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Warfare and Culture in the World History Essay

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Updated: Jun 30th, 2021

Abstract

The primary objective of history is to document the events that took place in a certain period. However, those events do not happen out of context; different factors contribute to them. Silbey (2011) examines the events of the Great War in an attempt to highlight the importance of considering various aspects when evaluating history. In addition, the author argues that war has a significant influence on a nation’s culture. This paper aims to use a multidisciplinary approach for examining World War II and its effects on people.

Introduction

To understand the causes and effects of war one must examine it utilizing approaches from different subjects. Silbey (2011) attempts to highlight the lack of such research regarding the connection between war and culture that would be conducted by historians. Paying no attention to this aspect results in ignoring essential factors that affect the decision-making process of a person. It is evident that both in an everyday life and in a battlefield setting people utilize similar decision-making approaches. Both aspects are influenced by a variety of factors, including culture, social settings, political climate, and the portrayal of preceding events in literature. Silbey (2011) has examined these factors in the context of World War I and the succeeding nationalistic movements. This paper aims to utilize a multidisciplinary approach to explore the Great War and its effects on the people.

Overview of the Case Study

The primary focus of the case study is on the wars that Great Britain was involved in; however, some mentions from American history are present as well. Silbey (2011) discussed the British Forces and their tactics in the warfare. The author argued that the participation of colonies in the events of 1918 had influenced their future development. The usage of Canadian and Australian military forces as essential components of the British army, and the subsequent victories led to these nations’ realization of their identity. Thus, they did not view themselves as a part of an empire but rather as independent domains. The Australians, in particular, were not afraid to voice their opinion about their contribution to the successes of operations. The case study relates to the cultural, psychological, and literary disciplines, as the objective of it is to display how wars can be examined from the perspective of soldiers, civilians, writers, and historians.

Differences and Similarities in Disciplines’ Portrayal of War

An essential aspect that should be attended to is the question of why wars take place. They do not appear regardless of the national and political climate within a country. Different disciplines examine this utilizing a variety of approaches. For example, the impact of the war in literature is reflected through a method that authors choose to portray the events. Silbey (2011) states that the “moralization” approach was taken to the World War I display, which is focused on representing how people remember the events (p. 167). It can be argued that literature is an essential aspect that contributes to telling a story of what happened. In the case of war, authors must subject the events to thorough analysis to ensure that succeeding generations can learn from the experiences.

The sociologic perspective is different as it focuses on the environment that people are in, not on the portrayal of events. According to de la Sablonnière, Bourgeois, and Najih (2013) “dramatic social change is not merely a distant phenomenon of historical interest; it is one that impacts everyone on a daily basis” (p. 253). Thus, the nationalistic climate that was present during World War I and afterward is the primary objective of sociology. The environment that was present in the Great War has contributed to the evolvement of nations. According to Silbey (2011), the British government has decided to utilize the forces separately due to nationalistic views, thus placing them in a specific social setting. It can be argued that the segregation of the Canadian and Australian forces is what made them efficient on the battlefield.

The combination of segregation and unity in actions is what led to the victory. Furthermore, the separation and success are what caused these forces to strengthen their belief in their nations. Thus, the domains were separated at the beginning due to nationalism, which led to their successful battlefield operations. In turn, these fueled their national beliefs. The American Civil War events were primarily influenced by the social climate within the U.S. However, the political aspect had an essential input into warfare. Thus, the sociologic perspective provides an understanding of how people in the environment of war operations acted and how they made their decisions.

Phycology would focus on examining the personal experiences of people in the battlefield setting. According to Silbey (2011), a modern approach towards studying wars should concentrate on the experience of ordinary soldiers. Other subjects such as sociology and political science have an input in this analysis as well. These experiences of people at war should not be regarded out of context (disregarding the causes and proceeding of conflicts). As the author argues, different aspects (“social history; oral; world history; race, class, and gender studies; cultural; and the linguistic turn) should be synthesized for proper analysis (p. 166). Thus, phycology can provide insight into why people behaved in a particular manner.

The political atmosphere has a direct influence on a domain’s life. Silbey (2011) argued that “operations in the battlefield shaped national culture and national culture shaped operations in the battlefield, both in 1918 and afterward” (p. 181). The Canadian Corps, the New Zeeland Division, and the Australian Imperial Force in 1918 participated in the operations in the Great War due to their political obligations. Nevertheless, Silbey (2011) states that “domestic ideas and visions extended all the way to the battlefield” (p. 165). Thus, politics is what influenced the participation of nations in the war and their behavior afterward. The author argues that the battles that people were participating in affected the future development of their country, as they pursued their independence as domains.

Thus, the mentioned disciplines evaluate wars and their impact considering different aspects. They approach the issue from different perspectives, evaluating a particular factor that affects events. Thus, literature can take into consideration the political or social environment. Some authors may choose to tell a story about a particular person (therefore, utilizing phycology as a method). Other subjects (such as sociology, and political science) can have similar interests as well. Both focus on the environment that people are in, however, the scope of analysis is different (political and social environment). By synthesizing these approaches, one may gain a proper understanding of history. It is crucial that a person conducting any academic or professional work remembers his or her responsibilities as a citizen and portrays a particular historical event from a multidisciplinary perspective. In this way, an accurate representation can be guaranteed.

Cultural identity for a nation is essential in many aspects. In human resources, it is crucial to understand what is behind people’s decisions to be able to create an effective team. Thus, Silbey’s (2011) approach helps to understand that warfare shaped many nations throughout history. The social, national, and cultural aspects provide an understanding of the connection between people’s beliefs (and thus of their decision-making process) and battlefields.

A significant global issue that relates to this multidisciplinary examination of history is the current relationship between countries. The modern world is evolving, and many changes in the countries’ economic and political environment occur. The discussed approach can help understand what contributes to a nation’s identity formation and should help in critical future decisions. Walker (2018) argues that the current strategy utilized by the U.S government “has been shaped by long-term historical factors surrounding an imbalanced emphasis on the science of warfare … beginning in the nineteenth century” (p. 5). Thus, examining the history of domains through the interdisciplinary scope can help find better cooperation strategies between countries.

Conclusion

Overall, the decision-making process of a person is influenced by culture, social environment, politics within a country, and personal beliefs. Thus, examining the Great War from the perspective of sociology, phycology, politics, and literature helps to gain a better understanding of the causes and effect it had on the future of people. These subjects take a different approach to evaluating events and analyzing them. A responsible global citizen should approach the issue of war with regards to various disciplines to portray the facts correctly. History provides an assessment of events, while literature describes them in a particular manner. Sociology and political science analyze them by the environment. Phycology offers an understanding of human behavior and decision-making.

References

de la Sablonnière, R., Bourgeois, L. F., & Najih, M. (2013). Dramatic social change: A social psychological perspective. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), 253-272. Web.

Silbey, D. (2011). Connecting culture and the battlefield. In W. E. Lee (Ed.), Warfare and culture in world history (pp. 165 – 181). New York, NY: New York University Press.

Walker, D. M. (2018) American Military Culture and the Strategic Seduction of Remote Warfare. Journal of War & Culture Studies, 11(1), 5-21, Web.

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