War or Peace

3/18/2022 1:32:19 PM

War or Peace

“I decided to give atomic secrets to the Russians because it seemed to me that it was important that there should be no monopoly, which could turn one nation into a menace and turn it loose on the world as ... Nazi Germany developed. There seemed to be only one answer to what one should do. The right thing to do was to act to break the American monopoly.”

The direct confession of Theodore Hall, aka Theodore Alvin Holtzberg, in an interview for the TV series Cold War on CNN in 1998. [1]

Who's Theodore?

One of the American physicists participating in the Manhattan Project in which the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were produced. This scientist gave his knowledge of making a nuclear bomb to the Soviet Union (Russia) after the end of world war II.[2]

It's still questionable whether this act is counted as a betrayal or a heroic act that put the world powers into equilibrium, therefore preventing nuclear wars!

Although war or intergroup violence might have a picture with horrifying and suffering scenes, it is a well-known phenomenon in the history of humans.[3–5]

How do people choose to support or oppose war? Unfortunately, scarce research is available on this subject because, since world war II, scholars believed that people took rational decisions on wars in order to maximize collective/ individual utility and welfare[6]

Instead, most of the literature is focused on predicting leaders' decisions![7–9]

At the moment, we live in a world where people can easily access information and participate in the decision-making of their nations and the world as a whole!

Thus, the people’s decisions on war cannot be ignored.

The literature has shown mainly two approaches the people take when deciding on war. The first one is a consequentialist approach; from its term, this approach mainly focuses on rational decision-making based on material consequences or outcomes.[10–12].Whereas the second approach, known as deontological reasoning, is primarily focused on moral values, and it's all independent and disproportionate of expected outcomes of success! [13, 14] What does this mean?

Simply deontological reasoning is like this:

“I don't choose war because of the political and the economic power that might be reached, but because I believe, according to my moral values, according to my religion, etc. Because this is the right and the noble  thing to do!”

A study conducted by Jeremy Ginges and Scott Atran in 2011 mainly focused on deontological reasoning on various people from different cultures and backgrounds in the middle east, the USA, and Nigeria. The results showed that deontological decision-making is disproportionate to successful outcomes and independent of gender.[15]

For instance, if a Jihadist is asked for a suicide attack, he won't be thinking about the death of the children and the innocent people; he won't be thinking of the collapsing infrastructure or even his life! He only cares about what he believes to be the right act based on his religious and moral values and nothing more than that! 

This can clearly represent the reason behind the trajectory of terrorism that is entirely far from rational thinking and humanitarian values!

Don't worry, not all people are like this, and sometimes some take rational or humanitarian reasoning exactly like what Theodore Hall did according to his seemingly humanitarian beliefs!

By: Kawthar Mohamed

The administrative of the UJA Team

Poster Design: Alireza Bagheri

The manager of the USERN Design Team

Acknowledgment: This UQR is dedicated to all oppressed people with the hope of having a more peaceful world!


1.      Dornan E (2012) Forgotten Tales of New Mexico. History Press

2.      Theodore Hall. In: Atomic Heritage Foundation. https://www.atomicheritage.org/profile/theodore-hall.Accessed 11 Mar 2022

3.      Bowles S (2006) Group competition, reproductive leveling, and the evolution of human altruism. Science 314:1569–1572

4.      Keeley LH (1996) War Before Civilization. Oxford University Press, USA

5.      (2016) International Committee of the Red Cross. In: International Committee of the Red Cross. http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/p0758?Accessed 11 Mar 2022

6.      Von Clausewitz C (1956) On war (vol. I). Routledge & Kegan Paul

7.      Berman E, Laitin DD (2008) Religion, terrorism and public goods: Testing the club model. J Public Econ 92:1942–1967

8.      Herrmann RK, Tetlock PE, Visser PS (1999) Mass Public Decisions on Go to War: A Cognitive-Interactionist Framework. Am Polit Sci Rev 93:553–573

9.      Humphreys M, Weinstein JM (2008) Who fights? The determinants of participation in civil war. Am J Pol Sci 52:436–455

10.   Hume D (1975) An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Bobbs-Merrill, 1955). A Treatise of Human Nature (Book 1), Fontana

11.   Bentham J (1988) The principles of morals and legislation Amherst. NY: Prometheus Books

12.   (1871) Bibliographical Notices. Boston Med Surg J 84:49–49

13.   Timasheff NS, Gerth HH, Mills CW (1958) From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. The American Catholic Sociological Review 19:157

14.   Durkheim É (2008) The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Oxford University Press

15.   Ginges J, Atran S (2011) War as a moral imperative (not just practical politics by other means). Proc Biol Sci 278:2930–2938

Last news

    Read more ...

    Last milstones

      Read more ...

      Last events

        Read more ...

        Last quick reads

          Read more ...

          Last other news

            Read more ...