts that reveal much about the human condition. Understanding their dynamics is crucial to shaping a world that leans towards peace, even as it acknowledges the realities of war. The challenge lies in mitigating the triggers of war and nurturing the conditions for peace. It is a task that requires not just political and diplomatic effort, but also a deep introspection into our collective values and aspirations.
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Essay on Peace
500 Words Essay Peace
Peace is the path we take for bringing growth and prosperity to society. If we do not have peace and harmony, achieving political strength, economic stability and cultural growth will be impossible. Moreover, before we transmit the notion of peace to others, it is vital for us to possess peace within. It is not a certain individual’s responsibility to maintain peace but everyone’s duty. Thus, an essay on peace will throw some light on the same topic.
Importance of Peace
History has been proof of the thousands of war which have taken place in all periods at different levels between nations. Thus, we learned that peace played an important role in ending these wars or even preventing some of them.
In fact, if you take a look at all religious scriptures and ceremonies, you will realize that all of them teach peace. They mostly advocate eliminating war and maintaining harmony. In other words, all of them hold out a sacred commitment to peace.
It is after the thousands of destructive wars that humans realized the importance of peace. Earth needs peace in order to survive. This applies to every angle including wars, pollution , natural disasters and more.
When peace and harmony are maintained, things will continue to run smoothly without any delay. Moreover, it can be a saviour for many who do not wish to engage in any disrupting activities or more.
In other words, while war destroys and disrupts, peace builds and strengthens as well as restores. Moreover, peace is personal which helps us achieve security and tranquillity and avoid anxiety and chaos to make our lives better.
How to Maintain Peace
There are many ways in which we can maintain peace at different levels. To begin with humankind, it is essential to maintain equality, security and justice to maintain the political order of any nation.
Further, we must promote the advancement of technology and science which will ultimately benefit all of humankind and maintain the welfare of people. In addition, introducing a global economic system will help eliminate divergence, mistrust and regional imbalance.
It is also essential to encourage ethics that promote ecological prosperity and incorporate solutions to resolve the environmental crisis. This will in turn share success and fulfil the responsibility of individuals to end historical prejudices.
Similarly, we must also adopt a mental and spiritual ideology that embodies a helpful attitude to spread harmony. We must also recognize diversity and integration for expressing emotion to enhance our friendship with everyone from different cultures.
Finally, it must be everyone’s noble mission to promote peace by expressing its contribution to the long-lasting well-being factor of everyone’s lives. Thus, we must all try our level best to maintain peace and harmony.
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Conclusion of the Essay on Peace
To sum it up, peace is essential to control the evils which damage our society. It is obvious that we will keep facing crises on many levels but we can manage them better with the help of peace. Moreover, peace is vital for humankind to survive and strive for a better future.
FAQ of Essay on Peace
Question 1: What is the importance of peace?
Answer 1: Peace is the way that helps us prevent inequity and violence. It is no less than a golden ticket to enter a new and bright future for mankind. Moreover, everyone plays an essential role in this so that everybody can get a more equal and peaceful world.
Question 2: What exactly is peace?
Answer 2: Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in which there is no hostility and violence. In social terms, we use it commonly to refer to a lack of conflict, such as war. Thus, it is freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups.
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Essay on War and Peace
No doubt war is an evil, the greatest catastrophe that befalls human beings. It brings death and destruction, disease and starvation, poverty, and ruin in its wake.
One has only to look back to the havoc that was wrought in various countries not many years ago, in order to estimate the destructive effects of war. A particularly disturbing side of modern wars is that they tend to become global so that they may engulf the entire world.
But there are people who consider war as something grand and heroic and regard it as something that brings out the best in men, but this does not alter the fact that war is a terrible, dreadful calamity.
This is especially so now that a war will now be fought with atom bombs. Some people say war is necessary. A glance at the past history will tell that war has been a recurrent phenomenon in the history of nation.
No period in world history has been the devastating effects of war. We have had wars of all types long and short. In view of this it seems futile to talk of permanent and everlasting peace or to make plans for the establishment of eternal peace.
We have had advocates of non violence and the theory of the brotherhood of man. We have had the Buddha, Christ and Mahatma Gandhi. But in spite of that, weapons have always been used, military force has always been employed, clashes of arms have always occurred; war has always been waged.
War has indeed been such a marked feature of every age and period that it has come to be regarded As part of the normal life of nations. Machiavelli, the author of the known book, The Prince, defined peace as an interval between two wars Molise, the famous German field marshal declared war to be part of God’s world order.
Poets and prophets have dreamt of a millennium, a utopia in which war will not exist and eternal peace will reign on earth. But these dreams have not been fulfilled. After the Great War of 1914-18, it was thought that there would be no war for a long time to come and an institution called the League of Nations was founded as a safeguard against the outbreak of war.
The occurrence of another war (1939-45), however, conclusively proved that to think of an unbroken peace is to be unrealistic And that no institution or assembly can ever ensure the permanence of peace.
The League of Nations collapsed completely under the tensions and stresses created by Hitler. The United Nations Organization with all the good work that It has been doing is not proving as effective as was desired.
Large numbers of Wars, the most recent ones being the one in Vietnam, the other between India and Pakistan, or indo-china War, Iran-Iraq war or Arab Israel war, have been fought despite the UN. The fact of the matter is that fighting in a natural instinct in man.
When individuals cannot live always in peace, it is, indeed, too much to expect so many nations to live in a state of Eternal peace. Besides, there will always be wide differences of opinion between various nation, different angles of looking at matters that have international importance, radical difference in policy and ideology and these cannot be settled by mere discussions.
