The Social Trauma of War – Rememberance/Veteran’s Day

“War is a continuation of politics by other means, and an act of violence pushed to its utmost bounds.” – Carl von Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz was a Prussian General, but he was also a Hegalian; the same philosophical teachings used by Karl Marx.

There’s a reason why World War I was the most socially traumatic event in history. And if you’re like me, you can see World War II and nothing more than a much more bloody extension of World War I.

All Wars


Imagine, looking at the chart, during World War I, the entire population of Canada as we know it it day being killed. Or, if you want to use a state, imagine the entire population of New York State, including New York City as we know it today, being wiped out in a few years.

Now imagine World War II in the same context, and imagine the entire populations of California and New York State being completely wiped out. Or imagine, as we know them today, the entire populations of Spain, or France, or Italy, or the United Kingdom, being completely wiped out.

Imagine what kind of collective trauma that causes.

World War I provided some of the scariest technological advances in the art of killing masses of people that the world had ever seen, or will see since. Some of those inventions include: tanks, fighter planes, Mortars, Howitzer cannons, mechanized armor, barbed wire, and land mines; all of which were refined during World War II.

However, the largest technological advances, were in battlefield medicine. It seems that after World War I, and refined in World War II, it became much easier to keep wounded soldiers alive through medical advancement – especially in the United States.

U.S. Wars


But the one thing that no nation has had advancement, or success in, is healing the trauma suffered, both collectively, and individually.

Yes, War is politics by other means, and as C. Wright Mills pointed out, where there’s politics, there’s Capital. As Sociologists, we often think about “human capital” in lives lost for some sociological reason. However, we are all guilty of forgetting that human capital can be lost through social trauma. Where a group of people, and all the individuals within that group, cannot function in any social context because of the inner-trauma of “violence pushed to its utmost bounds.”

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