Should wars ever be fought? Are there ever circumstances that call for
the use of deadly force? These questions have plagued humankind for all
of its existence. Different people have different individual beliefs about
war, and some of these beliefs change based on circumstance. Even religions,
which value peace and human life, find justification for war in certain
This lesson will examine the theory of a "Just War," which is
a Catholic doctrine that dates back to Hebrew Scriptures and has been
absorbed into modern political and international relations practices.
Through the use of video and Internet resources, students will learn about
the Just War theory, examine a specific example of what is commonly considered
to have been a Just War, develop their own moral viewpoints on war, and
relate their beliefs to current international situations.
Students will be able to:
- Use primary sources, such as news reports and video, to gather
information about current events and recent world history
- Examine prevailing religious and political philosophies and compare
them to various military actions
- Analyze the information gathered from these primary sources to draw
conclusions about the moral aspects of war
Standards for History
The student is able to identify issues and problems in the past and analyze
the interests, values, perspectives, and points of view of those involved
in the situation.
The student is able to marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances and
current factors contributing to contemporary problems and alternative
courses of action.
Standards for Social Studies
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the
study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic
York State Social Studies Standards
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their
understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning
points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from many
perspectives. (NYS SS 2)
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly: Religion, War, and Violence
This video segment provides the viewer with an abundance of information
about the Just War theory and the morality of war. The video includes
news clips, press conferences, and interviews with academic sources.
Yugoslavia Fact File
This Web site provides a history of the political, ethnic, and military
conflicts in Yugoslavia in the 20th Century. It includes maps that show
the changing landscape of the country, as well as pictures of leaders,
landmarks, and civilians.
Kosovo: As Seen, As Told
This report, which is on the Web site for the Organization for Security
and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), details the history of the conflicts
in Serbia and Kosovo, as well as violations of human rights and crimes
This Web page is a part of the site for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
It includes both an audio file and transcript of the story "Voices
of Dissent." It also includes numerous links to related articles
and Web sites.
- Chalkboard, whiteboard, or poster paper
- Appropriate writing utensil for your writing surface
- Tape (necessary if you are using poster paper so that you can display
the students' work)
- Pen or pencil
- Computer with Internet access
- Web site hyperlink document
- Graphic Organizer Response Sheet for student responses