The hope that the end of the Cold War would bring about a peaceful period in world history has not been fulfilled. Instead, this period has seen numerous conflicts, previously suppressed by the Communist regime, confrontation with the Eastern Bloc and the fear of nuclear war.
Peace research is needed now more than ever. Whereas in the past, work focused on armament and disarmament, détente and arms control, the central topic of research these days covers a broader range of subjects. Peace research now centres on the conflicts in Southeast Europe, in the Middle East and in Asia, the dangers of nationalism, the problems of European integration, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, environmental conflicts, the impoverishment of large areas of the world and terrorism.
Peace research aims to put forward proposals for how the causes of conflict can be recognised as early as possible, for how violence can be prevented and how political control can be put in place for solving the conflict. Peace research plays a major role in answering these questions, and the proposals are used by politicians at the national and local level, by unions, the Church, science, political parties and the media.