Hawks and Doves

The phrase hawks and doves has applied to war-mongers and peace fans for many years. How did hawks become associated with war, and doves with peace?

Doves have been associated with quiet, peaceful love since the days of the Egyptians and the Bible. You can learn more about the History of the Dove and Peace to see how much it has been a part of human culture.

Hawks, on the other hand, have always been associated with violent attacks. Hawking as a sport has existed since the days of the Romans. Hawks are fierce hunters that have incredible eyesight and quick reflexes.

During the Vietnam War, Alan Greenspan, at the time a senator in New England, said:

"This country has too many hawks and too many doves. What we need are a few owls."

Many since then have argued for a third side to the for war / against war argument - for the side that looks for a wise solution that might involve force, but might not.

The imagery of hawks and doves meaning those for and against war had been used in the past, but they came into full play during the Vietnam War. The press used the terms actively, playing the anti-war doves against the pro-war hawks. While WW2 and the Korean War had the US very strongly in a patriotic mood, the Vietnam War was the first real war to pit a peace faction against a war faction.

A third term has come into use in the past few years. That is "chicken hawk" - which in real life is a small type of hawk that likes to prey on domestic birds instead of the more dangerous wild variety. A chicken hawk refers to a person who actively dodges being involved in military duty, but who from the sidelines pushes a military agenda. Someone who's not brave enough to do the work - but who pushes others to do it for him.

In 1980, Neil Young released a record entitled "Hawks and Doves". The two sides of the record each reflect one of the sides. Side 1 is about peace, while side 2 is about following the party line and patriotism.

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