So resort to war becomes necessary in such circumstances. Before the outbreak of World War II, for instance, the spread of Communism in Russia created distrust and suspicion in Europe, democracy was an eyesore to Nazi Germany, British Conservatives were apprehensive of the possibility of Britain going Communist.
In short, the political ideology of one country being abhorrent to other times were certainly not conducive to the continuance of peace. Add to all this the traditional enemities between nations and international disharmony that have their roots in past history.
For example, Germany wished to avenge the humiliating terms imposed upon her at the conclusion of the war of 1914-18 and desired to smash the British Empire and establish an empire of her own. Past wounds, in fact, were not healed up and goaded it to take revenge.
A feverish arms race was going on between the hostile nations in anticipation of such an eventuality, and disarmament efforts were proving futile. The Indo-Pakistan war was fought over the Kashmir issue.
The war in Vietnam Was due to ideological differences. It also appears that if peace were to continue for a long period, people would become sick of the monotony of life and would seek war for a changed man is a highly dynamic creature and it seems that he cannot remain contented merely with works of peace-the cultivation of arts, the development of material comforts, the extension of knowledge, the means and appliances of a happy life.
He wants something thrilling and full of excitement and he fights in order to get an outlet for his accumulated energy. It must be admitted, too, that war Has its good side. It spurs men to heroism and self-sacrifice. It is an incentive to scientific research and development. War is obviously an escape from the lethargy of peace.
Hamas Must Go
The terror group has proved again and again that it will sabotage any efforts to forge a lasting peace.
O ne morning in November 2012, I knocked on the door of President Barack Obama’s suite in the Raffles Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, so early that he was barely out of bed. I had an urgent question that could not wait for the president to finish his morning coffee: Should we try to broker a cease-fire in Gaza? Then, like now, the extreme Islamist terror group Hamas had sparked a crisis by indiscriminately attacking Israeli civilians. Israel had responded with air strikes, and a ground invasion of Gaza appeared imminent.
The president and I debated whether I should leave Asia, fly to the Middle East, and try to negotiate a halt to the fighting before the situation escalated further. The reason to go was clear: Stopping the violence would save lives and prevent the conflict from spiraling into a wider regional war.
The reasons not to go were more nuanced but also compelling. President Obama and I were both wary of suggesting that Israel did not have a right and a responsibility to defend itself against terrorists. If Hamas did not face consequences for its attacks, it would be emboldened to carry out more. We also knew Hamas had a history of breaking agreements and could not be trusted. For that matter, neither side seemed ready to pull back from the brink. Diplomacy is all about leverage and timing. If I tried and failed to negotiate a cease-fire, it would reduce America’s credibility in the region and lower the likelihood that we could reengage successfully later.
Ned Lazarus: I don’t see a better way out
In the end, we decided the risks were worth it. I headed to the region and began intense shuttle diplomacy among Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Late into the night in Cairo, I went line by line through a proposal I’d worked out with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. The Egyptians were on the phone with Hamas leaders in Gaza. Finally, I was able to announce that all parties had agreed to a truce.
On the long plane ride home, I asked my aide Jake Sullivan, who is now President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, if Hamas was abiding by the agreement we’d just struck. So far, he told me, the answer was yes. I was relieved that we’d prevented further bloodshed, but I worried that all we’d really managed to do was put a lid on a simmering cauldron that would likely boil over again in the future.
Unfortunately, that fear proved correct. In 2014, Hamas violated the cease-fire and started another war by abducting Israeli hostages and launching rocket attacks against civilians. Israel responded forcefully, but Hamas remained in control of Gaza. The terrorists re-armed, and the pattern repeated itself in 2021, with more civilians killed. This all culminated in the horrific massacre of Israeli civilians last month, the worst mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust.
This history suggests three insights for the current crisis and the future of this complex and volatile region. First, October 7 made clear that this bloody cycle must end and that Hamas cannot be allowed to once again retrench, re-arm, and launch new attacks—while continuing to use people in Gaza as expendable human shields. Second, a full cease-fire that leaves Hamas in power would be a mistake. For now, pursuing more limited humanitarian pauses that allow aid to get in and civilians and hostages to get out is a wiser course. Third, Israel’s long policy of containment has failed—it needs a new strategy and new leadership.
For me, Israel and Gaza are not just names on a map. I have grieved with Israeli families whose loved ones were abducted or killed in terrorist attacks. I have held the hands of the wounded in their hospital beds. In Jerusalem, I visited a bombed-out pizzeria and will never forget it.
I have also been to Gaza. I have talked with Palestinians who have suffered greatly from the conflicts of the past decades and dream of peace and a state of their own. Before Hamas seized power, I met women using microloans from the United States to start new businesses and become breadwinners for their families, including a dressmaker who—because she was finally able to buy a sewing machine—could send her two daughters to school. My decades of experience in the region taught me that Palestinian and Israeli parents may say different prayers at worship but they share the same hopes for their kids—just like Americans, just like parents everywhere.
That is why I am convinced Hamas must go. On October 7, these terrorists killed babies, raped women, and kidnapped innocent civilians. They continue to hold more than 200 hostages. They have proved again and again that they will not abide by cease-fires, will sabotage any efforts to forge a lasting peace, and will never stop attacking Israel.
Hamas does not speak for the Palestinian people. Hamas deliberately places military installations in and below hospitals and refugee camps because it is trying to maximize, not minimize, the impact on Palestinian civilians for its own propaganda purposes. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is heartbreaking—and every death means more blood on Hamas’s hands.
So the Biden administration is correct not to seek a full cease-fire at this moment, which would give Hamas a chance to re-arm and perpetuate the cycle of violence. Hamas would claim that it had won and it would remain a key part of Iran’s so-called axis of resistance.
