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Book III opens with the cries of war and the reaction of the people to it. This part of the book also shows the characters as they come to grips with their situation and try to renew their life. Thus, Andrei enlists in the army and takes Command of the regiment of Chasseurs. Pierre develops a positive attitude to life and contributes his might to the soldiers; Rostov fights valiantly in the battlefield and wins laurels. Natasha turns to religion and feels enlightened; and Petya vows to serve the country.
The temporary friendship between Napoleon and Aleksandr terminates. Each party blames the other but as Tolstoy rightly believes, many forces combine to create war. In the last pages of Part I, the author says thus: "The people of the west moved east to slay their fellow man. And by the law of coincidence, thousands of minute causes fitted together and combined to produce that movement and the war: reproaches for the non- observance of the Continental system, the Duke of Oldenburg’s wrongs, the movement of troops into Prussia - undertaken (as it seemed to Napoleon) for the sole purpose of obtaining an armed peace - the French emperor’s love of war and habit of waging it coinciding with the inclinations of his people, the passion for grandiose preparations, the expenditure on those preparations and the necessity of obtaining advantages to compensate for them, the intoxicating effect of the honors he received in Dresden, the diplomatic negotiations which in the opinion of contemporaries were carried on with a sincere desire to attain peace but which only wounded the self-esteem of both sides, and millions upon millions of other causes that adapted themselves to the fated event and coincided with it." The war was destined and it lead to the killing of many innocent lives.
Napoleon crosses Poland to enter Russia and takes Aleksandr unawares. When the Tsar receives the news of Napoleon’s stepping into Russia through Niemen, he is too shocked to react immediately. He sends a threatening letter through his emissary and waits for a reply from the French emperor. Napoleon is outraged to read the letter and refuses to relent. After blaming Aleksandr for causing the war, he declares his intention to invade Russia. The unnatural friends again turn enemies and the war begins once more.
Otherwise, people at home continue with their normal activities. They attend parties and visit churches. The Tsar is honored at a function and the nobility attends the celebrations, to voice their support to his Highness and declare their intention to serve the country to the best of their ability. The Rostovs turn to god for solace. Natasha attends the church service with her family regularly and accepts the Holy Communion. She feels purified and refreshed. She offers her humble prayers to god and "it seemed to her that god heard her prayer."
Pierre takes interest in life and becomes hopeful. With the war waging outside and the fire of love within his heart, he feels restless. "He felt that the situation he now found himself in could not remain as it was much longer, that a catastrophe was impending which would necessarily change his whole life, and he impatiently sought everywhere for signs of the imminent disaster." He believes that the great event foretold in the Apocalypse has a direct connection with his whole life and showed signs of a new life for him.
Princess Marya is the only unfortunate individual who is not able to change her life for the better. Tied down with her senile father, she feels trapped and frustrated. Unable to escape from the prison house, she turns bitter towards Madam Bourienne and loses her patience with her nephew. However, when Andrei shows bitterness towards his antagonists, she asks him to forget and forgive. Princess Marya lives under the shadow of fear and doubt but does not lose her balance of mind. She is a great source of strength to her family members.