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The Effect of War on Society: Analysis of Wilfred Owen and Bertrand Russell

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The manifestation of war in a society evokes mixed reactions and effects among individuals. War affects the lives of many innocent people within the nation, as illustrated by various studies. When individuals go to war, their lives are at stake, and some do not come out alive. Bertrand Russell wrote an engaging text on the future of man amid the increased conflicts. In his philosophy, Russell highlights the historical development of the hydrogen bomb, which is a 1000 times superior to the once feared atomic bomb. An example of a battle that claimed many lives of people in the world history is the civil war. The fight between the north and south claimed numerous lives, leaving many injured and paralyzed. Most of those who remain hurt are family and friends who care for such individuals. Studies indicate that most individuals who are affected when war occurs are usually innocent. A man who goes to war leaves those who care for him in a worried state as anything can happen to him. Those who participate in war are human beings prone to injuries or death in the process. The thought of death of a participant in war scares friends and family. A manifestation of war in the community affects individuals in the sense that it leads to death, leaves many injured, homelessness, destruction of property, and derailed economic development, among others. The text “Thermonuclear War: the Death Wish of Mankind. Has Man a Future?” mentions how people can innovatively develop weapons that can cause death but do not necessarily use them (Russel). Most nations that have developed nuclear weapons have failed to use them on several occasions for fear of the consequences that may befall the earth. The paper aims to analyze critical texts that contribute to the topic of war and conflict. A background check on issues of war and its impacts on society is a subject of interest to the research. Findings from the research will be used to develop a formidable conclusion regarding the occurrence of war in the community. The article is a historical representation of a more significant issue that looms upon the manifestation of war in the society.

“Dulce et Decorum Est”, a poem by Wilfred Owen, echoes the sentiments raised by Bertrand Russell in his work. The poem is an example of literary work that protests against any mentality that perpetuates war within a community. The poem was written during the World War I on the western front in France. The author highlights the horrors of war in the society, especially to those who are innocent. Owen, in his work, depicts soldiers trudging through the unsanitary trenches with injuries and fatigue. One should not give up during war, which risks the lives of the already tired or injured soldiers. The poem illustrates the events as they happen during the war and the risk that soldiers are put through. The author of the poem argues that if one sees an individual in war, then they would not advocate for war as it has fatal consequences. The poem speaks in the position of a young man who takes part in a war and narrates the occurrences and tries to make the audience create a picture of war. The poetic work is relevant and educative as it downplays any efforts and actions that glorify war. The glorification of war has had many consequences, including loss of lives.

“War”, by Luigi Pirandello, is a relevant text that applies narrative principles to communicate the effects that are associated with participation in war. The author of the article mentions a case where a married couple boards a train to Sulmona from Rome. The husband consoles the wife, who is crying because their son had been called to war. Unknowingly, many people on the train have suffered worse than the couple. According to the text, some had lost their sons in the war, and the couple should be grateful for their son is still alive. To some, war is a matter that happens from time to time, and there is a need to appreciate the country by sacrificing when the need arises. Fellow passengers on the train are undergoing similar situations to the extent of some losing their sons. In the article, the author has illustrated the theme of patriotism as it matters, especially during times of war. The fact that his son had decided to die for the country makes the author realize that others have also sacrificed to help the society win the war. Some decisions that many make in life are based on making sacrifices and the level of patriotism exhibited.

Bertrand Russell gave his views on war, echoing the work done by other protagonist researchers. The logic behind his narrative is to discourage war and termed it as unnecessary in the society, for it leads to destruction (Russell). In his work, the book was written in protest of the expected nuclear war within ten years, which would be catastrophic to the world. The text notes with concern that there is a need to devise an international government that oversees operations of national governments. Just like most people who predict the future, Russell proved to be wrong as the war did not occur in eventuality. His work protests against encouraging war or participating in a war. The author advocated for the disarmament of nuclear weapons to ensure that they are not used as most leaders cannot be entrusted. His observation on the morality of war and weaponry is still factual in the current world. His work is interesting since an intelligent person can be thrilling without necessarily being right.