Cease-fires freeze conflicts rather than resolve them. In 1999, the Serbian dictator Slobodan Milošević called for a cease-fire in Kosovo, where NATO air strikes were trying to stop his brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing. It was a cynical attempt to preserve Serbia’s control of Kosovo, and the Clinton administration continued bombing until Milošević’s forces withdrew. Today, global allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin call for a cease-fire in Ukraine because they know freezing the conflict will leave Russia in control of large swaths of Ukrainian territory that it seized illegally. Putin could reinforce his troops and then resume the conflict at a time of his choosing.
In 2012, freezing the conflict in Gaza was an outcome we and the Israelis were willing to accept. But Israel’s policy since 2009 of containing rather than destroying Hamas has failed. A cease-fire now that restored the pre–October 7 status quo ante would leave the people of Gaza living in a besieged enclave under the domination of terrorists and leave Israelis vulnerable to continued attacks. It would also consign hundreds of hostages to continued captivity.
Cease-fires can make it possible to pursue negotiations aimed at achieving a lasting peace, but only when the timing and balance of forces are right. Bosnia in the 1990s saw 34 failed cease-fires before the Clinton administration’s military intervention prompted all sides to stop fighting and finally negotiate a peace agreement. It is possible that if Israel dismantles Hamas’s infrastructure and military capacity and demonstrates that terrorism is a dead end, a new peace process could begin in the Middle East. But a cease-fire that leaves Hamas in power and eager to strike Israel will make this harder, if not impossible. For decades, Hamas has undermined every serious attempt at peace by launching new attacks, including the October 7 massacre that seems to have been designed, at least in part, to disrupt progress toward normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. (Those negotiations also aimed to bring important benefits for Palestinians.)
By contrast, the humanitarian pauses advocated by the Biden administration and tentatively accepted by the Israelis can save lives without rewarding Hamas. There is precedent: During previous wars in Gaza, Israel and Hamas agreed to a number of pauses so that relief could get into the area. Recent conflicts in Yemen and Sudan have also undergone brief humanitarian pauses. Whether for hours or days, breaks in the fighting can provide safety to aid workers and refugees. They could also help facilitate hostage negotiations, which is an urgent priority right now.
Rejecting a premature cease-fire does not mean defending all of Israel’s tactics, nor does it lessen Israel’s responsibility to comply with the laws of war. Minimizing civilian casualties is legally and morally necessary. It is also a strategic imperative. Israel’s long-term security depends on its achieving peaceful coexistence with neighbors who are prepared to accept its existence and its need for security. The disaster of October 7 has discredited the theory that Israel can contain Hamas, ignore the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and freeze Israeli control over Palestinians forever.
Yair Rosenberg: The day after Netanyahu
Going forward, Israel needs a new strategy and new leadership. Instead of the current ultra-right-wing government, it will need a government of national unity that’s rooted in the center of Israeli politics and can make the hard choices ahead. At home, it will have to reaffirm Israeli democracy after a tumultuous period. In Gaza, it should resist the urge to reoccupy the territory after the war, accept an internationally mandated interim administration for governing the Strip, and support regional efforts to reform and revive the Palestinian Authority so it has the credibility and the means to reassume control of Gaza. In the West Bank, it must clamp down on the violence perpetrated by extremist Israeli settlers and stop building new settlements that make it harder to imagine a future Palestinian state. Ultimately, the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a secure, democratic, Jewish state is by achieving two states for two peoples. And in the region, Israel should resume serious negotiations with Saudi Arabia and others to normalize relations and build a broad coalition to counter Iran.
For now, Israel should focus on freeing the hostages, increasing humanitarian aid, protecting civilians, and ensuring that Hamas terrorists can no longer murder families, abduct children, exploit civilians as human shields, or start new wars. But when the guns fall silent, the hard work of peace building must begin. There is no other choice.
War & Peace
"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), theoretical physicist
- February 9, 2022
- General English
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Latest lesson plans
This free ESL lesson plan on war and peace has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.
While there are currently more than 50 wars being fought around the world, resulting in the deaths of thousands and thousands every year, the trend since the end of the Cold War has been a steady reduction in deaths caused by conflict. This has led many to conclude that war is on its way out. Reasons for this, they proclaim, are the spread of democracy and globalisation of trade. Liberal democracies, so the theory goes, don’t wage war against each other. But we are entering a phase in history similar to other times in the past when global powers are competing to spread their spheres of influence. Alliances are forming, and the world is once again separating itself into opposing camps. Will we learn the mistakes of the past, or are we doomed to repeat them again? In this ESL lesson plan on war and peace, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the causes of war and how to prevent them.
This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for the International Day of Peace , which takes place in September. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.
For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers .
Reading activity Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):
The National Interest | World War III? Here Are 5 Conflict Hotspots to Keep an Eye On
The article lists five ongoing conflicts, or sources of tension, that have the potential to bubble over into a much wider conflict involving the world’s military powers. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?
Video activity To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.
The video for this class is a called “Rules of war (in a nutshell) | The Laws Of War” by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which explains the rules of war and how they are designed to protect civilians caught in the middle of conflicts.
The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.
This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including major wars from history, concerns over future wars, and which causes the students would be prepared to fight for.
After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with war and peace such as war crime , civil war and collateral damage . This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.
If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.
Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about war and peace. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the justifications for war, how future wars will be fought, and whether war is the result of human nature.
After the class, students will write about their opinion of war and peace. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.
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Thomas L. Friedman
The Most Revealing Moment From My Trip to Israel
By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist, reporting from Tel Aviv.
