Warfare and culture

The relationship between warfare and society has its roots in the battlefield. Journals, letters, documentaries, and other forms of record keeping, including stories that have been passed down from one generation to the next, have all been used to capture real-life accounts from soldiers who were present on the battlefield. The aforementioned points suggest a strong connection between society and the battlefield. Thus, the goal of David Silbey's case study is to investigate the relationship between society and warfare. It implies that the social, societal, and cultural standards of the post-conflict society will make clear how culture and the battlefield are related. Silbey focuses on the 1918 summer and fall encounters especially those of the British Expeditionary Force with an aim to examine if those confrontations can unearth any clarifications about the British and Dominion culture and the wars. The case study emphasizes its points by focusing on the Canadian Corps, the New Zealand Division and the Australian Imperial Force and the way in which nationalism affected their operational decisions.


Civil wars have impacted the society in several significant ways. The American Civil War and the Great War are among the most significant players on this front. They have shaped a significant number of social, natural and cultural norms and procedures in the United States and globally. Through the Civil War and the Great War, important skills and competencies in management of personnel, time and other war resources have emerged and are being utilized in daily societal operations. Planning, directing, coordinating, communicating and performance evaluation are among leadership and managerial strongpoints that have emerged in other non-warfare organizations gradually over the years. These have revolutionized growth of organizations and enhanced efficiency in other aspects of societal welfare. This paper thus seeks to leverage David Silbey’s case study on the British and the Dominion wars in examining the experiences and impacts of the American Civil war and the Great War on culture of the society in terms of politics, psychology, sociology and literature.

CLO: Analyze the disciplinary content (history) in its own context and in relationship to the issues, questions, and positions of other disciplines (literature, psychology, sociology).

ILO: Analyze the American Civil War and the Great War as watershed moments in regard to both war and culture (military history, literature, psychology, sociology):

History, in whichever context, is a manifestation of the beliefs, psychology and way of life (culture) of the people, governments and/or organizations whose history is in context. While it is an account of past events and procedures, in the present day, it is a significant factor in influencing current decisions and culture. History as a discipline has contributed a lot to the literature, psychology and sociology of the people in its context. A lot of literature exist to date that document a detailed account of years of historical landmarks such as warfare, political events and ancient cultural aspects of life. Psychologically, the American Civil War and the Great War have both affected people living in the United States of America. This manifests in the aggressive military and political power and influence by Western countries on other nations. Sociologically, literature exist on the American Civil War and the Great War that document war veterans who were loyal and brave to the level of going back to battle fields on several occasions. Mass movements such as The Bunker Hill, solicited great social awareness and grew exponentially as more and more people fought for their freedom. The warfare thus inspired a vigorous social influence and active participation of people in different societies in dealing with societal matters and welfare. Families that had members in the battlefield were much more zealous in aiding the war. Such families received letters, write ups and war stories from their soldiering family members and these fueled more aggressive societal movements and remained part of the American literature. This mass action spiraled into a national patriotic movement and support for the war.

CLO: Compare and contrast differences and similarities among the disciplines (history, literature, psychology, sociology) in terms of central concerns, values, methodologies, and relationships to public life.

ILO: Evaluate the American Civil War and the Great War regarding military and political concerns, values, methodologies, and relationships to public life and cultural concerns, values, methodologies, and relationships to public life.

Socially, during the American Civil War and the Great War era, civic duty was defined in terms of one’s participation or contribution towards winning the war. This impacted the demography of most communities and families as young energetic men were lost on the warfront while most of those who survived had life changing health complications. The anxiety and strife that beckoned families when their loved ones left for war was immense. This was a psychological torture that the community had to live with during the whole war period and deal with after the war. Nonetheless, contributing towards the war in terms of man power, food or any other resource was important and a necessity.

Haig, one of the major contributors to war related literature, noted that commanding armies that were homogenous gave him much comfort needed to win the war. This he attributed to ease of passing and executing both tactical and operational information and procedures. On his account, this was the best response to the civil war of America. The soldiers could also effortlessly share their war stories and ideas for improvement. Such literature and stories formed the foundation on which future war strategies were coined.

Demand for soldiers during the American Civil War and the Great War became so high. This forced peasant farmers and other able men to volunteer to join the warfront as civilian soldiers. Most of these enforcements were not trained military personnel. They, nonetheless, joined the army at war on account of their own identity and desire to fight for their own liberation and that of their family, community and country as a whole. Most of the volunteer soldiers were significantly inspired by the literature and inspirational speeches from war commandoes and revolution leaders who solicited as much support as they could in order for the people to fight for their own freedom and feel more inclusive socially.

