Is the adage ‘An eye for an eye’ viable in redressing wrongs?

When applied to international relations, reconciliation and rehabilitation have proved a better route than reciprocal punishment. We can consult the precedent of France and Germany. The bitter war of the 1870s left France humiliated. France also paid 5 billion francs in reparations to Germany. The seething anger contributed to the punitive measures of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles after World War One. Among other things, German reparations constituted 85% of its total national income. This was a victory without peace. In part, this led to World War Two which exploded in 1939. In contrast, Franco-German reconciliation after 1945 resulted in peace and facilitated conditions that propelled both countries to developed nations status. From this perspective, exacting punishments would have impeded peace. Hence, to a large extent they should be forsaken.


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