“War doesn’t show who’s right just who’s left.” Do you agree? Support your answer with relevant examples and arguments.     

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that this statement is true.  The best argument for it is that the side that is morally better does not always win the war.

If war showed who was right, the "good guys" would always win.  But this has not always happened in world history.  Examples of this depend to some extent on who you think is the good guys and who is the bad guys.  One example that comes to mind is the Mexican-American War.  The purpose behind that war was the US desire to take territory away from Mexico.  This was not a good purpose but the US won anyway.  Another example would be the Vietnam War.  The North Vietnamese goal was to impose a communist dictatorship on the South.  This was not a good goal, but they won.  These sorts of examples show that the better side in a war does not always win.  That proves that war doesn't always show whose cause is morally better.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two quotations that seem to answer this question: (1) History is written by the victors; and (2) The first casualty of war is truth.  As a teacher of Advanced Placement history courses, I often stress to my students the importance of understanding point of view; the fact that no one is completely unbiased. The Mexican War, cited above, is an excellent example; but one might also consider the World Wars. Most U.S. History books scarcely mention the utter devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; by contrast the Japanese pay little attention to Pearl Harbor. Interestingly war crimes trials were only for the losers. No allies were accused of war crimes. So the statement is largely true; it indicates quite accurately that the victors make the rules ex post facto.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In some ways, if you consider the wholesale slaughter of other human beings to be wrong, then the quote is absolutely true.  Because anyone involved in a war would not be right and at the end someone might be "left."

It can be an interesting question though to talk about whether there are "good guys" and bad guys and who wins.

The Russians basically won WWII for the allies, then went on to kill millions of their own people, so who's right in that one?  It looks more like a question of who is left and in that case it was Stalin.  Not necessarily the guy you want to be left.

justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a perfect quote to describe what war is all about.

The "left" in the quote can refer to either the side that wasn't right or the side that was at the end of the War not eliminated and was in a sense the side left (alive).

War is seldom about the right winning and the wrong losing because "right" or "wrong" is not objective. What is right for one side is wrong for the other and vice versa.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The quote "Might Makes Right" comes to mind.  All sides invoke some form of the Almighty during conflict; the victors, of course, claim special blessing.  Whether driven by moral certitudes, political ambitions, quest for resources, or plain old-fashioned greed, the results of warfare are exactly the same -- many die, then the conquerers impose their will upon the conquered.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
It is true that the victor of a war is not necessarily the one who is morally right. The army with the most strength wins. However, being right has it's advantages. History is full of small bands of soldiers with nothing but their ideals who beat a more powerful force. Never underestimate the benefits of moral righteousness.
americangenius | Student

I do agree. Country's don't sit down to listen to each other in order to have peace, and to see each others side of the story. It's just who has the largest army and which every one is standing at the end wins. Basically, they fight with their guns and other weapons instead of their most powerful muscle in their bodies, their brains.