Updated at 5:50 p.m. on October 27, 2018.
Module 9 | Prompt
- Here we go again?
- How many wars has America fought and how often is America at war?
- Has war become a ubiquitous American value?
- Have Americans been conditioned to accept war as a solution to conflict?
- What can history tell us about America's political state today and potential war related risks ahead?
- Is nationalism historically successful?
- President Trump has identified himself as a nationalist, what does this mean for the future of America?
- How do nations avoid war?
"[...] as lately became apparent to most of us...our contemporary ideal of 'one world' is far from [a] realization. [...] what it technically looks like today, 'one world' in an atomic age, is from a social point of an atomized world of hostile nations and quarreling social groups unable to find a basis for mutual understanding, to mention nothing of cooperation.
[...] To make an already bad situation worse, the dangers of our dilemma are now multiplied by the fact that clashing psychic forces of humanity, neatly divided up and encased in relatively watertight national compartments, are now equipped with techniques so useful and powerful in war that they may cause the total destruction of civilization if "left to work themselves out without conscious direction." Indeed since there is no defense against atomic bombs, man must make an end to world wars or will make an end to civilization as we know it" (Helmut, 1947).
Further, [...] "preparation does not make for security, for the better a nation thinks itself prepared for defense, the more easily it can be prepared to undertake an offensive defense and thus war be precipitated. [...]" In other words, "a 'prepared' nation does not seek to avoid trouble" (Mayer, 1926).
"[...] The law of nature, more powerful than that of human intelligence, begins [..., that] nature has a tendency to preserve states [of existence] that grow in accordance with her own law and to destroy the others. This destruction may take the form of the sloughing off of unassimilable parts, or it may be a disintegration of the whole mass. These disintegrated parts begin the old process of growth. In the rare case where the directing human intelligence has profited by its lesson, out of death may come a better life, a better and more enduring state; otherwise, sooner or later, again death.
We have recently had, and still have before our eyes, illustrations of both processes" (Bliss, n.d.).
1941, World War II - England
"The English have a respect for constituted authority and really accept leadership of which they approve. But during the last week of the Munich crisis, not only the men but those unique and tough old women who inhabit London pubs were saying: "Is it possible that Chamberlin is a traitor?" They almost whispered it, the idea was so new and so horrible. Immediately after the signing of the Munich pact, many of these same people were wildly hailing Chamberlin as the savior of peace. Both reactions were based on unreasoning emotion. This is one of the most appalling aspects of the terrible weeks London lived through.
The primary reason for the non-recognition of reality [...] is that the Chamberlain government, and the Baldwin government before it, chose to be too trusting. Even after Hitler had begun to pollute the stream of European civilization, Britain, through Chamberlain, tried to believe the best about him and refused to accept the worst until the cannon began to speak.
England's former lethargy, apathy, and lack of realization of its vulnerable ability at the outbreak of the war must not be laid exclusively at the door of the Ministry of Information: the Ministry itself was new; its members were inexperienced, and there was no knowledge of how its various departments could be coordinated.
The primary reason for the non-recognition of reality [...] is that the Chamberlain government, and the Baldwin government before it, chose to be too trusting. Even after Hitler had begun to pollute the stream of European civilization Britain, through Chamberlain, tried to believe the best about him and refused to accept the worst until the cannon began to speak.
- Chamberlain proclaimed to a peace-loving people that "peace in our time" was to be achieved by trusting the solemn promise of a man who has become known to the world as a liar!
When in September 1939, war was declared, Mr. Chamberlin's government was caught short. 'We'll muddle through,' said the minister responsible for the welfare of the civilian population. The government [then] set about to evacuate young children, the aged, blind, infirm and the expectant mothers from large urban centers" (Estorick, 1941).
The world came upon the tragedy of the Holocaust despite all knowing, heedless of the knowledge of past wars. Moreover, above people, economic success numbed, if not blinded the world.
1934, Post-World War I - In Hindsight
"[...] attitude of mind is heresy to the disciple of political nationalism [...]. To him the flag that flies over his home is sacred. He will speak of it with bated breath and he will rise to salute it when called upon to do so in public places. He is the embodiment of patriotism [...] as 'the last resort of scoundrels.'
Perhaps sentimental flag waving is not dangerous in itself, but it soon grows into a desire to see that flag flying from as many poles as possible in parts of the world" (James, 1934).
Indeed, nationalism is the same today. The natural course is to fight containment. It seeks expansion of ideology by any means, defining justice as a radical politic.
“Although the diminution, through tariffs, of markets of an exporting nation presents a serious problem, it is much less serious than the situation created in a growing debtor nation by the sudden cessation of the flow of new capital funds. Economic depression results in the first case, but in the second, depression leads rapidly, through default and economic bankruptcy, into chaos.”
Moreover, “mankind must learn to cooperate in the organization of Nature and the occupation of the world; in the face of major wars our civilization would have no more a chance of permanence than the wistful dream of Babylon. Economic nationalism does not meet the challenge” (James, 1934)!
See Interdisciplinary Resources for works cited.
Today, while Americans tackle compartmentalized religious priorities and an ever-growing list of very real social injustices, homegrown and distant enemies are capitalizing on the subsequent discord and fertilizing the seeds of division.
Emerging, a deeply rooted theology of war, fastened to the soul of America like shackles upon a slave. And whether it is the machinations of a madman in the White House or at a distance, it is certain that America is being led to another heinous war within, and without; inevitably sinking us further into 'the chair,' 'We' are here, but freedom is slipping into the darkness.
- Bliss, T. H. (1923). European Conditions vs. Disarmament. Foreign Affairs, 1(3), i–xii. Keywords: foreign relations, military, European nation, council of foreign relations, pre-and post-World War
- Estorick, E. (1941). Morale in Contemporary England. American Journal of Sociology, 47(3), 462–471. Keywords: military morale, propaganda, social surveys, democracy, bombardment, psychological warfare, total war, militant democracy
- Helmut G. Callis. (1947). The Sociology of International Relations. American Sociological Review, (3), 323. Keywords: cultural anthropology, ethnography, social structures, international relations, social life, animals, applied anthropology, human societies, international politics, political attitudes, zoology, anthropology, sociology, politics, political sociology, behavioral sciences
- James, F. Cyril (1934). Economic Nationalism and War. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 65. Keywords: nationalism, war economics, tariffs, countries, international economics, Unites States environmental policy, standard of living, economic depressions, weapons
Next Week's Sneak Peak...
I'm not sure what I will be researching next week...
War: A Brutal Vision
A soldier reanimates the horrors of war in the field.
Video via Vimeo by Asim Bawa