War Creates Social Division, Not Cohesion

5370 words - 21 pages

War Creates Social Division, Not Cohesion

In attempts to truthfully learn from our past and make progress towards a peaceful world with equality for all, the topic of war, and the effects of war, is an importance issue. Many people believe that war, although obviously destructive, does lead to social cohesion within the particular nation-state at war. The Senate of Canada defines social cohesion as the capacity of citizens living under different social or economic circumstances to live together in harmony, with a sense of mutual commitment. (Culturelink, par. 2) The idea that war leads to social cohesion is based upon the assumption that during a time of crisis, such as a war, people will come together out of the necessity to survive. This belief that the masses unite, neglecting prior dispositions towards one another while opposing a common enemy, has been fairly prominent throughout history. The Second World War, the Cold War, and the Gulf War will be used as examples to research the assumption that social cohesion is a result of warfare. I will argue that warfare, opposed to popular belief, causes large-scale discrimination, which in turn creates social division, not cohesion. Once an understanding of the discriminatory effects war causes is expressed, the backbone derived from the research is that we must valiantly oppose military action to uphold our freedom and equality for all, rather than trying to fight for freedom.

Second World War

The Japanese bombed the United States' Hawaiian naval base, Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941 and this began what we now know as the Second World War. The news swept the country by surprise, from that point forward the nation was shocked into a sort of social cohesion. "After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Hitler's support of the Japanese by declaration of war against the United States, the opposition against war collapsed overnight and would never be revived" (Gerstle, 191). It was believed the United States came together as a whole and functioned as a single unit of great power to oppose two separate enemies on two separate fronts simultaneously. John P. Diggins stated "never before in its history and never again in the immediate future, would America enjoy such unity in time of war" (Gerstle, 189). It seemed Americans were ready and willing to fight for their country. John Whiteclay Chambers II, in Gerstle's book American Crucible, offers evidence-displaying Americans willingness to engage in war. He explains the Second World War's refusal of induction to the draft and desertion rates from basic training were far below those for World War I or Vietnam. Only one-half of one percent either refused to be drafted or deserted training camp soon after their arrival. Sounds surprisingly low and when compared to the rate of desertion and refusal of induction during the First World War and Vietnam, which were twelve percent and twenty percent respectively, this statistic becomes astounding. (189) Out...

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