During my nine days of reporting recently in Israel and the West Bank, little did I know that the most revealing moment would come in the final hours of my visit. As I was packing to leave on Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a news conference in which he indicated that Israel and the United States do not have a shared vision of how Israel should complete its war in Gaza or how to convert any Israeli victory over Hamas into a lasting peace with the Palestinians.
Without such a shared strategy, the Biden administration and the American people, particularly American Jews who support Israel, will need to make some fateful decisions.
We will have to either become captives of Netanyahu’s strategy — which could take us all down with him — or articulate an American vision for how the Gaza war must end. That would require a Biden administration plan to create two states for two indigenous peoples living in the areas of Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.
Yes, I am talking about a wartime peace plan that, if Israel agreed, could help give Israel the time, legitimacy, allies and resources it needs to defeat Hamas — without getting stuck governing all of Gaza and all of the West Bank forever, with no political horizon for the Palestinians.
And have no illusion, Netanyahu is offering only one vision right now: Seven million Jews trying to govern five million Palestinians in perpetuity — and that is a prescription for disaster for Israel, America, Jews everywhere and America’s moderate Arab allies.
The Biden plan — are you sitting down? — could actually use as one of its starting points President Donald Trump’s proposal for a two-state solution, because Netanyahu embraced that in 2020, when he had a different coalition. (Netanyahu and his ambassador in Washington practically wrote the Trump plan.) More on that in a second.
Here is why we are at a juncture that demands bold ideas, starting this past Saturday night. Speaking in Hebrew in a news conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz, Netanyahu rejected U.S. and world concerns over the thousands of Palestinian lives already lost to the war to uproot Hamas from Gaza. Even more important, he declared that Israel’s military would remain in Gaza “as long as necessary” to prevent the Gaza Strip from ever again being used to launch attacks on Israeli civilians.
Gaza “will be demilitarized,” he said . “There will be no further threat from the Gaza Strip on Israel, and to ensure that, for as long as necessary, I.D.F. will control Gaza security to prevent terrorism from there,” he added, referring to the Israel Defense Forces.
Those are legitimate Israeli concerns, given the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7, but Netanyahu also indicated that Israel would oppose the return of the Palestinian Authority — Israel’s partner in the Oslo peace process that governs Palestinians in the West Bank — to Gaza after the war. The authority, Netanyahu said, is “a civil authority that educates its children to hate Israel, to kill Israelis, to eliminate the State of Israel … an authority that pays the families of murderers based on the number they murdered … an authority whose leader still has not condemned the terrible massacre 30 days later.”
Bibi — who never gives the Palestinian Authority credit for how it works every day with Israeli security officials to dampen violence in the West Bank — offered no suggestion of how and from where an alternative, legitimate Palestinian governing authority ready to work with Israel might emerge.
This was an in-your-face rebuke of the Biden administration position articulated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken last Wednesday. As The Times reported, Blinken declared during a meeting of foreign ministers in Tokyo that Gaza should be unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority once the war is over.
To retain America’s Arab and Western allies, Blinken said that right now — today — we must articulate “affirmative elements to get to a sustained peace.” And “these must include the Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations at the center of postcrisis governance in Gaza,” he said. “It must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”
My four-word translation of Blinken’s proposal to Israel: “Help us help you.”
Blinken, though, also offered no details of how that might happen. The Biden team needs to flesh that out.
Why is Netanyahu trying to destroy the Palestinian Authority as a governing option for a postwar Gaza? Because he is already campaigning to hold on to power after the Gaza war is over, and he knows there will be a huge surge of Israelis demanding he step down because of how he and his far-right cronies distracted and divided Israel and its military by pursuing a judicial coup that Israeli intelligence sources told Netanyahu was emboldening and tempting enemies such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
The only way Netanyahu can stay in power is if his far-right allies don’t abandon him, particularly Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. So to hold the support of the Jewish supremacists in his cabinet — some of whom want Israel to erect settlements in Gaza as soon as possible — Netanyahu has to declare now that the Palestinians will have no legitimate, independent representation in Gaza or the West Bank.
Yes, I know it is hard to believe, but Netanyahu is campaigning in the middle of this war.
It is time for President Biden to create a moment of truth for everyone — for Netanyahu, for the Palestinians and their supporters, for Israel and its supporters and for AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby. Biden needs to make clear that America will not be Netanyahu’s useful idiot. We are going to lay down the principles of a fair peace plan for the morning after this war — one that reflects our interests and that will also enable us to support Israel and moderate Palestinians and win the support of moderate Arabs for an economic reconstruction of Gaza after the war.
I cannot see any major economic support for the rebuilding of Gaza coming from Europe or from countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia unless Israel and some legitimate Palestinian authority are committed to the principles of a peace framework to create two states for two peoples.
Biden needs to say: “Israel, we are covering your flank militarily with our two aircraft carriers, financially with $14 billion in aid and diplomatically at the U.N. The price for that is your acceptance of a peace framework based on two states for two indigenous peoples in Gaza, the West Bank and pre-1967 Israel.” This plan is based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, which was also the cornerstone for negotiations in the peace plan put forward by Trump in 2020.
“Bibi, do you remember what you said about that Trump plan that gave Palestinians about 70 percent of the West Bank for a state, plus an expanded Gaza Strip and a capital in the area of Jerusalem?” Biden could add. “Here’s the Associated Press story of Jan. 28, 2020, to remind you: ‘Netanyahu called it a “historic breakthrough” equal in significance to the country’s declaration of independence in 1948.’”
The Palestinian Authority foolishly rejected the Trump plan outright instead of asking to use it as a starting point. This is a chance to make up for that mistake — or be exposed as unserious.
