In the complex environment of the 21st century, political engagement among civilians is often taken for granted, as people are capable of exercising their rights to partake in political and military processes within the state. This is an incredible breakthrough compared to what could be observed before the World War I arguably, the latter served as a trigger for causing a massive increase in the rates of military and political activity among people all over the world.
The rapid and nearly unanimous change towards a politically aware behavioral model and the sharp increase in the significance of the role of civilian population all over the world can be explained by the fact that the WWI affected people deeply not only on the state level, but also of a more personal one by jeopardizing both their lives and their values.
The True Face of War
Bringing drastic changes to people’s lives to the point where the latter were literally destroyed, the World War I affected people on a personal level, therefore, making them engage in military actions in order to survive and protect those, who were dear to them. It should be noted, though, that the effect that the WWI had on the military engagement and political awareness among civilians, is rather bitter.
While the increase in the engagement rates and the incredible upheaval in the political activeness of civilians, not to mention the reconsideration of warfare in general by an average citizen, are beyond amazing, the toll that it took on people is huge and truly terrifying. The enhancement of the role of civilians in modern warfare cost millions of lives taken in the course of the war (Gatrell and Nivett 64).
The very fact that the World War I triggered mass deportations, as well as that concentration camps were created and used actively at the time (Winter 258), is a solid proof for the social tension that was building up within the society in the course of the war along with the political one. As the enemy’s actions had a terrible and enormous impact on people’s families, the stakes of people joining the military in order to combat the enemy were obviously higher than ever, and, therefore, the striving for defeating the latter was all the stronger.
The “extremely violent transfer of the population” (Becker 00:26:23), which was a common occurrence in the environment of the WWI, did play its role in the development of a specific attitude towards warfare among the people belonging to the allied states(Schaepdrijver 87). Thus, incorporating both negative and positive influence, though clearly with a much stronger stress on the former, the WWI reinvented the role of average citizens in modern warfare, making it more significant.
Therefore, it can be assumed that, owing to the changes that the WWI brought into the political life of the state and the people that live in it, as well as the rates of political engagement among the people of the 20th and 21st century, the war has altered the role of citizens in modern warfare drastically.
Not only did the war encouraged people to join their forces in order to fight the enemy, but also affected their perception of the state’s key political processes raising political engagement rates among population, WWI made the role of citizens in warfare more significant.
Becker, Annette. Lecture. Web.
Gatrell, Peter and Peter Nivett. “Refugees and Exiles.” The Cambridge History of the First World War. Vol. 3. Ed. Jay Winter. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Print.
Schaepdrijver, Sophie de. “Population under Occupation” The Cambridge History of the First World War. Vol. 3. Ed. Jay Winter. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Print.
Winter, Jay. The Cambridge History of the First World War. Vol. 3. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Print.