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“Why Men Fight” by Patton Review


The topics of war and peace have been of considerable time to people from times immemorial (JCS, 2009). This paper considers and compares three scholarly articles concerned with this topic, and namely with the questions of why people start fighting, why they stop the fight, and how the peace can be prolonged. The articles analyzed in this paper include “Understanding Causes of War and Peace” by Ohlson (2008), “Why Men Fight” by Patton (1927), and “Human Insecurity” by Andelman (2009).

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Dependant and Independent Variables Used

Needless to say, the articles under analysis are skillful scholarly works, and this involves the articles having the proper methodology and examination of the relation between the dependent and independent variables established by the authors. Thus, Ohlson (2008) has the different degrees of peace as the dependant variables for his research, while factors that condition this or that state of peace or war, i. e. the group of factors labeled as the Triple-R by the author, serve as the independent variables for this research. Patton (1927) similarly uses the states of war and peace as dependant variables, while the independent ones are the two major drivers for the human aggression that Patton (1927) defines as “belly lust” and sex. Finally, Andelman (2009) considers the ways to save the mankind from the destruction by war and violence. The dependant variable he uses is the existence of the humanity, while war and violence are the independent ones.

Level of Analysis

Further on, in the articles under consideration their authors present their findings and arguments at the proper levels of analysis. Thus, Ohlson (2008) uses the generalized but comprehensive level of analysis in his research that allows the author to concentrate on the problem of war and piece in general, but also consider the specific examples and ideas by reputable scholars, and make the similarly generalized and comprehensive conclusions. The level of analysis implemented by Patton (1927) is deeper and narrower in scope at the same time. Patton (1927) starts with the consideration of the general issues surrounding war and peace, but concludes with the ways to prepare the generation of the well prepared and perfectly educated soldiers for the next wars American nation was inevitably about to face according to Patton (1927). So, this analysis level might be also called the deductive analysis. Finally, Andelman (2009) uses the descriptive analysis as he accounts for the number of factors evidencing the need to stop violence and develop peaceful cooperation among nations.

Methodological Stance Observed

As well, scholars carry out the research work and report its findings using the methodological stance appropriate for the topics and main focuses of the articles. In this respect, the methodological stance used by Ohlson (2008) can be characterized as a positivist (Johnson and Reynolds, 2007, p. 112) one because the author discusses his findings in the context of the data retrieved by other scholars in the topic of fighting among humans. The methodology used by Patton (1927) is closer to the empirical one as the author not only presents the account on the basic problems related to war and peace, but also gives specific research data on what steps need to be taken to better educate the nation on the causes of war and either avoid it or be prepared to it in case if it becomes inevitable. The methodological stance used by Andelman (2009) is a combination of the reflexivist and positivist methods as the author considers the data about the negative consequences of war and reflects upon the potential development of the mankind in case if those consequences are not considered and respective changes are not made (Johnson and Reynolds, 2007, p. 114).

Best Evidence to Support Arguments

The consideration of the three articles under analysis allows making assessments about the best use of the specific research-based evidence to support the scholarly ideas expressed by the authors. Ohlson (2008) and Patton (1927) implement research evidence equally good in their articles, which make them both the most skillful scholarly authors among the considered ones. Thus, Ohlson (2008) supports his arguments by the wide variety of scholarly literature reviewed in his article. As well, this author provides two basic theories of conflict and its settlement that are the Three-R theory and the idea of three MHS concepts. Patton’s (1927) argument acquires its support from the skillfully combined philosophical and theoretical ideas regarding war and peace with the specific knowledge about the US military advances. This combination of theory and practice in Patton’s (1927) work makes it rather credible.

Argument with Weak Evidence Support

At the same time, among the analyzed articles, the one by Andelman (2009) can obviously be characterized with the weakest level of evidence implementation for the purposes of argument support. Such an impression about the article is formed in the reader’s mind at once after the reading is completed. The author introduces his idea of the essential need for peace on Earth by presenting the death rates of the US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan but than goes further to rather philosophical considerations that have little to do with the scholarly publication dealing with human psychology. Andelman (2009) goes further to list the sings of the coming collapse of the humanity, considers the threat of the nuclear destruction of Earth, and concludes with the claim to the humanity to direct its effort and resources in the positive vector. In spite of being a professional editorial, this article lacks actual scholarly evidence support.