In his valuable new book on the history of the peace process, “ (In)Sights: Peacemaking in the Oslo Process Thirty Years and Counting ,” Gidi Grinstein, a member of Ehud Barak’s negotiating team at Camp David, argues that the Trump plan provides a natural foundation for a revived peace process for a two-state solution.
That is not only because Netanyahu already agreed to it, Grinstein told me in an interview, even if the settler hard-liners in his cabinet did not and still would not. It’s also viable because the Trump plan was actually based on the condition that peace was possible only after Hamas was removed from power in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority could assume control of the Gaza Strip, which, the Trump plan argued, would be expanded by land carved from Israel’s Negev Desert.
Biden could also propose that with the help of our moderate Arab allies, such as the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain, we would come up with a plan to overhaul the Palestinian Authority, purge its education system of anti-Israel material, upgrade its forces that work daily with Israeli security teams in the West Bank and phase out its financial support for Palestinian prisoners who harmed Israelis.
Is the Palestinian Authority up to such a deal? Are progressive Palestinian supporters in the West who chant the eliminationist mantra “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” up for it? Will Israel’s silent majority be if Hamas is defeated?
Let’s see what they all really stand for — or if they have a better answer — because neither is going to disappear. Biden needs to put them all to the test.
I know that a lot of American Jewish leaders privately would love Biden to put forward such a plan, but so far only one, Ronald Lauder, a longtime Republican and the president of the World Jewish Congress, has had the courage to call for it — in a Saudi newspaper, no less, in an essay titled, “A Time for Peace and a Two-State Solution.” As he explained, “Only a two-state solution would guarantee Israelis and Palestinians a life in dignity, safety and with a better perspective on the economic situation, which would lead to a sustainable future.”
Such a plan would protect America’s interests and make clear that we care about what’s best for Israelis and Palestinians and our allies in the region, not what’s best for Bibi’s political future — which several Israeli analysts told me would be to drag out the war, so he couldn’t be ousted by mass demonstrations, or to drag us into a conflict with Iran in hopes that it would overshadow all his mistakes.
If a two-state plan was embraced by Israel, even with reservations, it would reinforce for the world that Israel sees its war in Gaza as one of necessary self-defense and a prelude to lasting peace. And if such a plan was embraced by the Palestinian Authority, even with reservations, that would reinforce that the authority intends to be the alternative to Hamas in shaping an independent future for Palestinians alongside Israel — and that it will not be a bystander to Hamas’s madness or a victim of it.
The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram .
Thomas L. Friedman is the foreign affairs Opinion columnist. He joined the paper in 1981 and has won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is the author of seven books, including “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” which won the National Book Award. @ tomfriedman • Facebook
War and Peace
89 pages • 2 hours read
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- Book 1, Part 1
- Book 1, Part 2
- Book 1, Part 3
- Book 2, Part 1
- Book 2, Part 2
- Book 2, Part 3
- Book 2, Part 4
- Book 2, Part 5
- Book 3, Part 1
- Book 3, Part 2
- Book 3, Part 3
- Book 4, Part 1
- Book 4, Part 2
- Book 4, Part 3
- Book 4, Part 4
- Epilogue, Part 1
- Epilogue, Part 2
- Character Analysis
- Symbols & Motifs
- Important Quotes
- Essay Topics
Summary and Study Guide
War and Peace is a Russian historical fiction novel written by Leo Tolstoy, published in 1865-1869. The story charts the alliances and wars between Russia and France at the beginning of the 19th century, following the lives of characters swept along by historical events. War and Peace is heralded as one of the most important novels in Russian and world literature and has been adapted into films, television shows, and more.
Multiply nominated for both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Literature Prize, Tolstoy is considered one of the fathers of Russian literature and widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of all time. This guide uses the translation by Louise and Aylmer Maude, revised and edited by Amy Mandelker.
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In Saint Petersburg in 1805, rich people talk about Napoleon’s war in Western Europe. Many of the characters gather at a dinner party, including Pierre Bezukhov , the illegitimate son of a very wealthy man. Despite his awkward demeanor, he is intelligent and likable. Andrei Bolkonsky , an ambitious, clever young aristocrat, is an old friend of Pierre. Vasili Kuragin is a scheming nobleman who plots advantageous marriages for his children, the debauched and dashing Anatole and the beautiful but cold Helene. The Rostov family moves in similar social circles. Its patriarch, Count Rostov, is well meaning but bad with money. Middle daughter Natasha Rostov is an enchanting teenager on the verge of womanhood. Eldest brother Nikolai Rostov is an impetuous young man who dreams of joining the army. Their orphaned cousin Sonya also lives with the Rostov family.
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Napoleon’s French army invades Austria. Russia, Austria’s ally, sends troops to halt the invasion. Andrei and Nikolai are both sent to the front. Andrei is wounded and presumed dead, but he manages to survive the chaos and travels home.
In Moscow, Pierre’s father legitimizes Pierre as his heir and dies—this means Pierre inherits his father’s vast fortune. He quickly becomes a very eligible bachelor, and Vasili convinces him to marry Helene. Pierre agrees, even though he does not love Helene. Later, rumors abound in the city that Helene is sleeping with another man. Pierre challenges the man, an experienced soldier named Dolokhov , to a duel. Against the odds, he wounds Dolokhov, but the victory does not satisfy him.
Andrei’s wife gives birth to a son while he is missing. He arrives home just in time to see her die in childbirth. His religious sister Marya helps raise the baby while Andrei goes into mourning. Searching for meaning in life, Pierre joins the Freemasons to learn about their beliefs and spirituality. When he applies the Freemasons’ teachings to the running of his estate, the results are disastrous. He meets with Andrei and talks about the matter but discovers that his old friend has become cold and distant.
