Walther Schücking and the Pacifist Traditions of International Law

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In this article I discuss four pacifist traditions in international law in play during the 20th century, in the context of the Symposium on Walther Schücking. The article addresses the fact that these pacifist traditions have contributed to shaping the way in which we view international law today and how we understand our current world. Essentially, we see the globe as an entity legally organized through treaties, international courts for dispute settlement, and international organizations with worldwide jurisdiction. The science of law tries, with difficulty, to grasp all these phenomena in a unitary manner. Moreover, pacifism has influenced our choice of legal techniques. At the core of the pacifist traditions lies the wish of a group of pacifist intellectuals, among them Walther Schücking, to achieve a peaceful transition to what they viewed as an unavoidable state of economic interdependence on a global scale. Their specific purpose was peace – ‘peace through law’. Beyond that, it occurred to almost none of them to question the beneficial aspects of their internationalist projects and the economic interdependence behind them. Peace was raised then to the level of the highest good. Who would dare dethrone it? This article suggests that we live in an era of pacifist international law. The article also takes the approach that the very existence of a variety of pacifist traditions shows that political pluralism may coexist with pacifism. Peace is indisputably a common good and pacifism does not necessarily prevent politics from continuing to flourish.

TidskriftEuropean Journal of International Law
Sidor (från-till)755-782
Antal sidor28
StatusPublicerad - 2011
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 513 Juridik

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