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The confusion engendered by lack of clarity in fundamental conceptions such as "war," "peace," and "law" begins with, and is perhaps most clearly exhibited in, the traditional discussion of the many and disparate problems frequently subsumed under headings like "The Initiation of War," "The Commencement of War," "The Legal Meaning of War" and "State and Effects of War," or under the simple query "When does war exist (or begin)?" The orthodox debates here have been concerned mainly with determination of the beginning in time of a "legal state of war." They have usually centered on the necessity and the relative technical effect of a somewhat mystical animus belligerendi, manifested either in the shape of a formal declaration of war or some other modality, and of physical acts of coercion for the creation of such "state of war." The confusion in these debates arises from a shifting reference to and emphasis on the subjective animus of participants and the realities of their coercive practices, as well as to certain assumed consequences of such animus or practices, without relating either the animus or the practices to the larger context of any particular instance of international coercion and to the major community policies sought by authoritative decision-makers with respect to various specific problems in such context.

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