17.42 | Spring 2018 | Undergraduate

Causes and Prevention of War

Lecture Notes

Note: There are no lecture notes for Sessions 11 and 23.

I. Introduction
1 Introduction Course Overview (PDF)
II. 34 Hypotheses on the Causes of War
2–3 8 Hypotheses on Military Factors as Causes of War Military Power and the Causes of War: 8 Hypotheses (PDF) 
4–7 Misperception and War; Religion and War

“What Were They Thinking?” National Misperceptions as Causes of War (PDF)

The “Spiral Model” vs. the “Deterrence Model” (PDF)

Three Types of Spirals (PDF)

8–9 More Causes of War and Peace More Causes of War and Peace (PDF)
III. Cases: Wars and Crises
10 The Seven Years War

The Anglo-French Seven Years’ War, 1756–1763: An Inadvertant War? An Avoidable War? (PDF)

Great Wars of European History, 1740– (PDF)

12–14 World War I

The Austro-Prussian War of 1866 / The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 (PDF)

The Origins of the First World War, Part I (PDF)

The Origins of the First World War, Part II: Who Caused the War? Theories of Responsibility (The Fischer Controversy) (PDF)

15–18 World War II

The Origins of the Second World War (PDF)

Causes of the Holocaust (PDF)



Hypotheses on Escalation and Limitation of War

Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Strategy, Other Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Causes of War.

The Causes of Intense War (PDF)

Weapons of Mass Destruction and World Politics (PDF) 

20–21 The Cold War, Korea and Indochina The Cold War (1947–1989) and Korea (1950–1953) (PDF)
22 The Israel-Arab Conflict Causes of / Solutions to the Israel-Arab Conflict (PDF)
24 The Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War, 460–404 BCE (PDF)
IV. The Future of War

Testing & Applying Theories of War Causation

The Future of War

Solutions to War

The Future of War and Solutions to War (PDF) 

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2018
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples
Lecture Notes