McClelland (1975) argued that reform movements have the unintended result of creating an action orientation that makes war possible. The use of one’s own accumulated power to save the others is often the link between an imperial motivation pattern (i.e., the gap created between a high need for power and a low need for affiliation) and later wars. Conflict-related documents, real and fictional, were analyzed with the help of the new Motive Dictionary, a computer-readable thesaurus devised to detect the power and affiliation motives in texts supposed to contain them. Results confirm McClelland’s theory. An increasing gap between affiliation and power words consistently precedes the outbreak of wars including World War I and the war in Iraq (2003– ).
Hogenraad, R. (2005). What the words of war can tell us about the risk of war. Peace and Conflict, 11(2), 137-151.