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"How Wars End" opens by ...

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“How Wars End” opens by examining misperceptions about the endings of war. Visions of tickertape parades, victory celebrations and unconditional surrenders eluded the planners of the 2003 Iraq invasion.

In fact, few wars end with triumphal fanfare, including America’s own Civil War. How it concluded remains a matter of interpretation. Hostilities ended when Confederate forces surrendered at Appomattox. The Union was saved, slavery was abolished and a brutal war that took hundreds of thousands of lives was over. Or was it? Some see the century of political and racial violence that followed as a continuation of the conflict.

The ending of World War I was fraught with ambiguity, paradox and disagreement. Sharp considers the Paris Peace Conference that followed that war. The deals that were brokered and the boundaries established in 1919 continue to ignite tensions.

“How Wars End” turns next to the Bosnian war of the 1990s, which took efforts by powers outside of the actual fighting to come to an end. The U.S.-brokered Dayton Accords stopped the bloodshed but locked ethnic divisions in place. Sharp concludes by examining the legacy of intervention and the price of peace.

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