The Rostovs struggle to maintain their fortune. Count Rostov spends more than he earns, and Nikolai accrues a huge gambling debt in a game of cards against Dolokhov. Nikolai’s family encourages him to marry a rich young woman, but he only thinks about the military. Also, he loves the penniless Sonya and feels obliged to marry her. While with the army, Nikolai sees Tsar Alexander and is inspired by the monarch. Natasha grows into a beautiful young woman. She attracts a great deal of attention, including that of Andrei Bolkonsky. Andrei considers marrying Natasha, but his father refuses to give his approval. He insists that Andrei wait a year before the wedding. Natasha reluctantly accepts these terms while Andrei leaves to travel through Europe. Natasha pines for her fiancé.
Andrei’s father grows old and irritable. He takes out his anger on Marya, who turns to her Christian beliefs to help her forgive his behavior. Natasha, still missing Andrei, meets Anatole Kuragin . She is very attracted to him, and he hatches a plot to elope with her. The plan fails, and Anatole is chased out of the city. Andrei returns from Europe. He is disgusted by Natasha’s behavior and rejects her. Pierre tries to console the heartbroken Natasha and falls in love with her. Natasha attempts suicide but survives, slowly recovering her health.
Napoleon invades Russia in 1812. Andrei returns to the military, while Pierre becomes obsessed with the idea that he will kill Napoleon. The French army marches relentlessly through Russia toward Moscow, burning and looting everything in its path. Marya pleads with her father to leave the family estate as the French army draws close. The shock of the situation kills him. Marya tries to flee, but the local serfs trap her. Nikolai Rostov passes through the area with his army unit and saves Marya. Romantic feelings develop between them.
The decimated Russian army fights back against the French but cannot hold back Napoleon’s forces for long. Even as the high society parties in Saint Petersburg continue, the French take Moscow and burn the evacuated city to the ground. However, lacking supplies and resources, the French army flees after five weeks. Pierre remains in Moscow to try to kill Napoleon. His wife arranges a divorce but dies before she can marry again. Andrei is mortally wounded in a battle. The fleeing Rostov family discovers him, and Natasha refuses to leave his side. She nurses Andrei back to health. French soldiers capture Pierre and throw him in jail. As the French army retreats, he is forced to march with them. He witnesses numerous executions and a great deal of suffering on the long march through the harsh Russian winter.
Nikolai still feels committed to Sonya. He knows his family needs money, but he cannot abandon his promise to marry her, even though he has fallen in love with the wealthy Marya Bolkonsky . Sonya sends him a letter, freeing him from his promise. Marya goes to the Rostovs to see her dying brother. Andrei reconciles with Natasha and dies.
The Russian army chases the French. In one skirmish, they free Russian prisoners, including Pierre. On the same day, the young Petya Rostov is killed in the fighting.
Pierre spends three months recovering from his experiences. He returns to Moscow and visits Marya and Natasha. Both women are mourning the deaths of Andrei and Petya. Pierre realizes his love for Natasha. Eventually, with Marya’s help, they agree to marry. They have children and raise a family. Nikolai marries Marya and rebuilds his family fortune. He devotes himself to the careful management of his estates and becomes obsessed with his new responsibilities. Andrei’s orphaned son lives with Nikolai and his aunt Marya. As he grows older, he sees Pierre as a hero. Pierre and Natasha visit Nikolai and Marya. The two families are close, even though Pierre and Nikolai disagree on political matters. The novel ends with the two families enjoying their newfound happiness.
In the last section of the novel, Tolstoy merges with his narrator as he explains his views about historiography. Breaking with the tradition of the time, he does not subscribe to the “great man” style of history—the idea that solitary exemplary individuals make most important historical events happen. Instead, as his novel has taken pains to show, he believes that history is the result of many small, random coincidences that build up to influence whether, for example, a battle is won or lost. This randomness is the result of free will.
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War and Peace
By leo tolstoy, war and peace summary and analysis of epilogue.
Tolstoy pauses for a long, essayistic critique of the ‘great men’ theory of history, which says that great individuals (usually rulers) determine the course of history. Tolstoy argues that broader circumstances, caused by infinite minute decisions, are actually responsible for major historical events. He tells Napoleon ’s life story and explains how its events were driven not by Napoleon, but by external circumstances.
Count Rostov dies. Nikolai inherits the estate, along with a mountain of debts. He is poor for a few years, and tries to support his mother on a soldier’s salary. Natasha marries Pierre and becomes an extremely dedicated wife and mother. Nikolai resolves his debts through a combination of hard work and marriage to Princess Marya. He becomes a very successful farmer because he cares about his peasants’ needs. Sonya lives with Nikolai and Princess Marya, and works as a kind of servant. Marya and Nikolai’s children often become sources of discord between the married couple. Pierre remains active in the Freemasons.
Tolstoy discusses the relationship between the life of a nation and the lives of individuals. He explores the question of whether people have free will if, as he argues, history is predestined. He argues that God resolves the tension between freedom and historical necessity. Individual freedom is the ultimate force that drives human history. They’re not at odds, Tolstoy says; necessity follows from freedom.
Tolstoy’s epilogue to War and Peace is notorious for its subversion of what an epilogue normally does. Instead of providing closure to the main story, this epilogue continues the main story but raises new questions rather than simply resolving old ones. When Pierre goes to Moscow on Freemason business, Tolstoy elliptically refers to the upheavals that would take place in that organization in the nineteenth century. However, he leaves the reader to guess how this might affect his characters.