Culturally, demographics were greatly affected by the wars. Strong and able farmers who provided for and protected their families and community were lost in the battlefields. This left behind an unbalanced society where women took over some of the roles of men.

Methodically, the result of the war was a breed of poor leaders who lost the war and an alternative breed of leaders who emerged triumphant and took over major governing positions.

CLO: Synthesize diverse perspectives to achieve an interdisciplinary understanding.

ILO: Synthesize historical, literary, psychological, sociological, and political perspectives regarding war and culture, using the American Civil War and the Great War as case studies.

A complete account of the American Civil War and the Great War are documented in letters, journals and war museums. The memories were also passed on through war stories and memorabilia. These accounts and documentations formed the foundation for the political perspective of the wars. All together, these accounts formed the manuals for war and have over the years been referred to while going into modern day warfare. In addition, the soldiers’ accounts of the war have formed the literary perspective of the wars for those who remained behind after the war and for future reference.

Despite the fact that the American Civil War and the Great War were successful for the American people, soldiers of both wars were left with significant and chronic conditions and war impacts. On the warfront, soldiers often had to endure days without food, good clothing and shelter. Malnutrition and sold were common among the soldiers, some picked up wounds and disabilities that they had to cope with amidst poor medical supplies.

Psychologically, most of the soldiers were really traumatized after witnessing mass death of colleagues and picking up life changing war inflicted injuries and disabilities. Amidst all the negatives, the war was also beneficial to the American society. While the men were away in the battlefields, women stepped up and experienced what it felt like to fit in the vacancies left by the soldiering men and having to perform the male roles. The society changed drastically due to this. The men on the other hand came back home pride and better management, leadership and fighting skills. Above all, their paradigm about life shifted significantly.

CLO: Analyze the relationships among academic knowledge, professional work, and the responsibilities of local and global citizenship.

ILO: Analyze the relationships among historical, literary, psychological, sociological, and political knowledge, professional work and the responsibilities of local and global citizenship regarding war and culture.

Most independent states in the world today exist as a result of extensive power struggle and fight for freedom and independence. Democracies and citizenship have all been attributed to result from the same ancient power struggles and battles. Culture, on the other hand, is an aspect of life that forms the basis of human interaction and interrelations. While culture existed before the American Civil War and the Great War, they were significantly short changed after the wars. The congruent American culture shifted after the end of the war as war veterans had to adapt to new life after war and the society had to accommodate the heroes returning from battle. The country, on the other hand, had better managerial and leadership experiences and strategies. These they later utilized in global political, economic and social productivity and influence. While this restructuring towards global citizenship happens redundant systems were thrown out leading to a young new country with defined cultural slants. The American Civil War is considered to have led to the conception of America. Subsequent revolutions led to emergence of new states which were successfully integrated and allowed access to state resources. In an attempt to integrate states, resources were localized and set in local places. Unwavering statesmanship and culture led to the integrated state of New America.


CLO: Evaluate multiple perspectives, modes of inquiry and expression, and processes for decision-making in the disciplines.

ILO: Evaluate perspectives, modes of inquiry and expression, and processes for decision-making in history, literature, sociology, psychology, and politics regarding war and culture.

David Silbey’s case study unearths an important interrelations between warfare and culture and how the two integrate to create a united society. The American Civil War and the Great War have multiple influences on the modes of inquiry and expression and process for decision making. Victorious warfronts documented their war manuals which are used to date in the military to win wars. Emergence of people and resource management skills together with leadership abilities are traceable to the war leaders’ literature and war stories. On the other hand, war loses led to loss of several American lives and those of the rival camps. These were quickly dismissed and used to form lifelong lessons which were not to be repeated in the battlefields. Decision making was devolved to every soldier but only a select few who had the necessary skills and experience were allowed leadership positions. These leaders later used their war knowledge and experiences to pioneer the making of a comprehensive constitution which later gave birth to political parties and conceptualization of new, independent states and economies.

Works Cited:

Lee, Wayne E. (2011). Warfare and Culture in World History. New York University Press.

David Silbey. Connecting Culture and the Battlefield: Britain and the Empire fight the Hundred Days.

Fahs, Alice. The Memory of the Civil war in American Culture, University of North Carolina Press

Erenberg, Lewis A. The War in American Culture. University of Chicago Press.

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