The war as people have known and understood it, has inculcated nothing but violence. Over the history, the remnants of different wars became distinct because of the horrors that it caused and imbibed within the innocent lives of people not involved with it. In addition, those who have actually participated in wars, battleworn and inflicted with such violence can only remember the dreadful effects that it left. However, recent studies and approaches to war histories suggest otherwise.
Indeed, there have been numerous horrors inflicted by the war towards innocent victims – women, children, elderly, and the soldiers themselves. But on a different light, the article by Drew Gilpin Faust shows that these wars, although violent and bloody, have brought numerous lessons that only the battlefield can best teach the people. In contrast to the usual and common notion perceiving war as evil and violent, some historians view the war as an enlightening period in the history.
Francis Parkman believed that the Americans, who have for so long been vilified by their pursuit for success, will be purified and strengthened after a season of war wherein they shall call out for new ideals and they shall learn to appreciate emotions and sentiments relevant for them to destroy selfishness and greed (Faust, 2004, pp. 369-370). In a distinct manner, the Americans have been dominating the international arena due to their indespensable strength and the supremacy that they hold before less developed and weaker countries.
And as such, this rendered the Americans the incapability to become keen of other nations’ sentiments towards their leadership. And with this, the outcomes of the war can be the only way to bring about worthy realizations towards the Americans. Although no one can deny that in reality, the wars that people have bravely fought caused numerous of lives gone to waste. However, despite the horrors of losing loved ones, comrades and brothers became a necessary sacrifice in order to purify a nation that has been subjected to ill doings and a means to cleanse the people out of their sins committed against their own nation and other nations.
It may seem morbid to other people, but more civilians became largely interested in understanding the experiences of the fighters firsthand. Civilians became more willing to feel the sensation because for them, these experiences will render them the ability to become more humane – feeling different sensations and privilege of having emotions for them to grasp (Faust, 2004, p. 372). Those who served the military to cure the wounded became immensely satisfied of their tasks.
For them, the patients that they attended to and the wounds that they had to cure introduced them to richer and new insights. And though these may have connoted a great level of violence, nonetheless these experiences explored a great deal out of their humanity. And for those who have endured the battle themselves as soldiers, a number treated such experience with rejoice despite the destruction and chaos that it caused them (Faust, 2004, p. 372).
With all these perceptions about wars, Civil War in particular, most of the historians developed greater interests in tackling the horrors and lessons that come with it. The fondness of most of Americans in the wars that they have fought became distinct that most of the historians have dedicated a large amount of their time and career to discover the truth behind the Civil War and the lessons that it has ought to teach the people. As such, over the history, numerous books and studies have been developed that were dedicated to the Civil War.
James McPherson’s book entitled “Battle Cry of Freedom” was one of the most celebrated composition and a direct beneficiary of the Civil War’s fame. It turned out to become one of the most respected and famous books that tackled the experiences behind the war. Consequently, the “Journal of Southern History” also became one of the best compositions that broadly represented the different aspects of the conflicts during the Civil War. Given the significant increase of people’s interest in the war, it is logical to wonder what has triggered the people’s desire to study more about it.
Ken Burn explained that the issues confronted during the Civil War era is continously reflecting the contemporary issues that Americans still face today (Faust, 2004, pp. 374-375). In addition to Burn’s explanation, several writers have also come to the conclusion that people are still interested with the cause and outcome of the Civil War because it has shaped modern America’s society and culture. They believe that the horrors and lessons behind the war, though they are considerably dreaded, are keys to discover America’s roots and origin. The whole point of the article really does make sense.
The turnout and effects of the war that it bestowed upon the country, the fighters involved in it, and the greater number of innocent lives who had to bear with the war experiences created a huge impact that is impossible to forget in a lifetime. The different aspects and different angles given to the study of Civil War offered a great amount of help in understanding the fruits and losses behind the incident. As such, such wars and battles mirror the history of America. During the present era, the war that America has fought and is still fighting presents the same outcome – numerous lives lost and land and property devastation.
Same with America’s previous war engagement, they invented the war “in order to control violence” (Faust, 2004, p. 381). Equipped with weak evidences behind America’s attack against Iraq, America has acted in order to create for their country a “sense of meaning, intention and goal-directedness” (Faust, 2004, p. 381). Again, America was pushed into a war in order to regain superiority and control. Indeed, the wars that America has fought came with distinct lessons despite the unwanted memories and experiences that the wars have unleashed.
But despite these horrors, the American government still pushed their nations onto a different battle regardless of what the world has to say about it. It is true, the Civil War taught Americans a great deal of lessons which were learned the hardest and most painful way. But now, they stand the war again – and numerous studies about the wars may not have helped at all. War, from the dawn of the history until the present generation, is still yet a battle that has not been won. Reference Faust, D. G. (2004). We Should Grow Too Fond of It: Why We Love the Civil War. Civil War History. (pp. 368-383). The Kent State University Press.
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