“The Soldier” by Rupert Brook opposes the views to discourage war in the world. The sonnet in the poem glorifies England in war (Brooke). For instance, in the first stanza, the sonnet mentions how his grave should be like when he dies at war. The poem echoes patriotism in a bid to explain why one should sacrifice and die for England. To the author, war cannot be avoided, and the role of men is to face it as a hero. Rupert Brooke’s glorified the role of war in society in proving one’s patriotism. The author illustrates his interest in participating in war and how respectable it is to his reputation.

Rupert Brooke is one philosopher who did poetic work glorifying the occurrence of war, which is against the views of Bertrand Russell. The poem was composed shortly in the year 1915, after World War I had started. The work done by Rupert is illustrative of his idealistic nature and principle. To the author, patriots who take part in war have a special place, a matter that is based on misguided notions. Rupert ignores the consequences of war in society and assumes gratification for dying at war. Unlike Owen and Bertrand, the poet who communicates in the first person adores war and condemns cowardice when handling matters to do with war (Norgate). The poet echoes his origin as an important place in England that shaped his literary skills.

The disadvantage of the position taken by Rupert Brooke is that it encourages war, which is associated with bloodshed and death of people in a community. Ethically, war is not desirable as it impacts most sectors of the economy negatively. For instance, costs that are incurred in treating those injured can be directed to assist a vulnerable population or carry out other projects. Military treatment costs are high, and avoiding war can help reduce the financial implication that is associated. War in a community should be discouraged, and mutual co-existence fostered to promote peace. To many, war is a factor that has claimed lives, leaving many as widows and orphans. For instance, Bertrand Russell protests against war and the use of nuclear weapons as they have dire consequences to the population. Rupert is more of a conservative person who values war as a way of earning a reputation in the society. A manifestation of war has many disadvantages that should have prompted Rupert to conclude otherwise.

War has consequences that should encourage any to avoid war and make peace with everyone in society. Bertrand Russell recognized patriotism but does not encourage one to exhibit their loyalty through a war. The logic behind the decision to discourage war is based on negative impacts associated with a war within the society. An acceptable code of conduct internationally does not advocate for war as people end up losing their lives. Instead, it advocates for mutual existence and fair justification of circumstances, with due respect for all. Authors such as Rupert should be made to understand that war can derail economic development and loss of lives. The advantage of the position is that with a protest against war, people in society are safer. A manifestation of war distorts peaceful co-existence resulting in conflicts that can attract injuries and death. Also, campaigns against war promote sustainability in almost every sector of the economy.

To sum it up, war has many negative impacts on society, including hurting those who are innocent. War leads to instability, deaths, injuries, and destruction of property, which can be avoided by fostering peace initiatives. I support the views of Bertrand and Owen, which discourage war as an enemy of economic development. Nations that have avoided war for right or wrong reasons enjoy better economic regimes as compared to those that plunge into a war more often. Authors play a key role in shaping opinions within the society. As such, there is a need to encourage good practices within the society peace fosters economic development and improved international relations for various countries. Also, avoiding war can help reduce the number of casualties and deaths that are recorded daily on a global front. The text by Russell illustrates a scenario where war has been portrayed as a significant contributor to sabotaging growth and development, especially among developing countries.

Works Cited

  • Brooke, Rupert. The Soldier. Poetry Foundation,
  • Brown, William B., Stanlius, Robert., and McElroy, Gerrad. Moral Injury as a Collateral Damage Artifact of War in American Society: Serving in war to serving time in jail and prison.
  • Norgate, Paul. Wilfred Owen and The Soldiers Poet. Oxford University Press,
  • Own, Wilfred. Dulce Et Decorum Est. Class Handout, English 1103.03; CPP Fall 2019, Ms. Jonas
  • Pirandello, Luigi. War. Class Handout, English 1103.03.03; CPP 2019, Ms. Jonas
  • Russel, Betrand. ThermalNuclear War. Class Handout, English 1103.03; CPP Fall 2019, Ms. Jonas 

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