“The War to End All Wars”
‘I promise you that this will be the final war—the war to end all wars.’—WOODROW WILSON, U.S. PRESIDENT (1913-21).
THOSE were the high expectations of one world leader at the end of World War I, about 90 years ago. That global conflict was so horrendous that the victors wanted—and needed—to believe that their many sacrifices would bring lasting benefits. But human wars rarely solve problems, let alone eliminate the deep-rooted problem of war itself.
About 20 years after President Wilson made that rash promise, the second world war erupted. It caused much more death and destruction than its predecessor. Two decades of technological advances had made mankind more adept at mass killing. As the second world war came to an end, global leaders realized that the specter of war loomed larger than ever.
In 1945, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur proclaimed: “We have had our last chance. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.”
General MacArthur knew what two atomic bombs had done to Nagasaki and Hiroshima during the final days of the second world war. The appalling destruction unleashed on those two Japanese cities led him to ascribe a new meaning to the word “Armageddon”—an all-out nuclear conflagration that could mean the end of civilization on our planet.
Concerns about a possible nuclear holocaust continue to plague mankind. By the 1960’s, the world’s superpowers had devised a strategy of “mutually assured destruction.” Their goal was to have sufficient missiles or delivery systems to guarantee the destruction of 25 percent of the enemy’s civilian population and 50 percent of the industrial capacity—regardless of which side started the conflict. Few people found much comfort in this strategy for conserving world peace.
Today, nuclear weapons proliferate and regional wars continue to cause untold numbers of deaths. The possibility of a nuclear conflagration still threatens mankind. Although people long to see an end to war, few believe that a war or any other strategy could achieve this goal.
Nevertheless, the Bible does describe a unique war that will bring an end to all wars. It calls this war “Armageddon”—the very word people often associate with a nuclear cataclysm. How could Armageddon truly bring an end to war? The following article will address this question.
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Nagasaki, Japan, 1945: USAF photo