Common Assumptions and Ideas

Naturally, the three articles considering the same topic, i. e. the reasons for war and peace and the ways to prolong the latter have common ideas among them. For example, the most significant similar idea expressed by Andelman (2009), Ohlson (2008), and Patton (1927) is the need to understand the factors causing war and use this understanding for preserving the peace. As well, the commonalty is observed among the articles in the authors’ idea that human nature driven by the same factors, i. e. need for security, food, and physiological satisfaction, are the basic causes of aggression, fighting, and wars. At the same time, the common point that all three articles share is the use of the research variables. Andelman (2009), Ohlson (2008), and Patton (1927) see the state of war or peace as a dependent variable, while the man-made causes for each of the states are considered to the independent variables.

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Thinking Evolution

Based on the ideas presented by Ohlson (2008), Patton (1927), and Andelman (2009), another similarity can be found among them as no obvious evolution in the way of thinking about war and fighting and their causes can be observed. For example, if the works by Ohlson (2008) and Patton (1927) are compared, the causes of wars and fighting as such among human beings are the same, and their relations are similar as well. The only possible evolution that might be noticed is the way in which these caused are analyzed and presented to the reader. The scholars of today have access to the more developed social science and psychology findings, and can operate with the greater number of scientific terms to explain the same phenomena that were described in simple terms in the early 20th century. The reason for the lack of evolution in thinking about the causes of war and peace is the human nature that stays the same irrespective of the epoch it is considered in.

Authors’ Data

The ideas expressed by Ohlson (2008), Patton (1927), and Andelman (2009) can also be explained by their backgrounds. Thus, Thomas Ohlson is a professor of peace and conflict who teaches and carries out empirical research activities in various countries of Europe and Americas. Mr. Ohlson has the wide range of publications and a considerable experience in studying peace and conflict, and this fact explains the strong theoretical basis of his article. David Andelman is an editor of the World Policy Journal and a journalist with the considerable experience in highlighting the international events. This experience is reflected in the manner of writing, as Andelman (2009) covers the whole scope of the global events, but it is not very credible in the world of scholarly publications. Finally, George Patton was the US Army General mostly famous for his World War II military operations. This direct military experience combined with the proper educational basis allowed Patton to compile a skillful scholarly article on peace and conflict relations in the human society.

Additional Research Questions

Being rather complete and credible scholarly work, neither of the articles discussed above contains explicit and evident proposals for the further research. Nor contain these articles the research questions that other scholars might be challenged by in the future. However, the very topic of peace and conflict in the human society, as touched upon in these articles, allows formulating the following research question for the further work in the above mentioned direction:

  1. Do the causes of war and peace change over time? (Given that the causes argued about by scholars are adequate)
  2. What are the factors that might change the causes of wars and conflicts in the human society?
  3. How do these factors work, given that they exist, and what are the contexts in which these factors work with the best efficiency?

Further Study Ideas

Drawing from the above questions for further research, the following ideas for further work in studying peace and conflict appear. First, it might be useful to carry out the questionnaire survey with a large sample or participants (more than 1,000 people) in order to identify the major causes of anger and violent mood in ordinary people. The similar study might be carried out among the militaries in order to identify the factors that drive them to take up the service and risk their lives in violent conflicts. The two proposed study direction might be the platforms for the further research in the topic of peace and conflict in the human society.


JCS. 2009. Why Men Fight? Something About Everything Military. On-line. Web.

Johnson, Janet Butolph and H. T. Reynolds. 2007. Political Science Research Methods CQ Press; 6th edition.

Ohlson, Thomas. 2008. Understanding Causes of War and Peace. European Journal of International Relations 14 (133): 133 – 160.

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Patton, George S. 1927. Why Men Fight. M1 Garand. On-line. 2009. Web.

Andelman, David A. 2009. Human Insecurity. World Policy Journal: 1 – 2.

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