In the epilogue, which takes place in 1820 (eight years after the end of Volume IV), Tolstoy offers us glimpses into two marriages – those of Natasha and Pierre, and of Nikolai and Marya. The tension in Nikolai and Marya’s relationship evokes the many small tragedies that led to it in the first place: Marya’s imprisonment by the violent muzhiks, Nikolai’s cold rejection of Sonya, Prince Andrei’s deathbed advice to his sister. In contrast, Pierre and Natasha have no such baggage. Although their marriage may come as a surprise, it is built on platonic friendship and self-sacrifice. This leads the novel’s two main characters to a loving and tranquil relationship based around a recognition of life's simplicity.
Tolstoy’s sophisticated essays in this section are some of the most challenging parts of the novel, and some translations even omit them. However, they help tie the novel’s many subplots together. War and Peace ’s many vignettes of military and home life all illustrate the relationship between individual free will and historical predestination (or, as Tolstoy calls it, ‘necessity’).
According to Tolstoy, no individual can change the course of history. Since history is determined by so many minute decisions by so many people, no single person – however powerful – can bend history to his or her will. This worldview is radically democratic, and it explains the parity in the story between real historical figures like Napoleon and Kutuzov, and insignificant fictional characters like Sonya and Pyotr Rostov . If anything, the real historical characters in War and Peace lack the emotional power of the fictional ones.
However, history also affects individual lives. In some ways, this novel can be read as a treatise on the devastating toll that national conflict takes on individual people. Every character either dies or suffers a major loss in their family, and many of these tragedies are directly or indirectly caused by war. War also elevates those who sometimes do not deserve it; consider Dolokhov ’s status as a war hero, or Boris Drubetskoy ’s astonishing ascent into high society. The novel ends with these philosophical thoughts, which implicitly makes Tolstoy's point that what is in our power as individuals are the choices we make, and our willingness to accept the simplicity of faith. We can make others happy and attempt to make ourselves happy, we can continue to ask questions about morality rather than acting selfishly, and we can enjoy life, thankful for when it is good.
War and Peace Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for War and Peace is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
With which statement would the author most likely agree
I'm sorry, "with which statement" implies this is a multiple choice question. Please provide all necessary information in your posts.
how did rostov distinguish himself in his first real battle.
D:he led a calavry charge down a hill and caputred a french captain.
Why does Prince Andrew's father insist his son goes abroad for a year.
Prince Andrew wishes to marry, and his does not approve. He tells his son to wait a year and go abroad, hoping that the time away, in addition to the experiences, will change his mind about rushing into marriage.
Study Guide for War and Peace
War and Peace study guide contains a biography of Leo Tolstoy, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About War and Peace
- War and Peace Summary
- Character List
Essays for War and Peace
War and Peace essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
- Pierre's Abortive Mission
- Self-Begotten Fantasy in Gatsby and War and Peace: Satiating the Spiritual Void
- Liza's Significance in War and Peace
- The Question of Suicide in War and Peace and Anna Karenina
- The Tolstoyan Ideal of Divine Love: Platon and Natasha Examined
Lesson Plan for War and Peace
- About the Author
- Study Objectives
- Common Core Standards
- Introduction to War and Peace
- Relationship to Other Books
- Bringing in Technology
- Notes to the Teacher
- Related Links
- War and Peace Bibliography
E-Text of War and Peace
War and Peace e-text contains the full text of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
- Book I, Chapters 1-5
- Book I, Chapters 6-10
- Book I, Chapters 11-15
- Book I, Chapters 16-20
- Book I, Chapters 21-25
Wikipedia Entries for War and Peace
- Composition history
- Background and historical context
- My Preferences
- My Reading List
- War and Peace
- Literature Notes
- Book Summary
- Character List
- Summary and Analysis
- Book I: Chapters 1–6
- Book I: Chapters 7–21
- Book I: Chapters 22–25
- Book II: Chapters 1–8
- Book II: Chapters 9–21
- Book III: Chapters 1–5
- Book III: Chapters 6–8
- Book III: Chapters 9–19
- Book IV: Chapters 1–6
- Book IV: Chapters 7–9
- Book IV: Chapters 10–16
- Book V: Chapters 1–14
- Book V: Chapters 15–22
- Book VI: Chapters 1–10
- Book VI: Chapters 11–26
- Book VIII: Chapters 1–5
- Book VIII: Chapters 6–22
- Book IX: Chapters 1–7
- Book IX: Chapters 8–15
- Book IX: Chapters 16–23
- Book X: Chapters 1–14
- Book X: Chapters 15–25
- Book X: Chapters 26–39
- Book XI: Chapters 1–12
- Book XI: Chapters 13–29
- Book XI: Chapters 30–34
- Book XII: Chapters 1–13
- Book XII: Chapters 14–16
- Book XV: Chapters 1–3
- Book XV: Chapters 4–11
- Book XV: Chapters 12–20
- First Epilogue
- Second Epilogue
- Character Analysis
- Pierre Bezuhov
- Prince Andrey Bolkonsky
- Natasha Rostov
- Nikolay Rostov
- Historical Figures
- Leo Tolstoy Biography
- Critical Essays
- Structure of War and Peace
- Themes in War and Peace
- Technical Devices Used in War and Peace
- Essay Questions
- Cite this Literature Note
We are introduced to the major families through the vehicle of a soiree at the Anna Pavlovna's home, a name-day celebration at the Rostovs, and a description of the isolated existence of the Bolkonskys at their country seat. Prince Andrey and Pierre discuss their futures and what they seek in life, both young men idealizing the"man of destiny" who is soon to invade Russia. Old Count Bezuhov dies, leaving Pierre wealthy, titled, and the most eligible bachelor in Petersburg.
