What wars have been known to be Just Wars, when the wars took place to defend the rights of everyone.  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, a war that is seen as a just war on one side will not necessarily be seen in that way on the other side.  I can think of two wars that were seen as just wars by most people, at least in the West.  These were World War II and the Persian Gulf War of 1991.

World War II, at least on the part of the Allies, is generally seen as a just war.  The Allies entered the war in Europe in order to stop Hitler and the Nazis from taking over most of that continent.  Their entry into the war came as a response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.  If anything, the Allies started the war too late and should have gone to war with Germany earlier.  The Soviet Union entered the war to defend itself and the US entered the war in part to defeat Naziism and in part to push Japan out of the empire it was taking for itself in the Pacific.  All of this was, at least arguably, done to protect rights and not to take territory for the Allies.

We can also argue that the Gulf War of 1991 was a just war.  In that war, the US and a broad coalition of allies cooperated to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.  Iraq had invaded and taken over Kuwait as an act of territorial aggrandizement.  Essentially every country in the world believed that Iraq had no right to do this and that it was just to drive the invaders out.  The argument that this was a just war was bolstered by President Bush’s decision not to invade Iraq when the Iraqi army had been expelled from Kuwait.

As an afterthought, the Korean War certainly began as a just war.  This was a war that began as a way to repel a North Korean invasion of South Korea.  However, the war soon went beyond that as the US invaded North Korea.  This makes it harder to characterize this as a clearly just war.

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