Any war causes indelible havoc wherever it takes place. To understand the process that a society lives after an event as devastating as this, we are going to analyze the consequences of a war.
To do this, we will mainly divide the article into two sections. In one we will deal with the consequences of wars in society and people from psychology, and then we will approach to understand the consequences of war from a more “positive” or hopeful vision , if we are allowed to call it that.
As it could not be otherwise, these military consequences can be applied to the famous ones: World War I, World War II, the Cold War and the Vietnam War., which are probably the best known and studied in history.
- You may be interested: Psychological torture techniques: what they are, types and 4 examples explained.
Consequences of war for the human being
As we have already said, first we are going to discover the most common and devastating social consequences of a war. Depending on the type of war and the characteristics of the territory, the consequences will appear more marked in one sphere or another.
In order not to prolong this article too much, the analysis of each one of the consequences of wars is not excessively exhaustive. For more information, we recommend consulting the final bibliography .
Finally add that depending on the phase in which the conflict is, a war will be having some or other consequences.
To learn more: The 4 phases of any conflict, consequences and how to handle it. 1. Violence
As is obvious, the escalation of violence suffered by a society is the greatest stressor that it experiences during an armed conflict. Such violence wears down people’s minds and causes the social fabric to deteriorate over time to reach unsuspected limits.
Living under constant threat and feeling that danger lurks anywhere changes people individually, and this affects social groups and how they relate to each other, making any type of interaction potentially explosive. 2. Social fear
One of the worst consequences of the Second World War was not only the human and economic losses, but fear as a social emotion around the world. Feeling that no nation was free from the impact of such a conflict.
At the individual level, prolonged fear can cause everything from gastrointestinal disorders, to sleep problems and even post-traumatic stress disorders.
As if that were not enough, this is always known by the enemy (whoever it is), and many times each side tries to promote fear over the rival to attack him morally. 3. Overflow
Given the incredible activation that any war produces in the individual, during the first phases (and after these) the overflow appears. This consequence of the war means that during a period, people are very activated, emotionally and behaviorally , trying to survive and cope with the situation.
This wears people down enormously and ends up causing in many cases overflows and other effects like the one we see below. 4. Emotional block
After spending long periods without rest with overwhelming levels of activation, the next consequence of a war appears: emotional block.
As a result of fatigue and the too long duration of the conflict, we human beings end up blocking ourselves, exhausted from trying to deal with a situation that overwhelms us. In the end, learned helplessness and emotional insensitivity end up appearing . 5. Pain
The pain, due to all the events that are experienced, is unstoppable and constant. One of the main consequences of war is precisely that almost every day there is bad or terrible news. This prevents the person from elaborating his problems well and ends up dragging them throughout the conflict (for as long as it lasts) and beyond. 6. Guilt
One of the consequences of the Vietnam War was the guilt that appeared after and even during it. It was also one of the consequences of World War II, when Allied soldiers attacked enemy territories and massacred, usually (we hope) unintentionally, areas with a civilian population.
From people who participate in wars to those survivors who feel that they did not do enough to help their acquaintances and relatives, they feel this consequence of war . 7. Psychiatric disorders
As it could not be otherwise, a very high percentage of the population ends up suffering the consequences of the war in the form of mental disorders.
Although it is true that when a harmful and disturbing situation is suffered by a group, it is less psychologically damaging than if it is suffered by an isolated individual, the consequences of war are always devastating for everyone, without exception.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is the most studied consequence of war. It affects a very high percentage of soldiers and, after all, of people involved in it. It is estimated that in Europe alone, 1.9% of the population has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Alonso, et al., 2004). 8. Uprooting
All the people who can, naturally, flee to other countries to avoid suffering a death that on many occasions is almost certain. This situation of uncertainty and uprooting by leaving behind their home and family is very painful for everyone.
But once he has escaped, the consequences of the war continue: feelings of guilt for having fled, psychological problems due to the harmful environments where the refugee camps are located, etc. 9. Losses and separations
People lose everything. This is undoubtedly one of the most traumatic consequences of war of all. We are not only talking about the material component or even the loss of loved ones, but also about the loss of identity, social status, work and goods that had a symbolic value for people. Effects of a war (positive)
Although it may surprise us and may even seem politically incorrect, the truth is that many people and even entire societies rebuild and grow as such after having gone through a war.
Some studies state that the number of people who experience what is known as “post-traumatic growth” ranges between 30 and 40% , other studies place this range between 60 and 80% (Calhoun and Tedeschi, 2006).
There are three types of positive consequences of a war, all of them within post-traumatic growth, but that we can break down into: 10. Changes in oneself
The person, after having gone through a war, perceives himself as more valid and able to overcome the obstacles of life. He feels like a true survivor who has been through one of the toughest trials anyone can experience. 11. Changes in interpersonal relationships
One of the most hopeful consequences of war is precisely that human beings, after these conflicts, begin to value people more and make more efforts to take care of relationships. 12. Changes in spirituality
In them we find all those changes related to the philosophy of life. People who have lived through the consequences of wars and their terrible effects, claim to feel changes in their values, assuring that these values are the most important thing in human life;leaving aside other elements such as work and goods. Bibliography:
de la Corte, L., Blanco, B. and JM, Sabucedo. Psychology and human rights. Barcelona. Edit. Icaria.
Calhoun, LG and Tedeschi, R.G. (1998). Beyond recovery from trauma: implications for clinical practice and research. Journal of Social Issues.
Calhoun, L.G., and Tedeschi, R.G. (2006). The foundations of post-traumatic growth: a clinician’s guide. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Moreno, F., De la Corte, L and Sabucedo, JM (2004). Psychopathology of war: causes and effects.
Vuksic-Mihaljevic Z., Bensic M., and Begic, D. (2004). Post-traumatic combat-related stress disorder among Croatian veterans: causal models for symptom clusters. European Journal of Psychiatry, 18 (4): 197-209.