Nikolay Rostov and Prince Andrey undergo their first war experience at the battle of Schöngraben. They each discover the ineffectuality of the individual in a mass situation. Nikolay accepts being a"cog in a machine" and Andrey rejects being part of the administering forces, choosing, instead, to fight at the front.
Pierre marries Ellen; Anatole unsuccessfully courts Marya. Andrey attends the war council on the eve of Austerlitz and wishes to be a hero.
He is wounded during the battle. Compared to the limitless sky, which symbolizes death, Napoleon seems to Andrey petty and insignificant.
Nikolay, with Denisov, is home on leave and he ignores his sweetheart Sonya. Pierre wounds Dolohov in a duel over Ellen's alleged infidelity. Liza Bolkonsky dies giving birth to a son, leaving Andrey with a deep sense of unassuageable guilt. Dolohov falls in love with Sonya and avenges her rejection of him by fleecing Nikolay during a card game."Intensity" is the keynote of this section, shown by incidents of love and hate, life and death.
Separated from his wife, Pierre devotes himself to"goodness," by joining the masons and by an inept reforming of his estates. He and the retired Andrey have a discussion about the meaning of life and death and Andrey is inspired with new hope. The significance of their exchange points out the contrast between Pierre and Andrey. Meanwhile Nikolay has rejoined his starving regiment and Denisov faces court-martial for stealing food for his men. Nikolay asks the tsar for Denisov's pardon and witnesses the meeting between Napoleon and Alexander, a meeting between the old and new orders of government. His petition rejected, Nikolay decides the sovereign knows best and submits to"higher authority."
This is an account of"real life," as opposed to politics, where the"inner man" is more significant than the"outer man." Andrey becomes involved with Speransky's circle of reformers, but when he falls in love with Natasha these activities pall for him. Pierre becomes disillusioned with masonry, while Princess Marya is made more unhappy by her father. The Rostovs' financial problems increase, and Andrey goes to Switzerland.
With the wolf hunt, the sleigh ride, Christmas celebrations, and family harmony, the Rostovs enjoy the last period of their"youth." Natasha's restlessness increases during Andrey's absence, the family is almost bankrupt, and there is foreboding of hard times to come as the children enter adulthood.
Natasha meets Anatole during the opera and is almost abducted by him. During her near-nervous breakdown, Pierre emerges as her comforter and their love is implied.
The life-and-death struggle against France begins, with Napoleon depicted as a glory-seeking fool. Andrey turns away from his past and commits himself to the men in his regiment, who adore him. Nikolay refrains from killing a Frenchman and is decorated for bravery because he took a prisoner. Natasha slowly recovers, aided by religious faith. Petya joins the army out of a youthful patriotism which Pierre also shares. The Russians respond massively to the national threat, and Pierre feels within him an"ultimate mission" involving his love, the comet, Napoleon, and the war itself.
The French who are penetrating Russia march toward their doom in the"irresistible tide" of destiny. The old prince dies and Marya moves her household to Moscow, but the war looms closer. Despite the national upheaval, the Petersburg salons remain the same. Marya and Nikolay have a romantic first meeting, while Pierre visits the deathmarked Andrey on the eve of Borodino. The battle is described as a death duel, with the Russians winning morally, if not physically. This marks the turning point from defeat to victory for Russia.
Tolstoy discusses mass activity as a combination of"infinitesimal units of activity" and provides a short summary of past and future events. Moscow's abandonment and burning is the great deed that saves Russia and the moment-by-moment details of the event are discussed, including Rastoptchin's last-minute bid for glory at the expense of the cause he pretends to further. The Rostovs leave Moscow, their caravan including the mortally wounded Prince Andrey. He is reunited with Natasha, who nurses him. So close to death, Andrey understands the quality of divine love. Truth results from a life-death confrontation. Pierre conceives the plan to assassinate Napoleon, but other incidents show he is destined to fail.
Nikolay and Marya meet again in the provinces, and Marya travels to see her brother. She and Natasha are with him when he dies. Pierre is nearly executed by the French, who accuse him of incendiarism. He experiences a"rebirth" in prison through Karataev, an almost mythic figure symbolizing the unity of love and hate, life and death.
The end of the war is in sight as the French retreat more and more rapidly. Their retreat is the"fruit" of"unconscious activity" rather than the will of Napoleon. Pierre discovers an intense freedom in prison.
This period of guerilla fighting involves Denisov, Dolohov, and Petya, who gets killed. A surprise attack led by Denisov and Dolohov frees Pierre and other prisoners. In a flashback we learn how Karataev died, and what Pierre suffered and overcame during the death march. Death and decay are part of the processes of life and growth.
Natasha and Marya are recalled from their mourning into active life: Marya by her household responsibilities, Natasha by exercising love to comfort her bereaved mother. As the war history is over, Kutuzov's career ends. A new era begins to disclose itself with Russia's entrance into international leadership. Tolstoy apotheosizes Kutuzov. Pierre and Natasha meet again.
Tolstoy details the"happy ending" of the careers of his fictional characters in scenes to show the domestic happiness of Nikolay and Marya Rostov, Natasha and Pierre Bezuhov. The cycle of life begins anew as Nikolinka, Andrey's son, comes of age and desires to be like Pierre and like his father.
This is the philosophical exegesis wherein Tolstoy shows that"free will" is a mere construct which historians use to explain the movements of nations and people. Causality is impossible to descry when we regard the pattern of historical events, and the concept of"free will" prevents deep understanding of the nature of history. The paradox, however, is inescapable: We need to maintain the illusion of free will in order to carry on our daily lives, for our hopes, our basic beliefs depend on this notion of an inner consciousness; at the same time we are victims of innumerable and infinitesimal constraints of necessity which spell out our destiny and we are not"free" at all.
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