Why, the war is for children.
As the First “Total” War of the Twentieth century, World War I marked a turning point in the understanding of what Goya had called the disasters of war. The years 1914–18 witnessed a difficult struggle to recognize and defend civilian rights in wartime, rights that had primarily been defined as those of soldiers and prisoners of war, under the Taws and Customs of War on Tand, established at The Hague in 1899 and 1907. Wartime conditions that blurred lines between civilian and combatant unleashed violations of civilians' human rights that the conventions had not anticipated. The ensuing debate during the Great War exemplified the growing complexity of disputes about human rights. In particular, it revealed that competing claims of victimization could exacerbate reprisals in the confusion of combat. In a duel of countercharges, states published documentation carrying titles that denounced enemy indifference to the “law of nations,” such as Die volkerrechtswidrige Fuhrung des belgischen Volkskriegs (“The Conduct of the Belgian People's War in Violation of the Taw of Nations” ) and Rapports… en vue de constater les actes commis par l'ennemi en violation du droit des gens (“Reports … to Record Enemy Actions in Violation of the Taw of Nations” ). A “war of words” raged, as well as a war of dumdum bullets that spread on impact, poison gas, and aerial bombardment—all instruments of war that had been explicitly banned by the conventions of the preceding years.