Archive for May 6th, 2014

May 6, 2014

The Long Peace

The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker

The Long Peace is a term for the historical period following the end of World War II in 1945. The ensuing half century was marked by the absence of major wars between the great powers of the period, the USA and the USSR, who were locked in a Cold War. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the rise of China as a major power, there followed two decades of continued absence of direct conflict between major states, though lesser military conflicts occurred.

It is speculated that the obvious political errors leading to World War I and World War II with their consequent horrors and, thereafter, the acquisition of thermonuclear weapons by the opposing powers of the United States and the Soviet Union exerted a restraining influence on the leaderships of the major powers. A jockular expression in Europe to describe the strangely long stretch of peace is: ‘It has been 2,000 years since an army has not crossed the Rhine for so long a time.’