The history of war is also a history of its justification. The contributions to this book argue that the justification of war rarely happens as empty propaganda. While it is directed at mobilizing support and reducing resistance, it is not purely instrumental. Rather, the justification of force is part of an incessant struggle over what is to count as justifiable behaviour in a given historical constellation of power, interests, and norms. This way, the justification of specific wars interacts with international order as a normative frame of reference for dealing with conflict. The justification of war shapes this order, and is being shaped by it. As the justification of specific wars entails a critique of war in general, the use of force in international relations has always been accompanied by political and scholarly discourses on its appropriateness. In much of the pertinent literature the dominating focus is on theoretical or conceptual debates as a mirror of how international normative orders evolve. In contrast, the focus of the present volume is on theory and political practice as sources for the re- and de-construction of the way in which the justification of war and international order interact. With contributions from international law, history, and international relations, and from Western and non-Western perspectives, this book offers a unique collection of papers exploring the continuities and changes in war discourses as they respond to and shape normative orders from early modern times to the present.
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