Studies & Degrees in War Studies
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Throughout man’s history, there has never been an occasion as momentous as war. Normally, war disrupts the normal flow of any civilization’s way of life. Men leave their families to fight while those left behind, the women, children and the elderly, are in constant fear praying that their love ones make it back home and that the enemy doesn’t reach their homes. Usually, as a form of reference, a lot of people refer a point in time in history by citing great war leaders to refer to a particular point in time like Alexander the Great’s time or Napoleon Bonaparte’s time or it could be an era when a nation flourished because of their superior military might during their golden age as was the case of Ancient Rome, the Hittites, the Akkadians, the Babylonians or sometimes great wars like World War I and II, The Seven Years War or the Crusades. History of man is basically the history of the evolution of warfare.
Wars are constantly present in any century and almost every nation has its own internal war to fight. Because war is really that an undeniable an event, studying war is only but a logical path to traverse to. The field of study that takes an in-depth look at war is officially called War Studies.
War Studies is apparently distinct from Military History as it also tackles different fields of studies such as Philosophy of War, Psychology of War, International Studies and Military Strategies.
The subject of Military History will tackle the chronology of armed conflicts in man’s history along with their impact to society, their cultures, economies and internal and external feuds. Analyzing military history is a useful tool in formulating future plans and policies in the development of society.
Philosophy of War on the other hand examines war beyond strategy and weapons used in combat. The scope of this subject includes the relationship between war and human nature. The ethics of war is also included under this topic where political justice, religious and moral considerations of waging or engaging in a war is examined very closely.
In Psychology of War, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) and Psychological Operations (better known as PSYOPs) are the main topics that students of War Studies would most likely encounter. Post traumatic stress disorder usually develop among the citizenry and military personnel in societies involved in a war and this subject would give guidelines on how to minimize and deal with PTSD and as well as how to increase morale of everyone be it combat or non-combat personnel. Psychological Operations, meanwhile, are concerned with techniques in influencing a target’s value systems, morale, emotions, reasoning or behavior. Basically, this is what the Vietcong used in warring with a stronger force like the US Army. They tortured US soldiers and leave them in such a traumatic state and let them be rescued so the rescued soldiers can recount how they were mutilated and punished during their captivity. The Vietcong did also a lot of damage with land mines causing American soldiers to go home with a lost limb or two. When the public had seen enough soldiers in such a state of shock, the clamor to abandon the Vietnam War got enough steam and forced them to admit defeat.
International Studies come to the picture as wars are usually fought between two different nations and would concern with relationships with other nations that would be strained or would need to be sacrificed. International Studies would also delve in other fields such as international laws and politics, economics, foreign interventionism, human rights and nuclear proliferation.
Of course, Military Strategies would be the best part of the course. This is where the famous war treatise “The Art of War,” by Lao Tzu would be thoroughly discussed. Strategies like deterrence strategy (used by Americans during the Cold War), economic embargo, cutting supply lines and decapitation among other things would definitely make student listen with both ears.
Although modern weaponry like satellite tracking, stealth planes and smart bombs are changing how wars are currently waged and perhaps giving an upper hand to those possessing modern weaponry, it is however still human nature that would dictate the tide of any war as humans are the ones waging the war and weapons are but tools.