Reconcile the Bitter Foes

Two groups have been locked in a Forever War for a long, long time. Then, a third party (like The Hero) comes along and wants something from both of them. But first he has to play the peacemaker and stop the senseless bloodshed for them to work together with each other and with him.

Success usually results in a very, very awkward but hopefully honest (just how awkward and honest will depend on whether Ontological Inertia factors in or not) handshake between the two leaders and a Moment of Awesome for The Hero.

Compare Young Love Versus Old Hate, which can overlap with this (cf. Romeo and Juliet) but not necessarily, and Velvet Revolution, when a conflict that started off violently immediately winds down peacefully.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • The main character's goal in Naruto is finding a peaceful resolution to the ancient ideological conflict between two dominant ninja clans, Uchiha and Senju.
  • In a One Piece arc, the centuries-long war between the natives of Skypeia and the tribal Shandians finally reaches a peaceful resolution after God Eneru nearly destroys everything and is defeated by Luffy. Luffy wasn't actually trying to do this, though; it was just a consequence of his actions.
  • The war between the Tribes of Light and Shadow in Words Worth broke out over the shattering of the eponymous magical tablet and is ultimately resolved by a child descending from both Tribes, who reassembles the tablet and interprets its inscriptions.

     Comic Books  

  • Astérix in the Corsica album. As the Corsican chief stated: "Defeating the Romans is nothing special, but making two foes reconcile definitely is!" (paraphrased)

     Film  

  • A large portion of The Matrix Revolutions revolves around Neo traveling to the Machine City to call for an end to the war between humans and machines, in order to allow him to stop Agent Smith from destroying both races.

     Literature  

  • In The Icemark Chronicles, Thirrin successfully forms an alliance between the Icemark and the vampires, despite the fact that the Vampire King and Queen have been their enemies for over a thousand years.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Thud!, it turns out that the thousand-year war between dwarves and trolls started with a huge misunderstanding. The dwarves said that trolls ambushed them at Koom Valley, the trolls say the dwarves ambushed them. In reality, there was just a natural disaster.

     Live Action TV  

  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Taste of Armageddon." The planets Eminiar 7 and Vendikar have been at war for 500 years. However, for most of this time the conflict has been completely simulated on computers. When the computers tell the inhabitants of the planets that they've been "killed", they obediently file into disintegration chambers and are destroyed. Captain Kirk sabotages the computers running the conflict, which will force the two planets to fight their war for real if they want to continue it. He figures that the horror of possible planetary obliteration will cause the two populations to seek peace instead. He turns out to be right - the planets do start negotiating.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Captain Janeway tries to act as this between the Kazon and their former rulers, the Trabe. Unfortunately the Trabe can't resist an opportunity to take out the major clan leaders.

     Tabletop Games  

  • Mage: The Ascension's concluding book, Ascension, allows players the opportunity to bring a peaceful end to the conflict between the Technocracy and the Traditions, with a little help from the Void Engineer master Tychoides. At this time, the two factions are preparing their remaining forces for a battle that will probably end with one of them annihilated once and for all; however, Tychoides reveals to the players that the Marauders are planning to ambush and kill the survivors, before going on to dominate the world. Surrendering access to the Technocracy's command network, he allows the players to unite both sides against their enemy, resulting in a truce that lasts for the remainder of the Ascension event.

     Video Game  

  • In The Longest Journey, April ends the ancient war between the Alatien and the Maerum by uncovering proof that they are actually the same species worshiping the same god.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard has a chance to end the war between the quarians and the geth peacefully, though there are many conditions that have to be met for this to succeed. Also, the Krogan/Salarian/Turian enmity can be mended to the point where the three races start cooperating—something deemed impossible for at least several centuries. The Turians and the Humans have the latest in species grudges, but the Turians are the most willing to help humanity out (though they have their own problems).
    • And as the Extended Cut shows, the Control and Synthesis endings both result in a lasting peace between the Reapers and the galactic life, though only in the latter is it completely voluntary (in Control, Shepard becomes the new Reaper overmind and basically forces them to obey organics).
  • A major plot point in Wild ARMs 5 is to reconcile the ancient conflict between the humans and the Veruni.
  • In Wasteland 2, you can reconcile the warring "train tribes", the Topekans and the Atchisonians, by getting their leaders to recognize that prolonging their conflict will ultimately destroy both groups, whereas seeing past their old grudges will actually let them get the trains up and running again.

     Western Animation  

  • The episode "The Great Divide" of Avatar: The Last Airbender had Aang do it with two tribes of Slobs Versus Snobs...by saying that he had witnessed the birth of their conflict (since he is Really 112 Years Old), which had been twisted over the century and was in fact no more than a children's game. And once the now peaceful tribes are out of earshot, he confides to Katara and Sokka that he made the whole thing up.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong for the first Avatar, Avatar Wan when he separates Raava—the World-Spirit of Order—from Vaatu—the World-Spirit of Chaos—and thereby sets up the latter to plunge the world into a 10,000-year age of, you guessed it, chaos and darkness. To be fair, Vaatu abandoned his pride to take advantage of Wan's kindly nature and manipulate him whereas Raava was extremely condescending and dismissive of Wan, refusing to explain her motives for keeping Vaatu entrapped until after Wan had freed Vaatu.
  • The episode "Targets" of "Young Justice" had Lex Luthor do it with the empires of Rhelasia, which were parodies of Korea.

     Webcomics  

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReconcileTheBitterFoes