Created By: AFP on May 18, 2013

False Peace

Two warring factions agree to a ceasefire, which proves doomed to failure.

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War Is Hell, and very expensive in terms of money, material, and manpower. If a war runs long enough without significant gains for either side, it may seem very reasonable for both sides to agree to a peace.

Of course, if they never actually resolved the issues leading to their war, there may be little to stop the same war from starting up again. This might even be an invoked trope, if both sides knowingly go into such a ceasefire, and use the time to regroup, repair, trade prisoners, and treat their casualties.

Examples:

Literature
  • Much of the Honor Harrington series centers on a war between the People's Republic of Haven and an alliance of nations lead by the Star Kingdom of Manticore. The two nations make peace about nine or ten books into the series, only for the war to break out again a book later.
  • The end of Lieutenant Hornblower ends with the Treaty of Amiens putting the newly-promoted Commander Hornblower out of work. To add insult to injury, as his new promotion had not yet been confirmed through official channels, he was also demoted to Lieutenant and his additional pay taken back, leaving him penniless (until the next book, when the renewed war and an Admiral he served under as a Midshipman conspired to get him a new command).

Real Life
  • From a modern point of view, it's easy to see the Wars of French Revolution and the Napoleanic Wars as such, at least in America. The first war was ended with the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, and peace lasted between England and France all the way until war broke out again in 1803.
  • The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq is often referred to as "Gulf War II" or "The Second Iraq War" (in a slightly tongue-in-cheek manner), having happened just over a decade after the 1991 conflict where a US-led coalition forced Iraqi forces to withdraw from Kuwait. It didn't help that low-scale conflict would continue off-and-on between the Iraqi military and American/British forces deployed to the region for the 12 year interval.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • May 18, 2013
    Quag15

  • May 18, 2013
    StarSword
    • People were saying this of the end of World War I before the ink was dry on the Treaty of Versailles. One political cartoonist even got the timeframe right.
  • May 18, 2013
    DunDun
    I think the name could be better; it gives me a sense of "a peace that is doomed to last," which really... not a necessarily wartime thing. I mean, like, False Ceasefire or something might be better.

    Also, I don't think this needs to be No Real Life Examples Please, but I do think there should be mention of not listing examples from current ceasefires or wars that are still going on. I mean, that might not be an issue right now, but it'd just be a precaution.
  • May 18, 2013
    Koveras
    It's not a good sign if the original write-up included as many RL examples as fictional ones, and the first two comments were from RL, as well.

    Anyhow.

  • May 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    I think a good name for this trope would be A Korean Peace, because...

    • The most notorious example is the Korean Peninsula, where Oceania-like Communist totalitarian dictatorship North Korea and America-backed democracy South Korea have been in a stalemate since the Korean War ended without any real victory for either side. Especially under Kim Jong-Un, north Korea has been trying to ignite a fresh conflict that, depending on its scale, may either end up being Korean War II or that dreaded scenario called World War III. Among his methods are holding an American hostage for a square 15 years, instigating the Korean Missile Crisis, hacking South Korean networks, shuttering an industrial complex and laying the blame on South Korea, and leveling personal attacks at South Korea's leader.
  • May 18, 2013
    StarSword
    I agree with Dun Dun that this doesn't need to be NRLEP altogether. I suggest a note for the description:

    When adding Real Life examples, please keep the Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgment in mind. Also, one would best avoid current ceasefires or wars since in most cases we don't know how things will turn out in the long run.

    As for the title, Doomed Ceasefire, perhaps?
  • May 18, 2013
    Prfnoff
    • Dave Barry in Cyberspace suggests that newspapers could dispense with human reporters and rely on pre-written articles which could be published as relevant stories after using a word processor to supply a few current facts. One of these articles was about "the breakdown of yesterday's cease-fire between (names of two ethnic groups that have been killing each other nonstop for 6,000 years)"; it goes on to mention that, in this troubled region, cease-fires break at the rate of one every 1.7 days.
  • May 18, 2013
    Astaroth
    • InThe Elder Scrolls V Skyrim has two examples; The White-Gold Concordat which brought a tenuous peace between the Cyrodiilic Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion, and a ceasefire the Dovahkiin helps negotiate between the Imperial Legion and the rebel Stormcloaks.
  • May 18, 2013
    Koveras
    @ryanasaurus0077: AFAIK Trope Namer Syndrome applies to titles lifted too verbatim from real life, too.
  • May 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Thanks for reminding me...
  • May 18, 2013
    Koveras
    • The first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is actually titled "False Peace", referring to the supposed peace between ZAFT and the Orb Union (ZAFT is at war with the Earth Federation, while Orb claims neutrality). In the episode, ZAFT attacks an Orb colony--because, as revealed later, Orb secretly allowed Earth Federation to develop new weaponry on it, breaking their neutrality.
  • May 18, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    In Star Trek The Next Generation, the Federation and the Cardassian empire are barely-at-peace after an offscreen war, with lots of unresolved disputes such as the status of several systems in the border zone. Eventually in Star Trek Deep Space Nine the Cardassians become allies/vassals of the Founders and with their backing go to war again.
  • May 19, 2013
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • Battlestar Galactica Classic. After a thousand years of war, the Twelve Colonies and the Cylons agree to a cease fire so the leaders of both sides can hold a peace conference. It turns out to be a trap: the Cylons destroy almost all of the Battlestars sent on the peace mission and devastate the Twelve Colonies.
  • May 19, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    • Babylon 5: The Narn and Centauri were just tenuously at peace at the beginning of the series, after the Centauri had withdrawn several years before from a previous occupation of the Narn homeworld that had lasted for about a century. There were some minor skirmishes over disputed worlds at the edges of their respective territories, and lots of diplomatic haggling on the neutral Babylon 5 station to try to resolve these small conflicts. Enter Mr. Morden and the Shadows, and their secret dealmaking with the Centauri, and a full-scale war breaks out between them again in season two....
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