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For the Special section in this issue, the editors of “Ethics and Armed Forces” have presented experts from various countries with a six-item list of questions on the subject of military ethics and ethics education in their respective armed forces. These pages do not claim to be representative, but are intended to provide further illustrative material for the question of a common European approach in this area.

What is your and your country’s understanding of military ethics? What does it essentially deal with, and what is its main task?

Military ethics teaches values of national military history to strengthen the love of one’s country and the integration of the national army, and of more abstract principles of justice to strengthen the universal military professionalism and the integration of army and civil society.

Is there a public debate in your country on related issues? If yes, on which ones?

No, not really.

Do you see any commonalities between the EU member states and other European countries in the understanding and/or concrete questions of military ethics? If so, what are they?

This is not an easy question. Every European country has its own national tradition rooted in its imperial and other type of history. However, principles of justice are common values of armies of European countries which can and in fact do connect the professional soldiers of the different countries.

Has the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine led to a significant change in that sense?

I do not think so. This war is closer to us but it is a war anyway which contains several violations of the principles of justice (as other wars), supposedly on both sides. Another issue though is that Russian thinking (or a main tradition of Russian thinking) about the matters of war seems very different from the European one.

To what extent and for whom are ethics and military ethics part of military training and education? Who gives the classes?

Me (civilian) and one of my colleagues (a soldier, a former member of the chaplaincy) give the classes to BSc would-be officers, to the members of the general staff college and to PhD students.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions or the most pressing problems of today that military ethics should address?

Military ethics has to strengthen the national emotions of national soldiers and their professional autonomy (in thinking and acting) based on the principles of justice (just war theory). Other problems are of secondary importance only, but of course we have to be up to date. In both cases the main purpose is to enhance the fighting ability of the professional army (and not to restrict it).

Mihály Boda

Dr. Mihály Boda, University of Public Service at Budapest (Hungary), Faculty of Military Science and Officer Training

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All articles in this issue

Military Ethics and Military Ethics Education: In Search of a “European Approach”
Lonneke Peperkamp, Kevin van Loon, Deane-Peter Baker, David Evered
Just peace despite war? In defense of a criticized concept
Markus Thurau
Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Not a Bit of the Old Ultraviolence
Arseniy Kumankov
Military Ethics Education – Bridging the Gap or Deepening the Chasm?
Dragan Stanar
The Retransformation of Soldiers’ Identities
Patrick Hofstetter
The Army is No Place for a Warrior
Christopher Ankersen
“Try to get more emotion into the classroom”
Deanna Messervey


Roger Mielke Janne Aalto Michaël Dewyn Patrick Mileham Stefan Gugerel Evaggelia Kiosi
Mihály Boda
Richard Schoonhoven