The Effects Of Modernity And The Military

1618 words - 6 pages

The military has long been one of the central institutions of the state. However in the years since the beginning of the modern age this institution has been radically changed. The modern military is capable of organization, violence, and destructive power never dreamed of in the pre modern age. The small scale personal warfare of the pre modern age has been replaced with war that is impersonal and technologically driven.The Military in the pre modern era was driven much differently and less effectively motives. It was fought almost as personal battles between kings and their families. Therefore the military would be put into action when the king's interest were at stake, instead of when the nation's interest was on the line. This is a 'kinship relation' as Giddens says, that is 'as an organising device for stabilizing social ties across tome and space' (102). Religion was also an Old Regime motive for war in a several occasions. This was one of the very few times large armies were put together by a somewhat voluntary action. They fought for a cause they were truly willing to die for. The Crusades are examples of such action. In those wars Christians from Europe fought Muslims from the Middle East over religious grounds.The Military officers during the pre modern era were not chosen in the best interest of the nation, but by the Old Regime idea of tradition. The officers were always Aristocrats chosen by birth, not merit. This was not a very efficient way to run an army because the people in charge were often incompetent. This was a classic example of Old Regime thinking. The Aristocracy is based on birth or tradition, and tradition in the Old Regime was more important than effectiveness or function.Old Regime armies relied almost exclusively on mercenaries, who created more problems within the military. Since the Mercenaries were fighting for a pay check they were in no way willing to die and not see the money. Dissertation was also a huge problem with the Mercenaries so there was little or no trust between the soldiers and their officers. Whenever a battle came near the officers had to watch their men very closely. This created tactical difficulties as well. If the General wanted to send a small group of men around a hill by themselves, the mercenaries could not be trusted to do what they were told or even be seen again.Technology in the pre modern era developed somewhat during the those centuries. Ancient battles were fought hand to hand with swords, knives, or anything a person could get his hands on. This was a very personal, face to face, way of fighting where brute force determined who won these one on one battles. This is also a trait of the Old Regime. Giddens refers to these sort of relations as 'facework relations' where relationship is face to face. The technology, as it slowly developed, by modern standards, moved just as slowly away from this 'facework relationship.' With the invention of the bow and arrow some could kill another...

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