Wars of the Century Major Essay

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The aftermath of those wars can still be felt up to this day and many societies have adjusted in consequences of the events described above.

Although those major conflicts have changed our societies and have allowed us to not only become a more complete society but to understand other cultures more deeply, the main and principal causes of those wars seem to be very redundant. All of these wars have started from a socio-cultural conflict or divergence of opinion. While all of the major wars have escalated to conflicts not always pertaining to their original purpose, history has certainly shown us that the major idea behind all of the aforementioned conflicts is a cultural difference, or issue.

If we start by analysing World War I and its beginnings, we quickly discover that the war declaration from Austria-Hungary to Serbia followed the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Austria's Archduke. The Archduke and his wife had been murdered in order to liberate the south-Slav provinces of Austria-Hungary in order to combine them into Yugoslavia, or Greater Serbia. From the start, it appeared to be a cultural war; Ferdinand's ideal was federalism, which posed an important threat against Serbia's irredentism.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Wars of the Century Major Assignment

World War II, on the other hand, has seen Auschwitz and the Holocaust; there is certainly no denial that most of the powers behind World War II were defying Hitler's orders of extermination of the Jewish and 'useless' population of Germany and surrounding countries. World War II represents the ultimate peak of racism and cultural differences; the Jewish were ordered exterminated simply for being different, for being considered 'weaker' than the Superior Race of Germany. Another major social and cultural cause of that particular war would be the fact that after the first major war, many ethnicity had been blended in together, against their will, following the Treaty of Versailles. As stated by Margaret J. Goldstein (2004, p.6) 'Millions of people ended up living within new national borders, governed by people of a different ethnic group'. The bitterness created by this situation would certainly push social groups to protest.

The Cold War also started as cultural war. Through the entire duration of the conflict, it was Communism against Democracy. Politics certainly enter what is referred to as 'culture' of a society and the major divergence of opinions between the Soviet Union and the United States on what is the 'correct' political structure is the major idea behind the Cold War and all the related proxy war. The Soviets and the Americans were conflicted between their political beliefs and the competitions constantly instigated between the two nations led to various conflicts, which include the Korean and Vietnam wars -- both of these wars were also featuring Communist and Democratic opponents.

Whether we are discussing a political conflict, religious war or war of power, the main motivation behind all of these major conflicts through the twentieth century has been a cultural difference. Politics and religion are certainly part of a nation's culture and unfortunately, many nations still do not accept that other regions of the world see things differently and try to instigate their point-of-view, whether wrong or right, over other nations.

In a society in which we have grown more accustomed to cultural differences and pride ourselves on the acceptance of others and the elimination of all racism in our society, many individuals believe that the possibility of war declaration leading to world conflicts such as the five Major Wars discussed above is very slim. The truth is, while the majority of civilized world believe in difference and embrace all different cultures, those wars are never caused by the majority. Conflicts usually emerge from the strong minority; a party of extremist individuals will assemble man power and firepower in order to gain respect and dominate the rest of the population. It is impossible to say that large-scale conflicts such as World War I and II may never be declared again. At this point, what our international society can hope for is that the man is intelligent enough to learn from his mistakes and to not repeat history. The horrors seen in the twentieth century wars are indescribable and the aftermath of those deadly conflicts have certainly changed our world forever.

In Conclusion

Whether discussing small or large conflicts, wars or arguments, it is important to understand that most conflicts or divergence of opinions derail from a cultural difference. Whether it is beliefs, politics or other, history has shown us that cultural divergence can lead to unimaginable world conflicts and can escalate quickly to deadly ends. While the acceptance of others and the tolerance regarding politic and religious differences is now at a peak in most countries, our society will never be at bay of preventing conflicts. As demonstrated by the many antiwar movements during the Vietnam War era, we tend to see the problem in the outside but never what touches us directly. Chatfield and DeBenedetti (1990) have clearly shown the hypocrisy of it all; Americans were manifesting against the deadly war in Vietnam, against racism and other world conflicts without realising that their own history is made of racism, if we go back to the winning battle against the Natives, some centuries ago. The simple fact that we never analyze our own country and our own society the same way we criticize others allow for conflicts to escalate quickly and, unfortunately, cause irreparable damages to our international entity. It is also to be mentioned that in a twisted day, freedom of speech amongst social entities may be a counterproductive element that could possibly lead to the escalation of conflicts (Williams, 2008).

The positive note is that we have learned immensely from those previous conflicts and that our current knowledge and diplomacy will help tremendously in keeping any conflicts and differences to a minimum in order to minimize worldly impact. It is believed that human beings learn from their mistakes and it is certainly hoped that the bloody wars of the twentieth century serve as enough of a mistake for mankind to think through any war threat in the near and far future. One thing is certain, is that without any sort of limitations of the what the Great Powers of our world can or cannot do, we are in no way in the ability to see some kind of world peace (Lundestad and Njolstad, 2002). On that note, it is also a scary thought to think that events, such as September 11th, for example (Booth and Dunn, 2002), may be sparks of a world conflict that is simply slow to escalate and develop.


Best, Anthony et al. (2008) International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond. Oxon, Routledge.

Booth, Ken and Dunne, Tim (eds) (2002) Worlds in Collision: Terror and the Future of the Global Order. Hampshire, Palgrave.

Chatfield, Charles and DeBenedetti, Charles (1990) An American Ordeal: the antiwar movement of the Vietnam Era. Syracuse, Syracuse University Press.

Cowley, Robert and Parker, Geoffrey (1996) The Reader's Companion to Military History. New York, Houghton Mifflin.

Goldstein, Margaret J. (2004) World War II. Minneapolis, Lerner Publications Company.

Ignatieff, Michael (1988) The Warrior's Honor: Ethnic War and the Modern Conscience. New York, Vintage.

Kaarbo, Juliet and Ray, James (2010) Global Politics. Boston, Cengage Learning.

Kidd, Judith et al. (2001) Into the Twentieth Century. Oxford, Heinemann.

Lundestad, Geir and Njolstad, Olav (eds) (2002) War and Peace in the 20th Century and Beyond. Singapore, World… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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