Point of view essay
As a youthful male in high school senior, am extremely fearful of going to war despite serving in the military service being one of the signs of being patriotic to the nation and also significant contribution in safeguarding the nation from internal and external threats. The involvement of America in international wars and conflicts that include World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War had a significant impact on the young population, the American economy, international political arena and civil rights. These factors and conditions would not motivate me to wish for war in the 21st century, or even engage in foreign wars.
Before the Vietnam War and World War II most young people were motivated to join military service and fight in foreign wars. However, after these war eras, widespread violation of civil rights, numerous adverse impacts of wars, increased political awareness, and moral consciousness led to massive opposition to war. During the wars, young people were coerced into fighting for their nation while others got forced to join the soldiers. These led to a significant population decrease as many soldiers died in the battlefields. Also, universities and colleges got deprived of a generation of academic-minded young men. The Vietnam War (1959 -1975) was greatly opposed by many young Americans who believed that the war draft that would force them to fight was wrong, thus led to the rise of numerous large protests. Many men declared themselves as conscientious objectors so as to avoid serving in the military, with the number of those prosecuted for draft evasion in the United States increasing from 340 in 1965 to 5,000 in 1972 (Wiest, Barbier & Robins, 2009). Different civil rights movement also emerged in the same period to sensitize the young people on the effects of war and also increased student activism. Due to these developments in the 1960s about the effect of the war, I would highly protest the involvement of young people in foreign wars and conflicts.
The adverse impacts of war on many American soldiers are also another factor that makes me as young man to disapprove the involvement in foreign wars and conflicts. Many of the US troops involved in the Vietnam War and world wars experienced and witnessed extremely brutal and violent events in the battlefields. The events include bloodshed, witnessing torture, experiencing torture when captured and other unspeakable acts. The effect was the death of a significant number of the soldiers, physical injury and for those who survived many suffered psychological and mental problems after the effects of the different forms of war trauma. According to Krippner & McIntyre (2003), a major negative impact on many of the combats returning from the Vietnam War was the development of classic symptoms of dissociation and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a medical condition that was of substantial concern to psychiatrists in the 20th century. The war traumas did not only affect soldiers in the battlefields but also civilians as a large number including children were forced into sexual slavery and prostitution as a direct or indirect result of wartime socioeconomic factors. Despite the sacrifice and suffering, the American culture did not recognize, honor, aid or care for the Vietnam War veterans up until 1982 when there was a dedication of Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Therefore, the lack of pride for serving one’s country would not motivate me to join in any war.
In the American foreign wars and conflicts, especially World War II the use of propaganda and stereotypes was a crucial tool for motivating young people to support actively and fight in the war. World War II propaganda posters dehumanized the Japanese and instilled fear in American minds thus prompting to a growth of cultural and racial hatred. This propaganda portrayed the Japanese nation as a ruthless and animalistic enemy; hence gaining numerous public supports for the war and young people commitment. The lack of a proper reason to fight would have been a hindrance for public morale and commitment for participation in the war. Similarly, as a young person in the 21st century, I would not join the military service to fight without proper reasons.
World War I and other international conflicts had a significant social, economic and political impact on the international community. The wars led to enmity among nations leading to extensive fighting and bombing such as United States bombing of Japan that resulted in massive loss of lives. Therefore, as young leaders, it is crucial to promote world peace and cohesion so as to minimize the devastating consequences of global wars and conflicts.
The US isolationist policies during the start of World War I in which American avoided all foreign wars at all costs and avoided commitment to any side during the war aimed at preventing American involvement. However, the vulnerability of the US ships led to involvement in the war in which they fought German. Despite US isolationism, the nation’s trade with other countries decreased due to the war. Therefore, as a young person, I advocate that American get involved in promoting world peace and democracy for a better and economically strong country.
Krippner, S., & McIntyre, T. M. (2003): The psychological impact of war trauma on civilians: An international perspective. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Wiest, A., Barbier, M. K., & Robins, G. (Eds.). (2009): America and the Vietnam War: Re-examining the Culture and History of a Generation. Routledge.