Is War an Inevitable Element of Human Existence?

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Many conflicts that have raised into the world today have been solved by many ways. People can talk out their conflicts and make amends. People may also fight for their conflicts to find the right answer. Nations can solve many problems with other nations by agreeing on peace treaties and agreements. However, nations can also gruesomely conquer their conflicts by war if they cannot reach such agreements. The question arises, if there will ever be an age where these horrendous wars are nonexistent. Based on many passages, it is clearly evident war is an inevitable element of human existence. Wars have been nonstop since around 2700 B.C.E. and is still going on today. With events involving the Sumer and Elam tribe, the epic of David and Goliath, and with the wars that has affect the United States, like the Cold War, wars will always be a way to accomplish victory. Countries will have to use force in order to get their point across and if all else fails, wars will have to break out.

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“Is War an Inevitable Element of Human Existence?”

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Based on Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, MacArthur’s Commencement Address, and Mead’s Essay, evidence will be provided to prove their different views of wars and how war is inescapable. Historically, the main purpose of fighting these wars vary from many different reasons. From avenging and defending their country, to acquire territories, and to gain power. Before ending his presidency term, President Eisenhower gave a farewell address to the people of the U.S. The president made many policies to ease the tension of the Cold War. He stated to the people his ultimate goal. “we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend…, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment. Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity, and integrity amount people and among nations.” (Eisenhower 36-45). His main reason is to protect world peace and the people. Eisenhower talks about a key to his plan, “A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressors may be tempted to risk his own destruction.” (Eisenhower 94-97).

Eisenhower admits that one of his key elements to retain peace is a vital element for war, the military. If things go south, there’s only one thing the people of the U.S. can depend on, an establishment where we are the best, “ We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.” (Eisenhower 110-112). Eisenhower reconfirms that world peace will be saved based upon how their military will react, “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” (Eisenhower 128-132). Eisenhower’s final address to the nation was about his main goal of peace and prosperity and the symbol of hope that rests upon people. This symbol is the future of the U.S. which can be rested upon the military. Former United States Army General, Douglas MacArthur had many things to say about the subject of war. The retired army general shared past experiences of the wars and battles he had fought. Along with fighting these many wars, General MacArthur also witness the evolution of weapons and the evolution of destruction itself. “At the turn of the century, when I joined the Army, the target was one enemy casualty at the end of a rifle, a pistol, a bayonet, a sword. Then came the machine gun designed to kill by the dozens… followed by the atom explosion to reach the hundreds of thousands.” (MacArthur 28-34).

The General talks about the ways these weapons are getting better and better and that many nations are trying to find a weapon even capable of being even more destructing than the nuclear bombs. Alongside his past, General MacArthur also discusses how wars has/will bring nothing but darkness to both sides, he gives the example of World War II and the costs needed to heal the two enemy nations. “Global war has become a Frankenstein minster to destroy both sides. No longer can it be a successful Wallenberg of international adventure… No longer does it possess even the chance of the winner of a duel – it contains now only the germs of double suicide.”(MacArthur 54-60). The General makes these statements to conclude that these wars hold no meaning anymore as both sides will have a taste of defeat even when a side gains victory. After going on the outcomes of postwar, MacArthur goes on about how great a world can be without such wars, if these wars can be “outlawed from the world”. The General is asking for answers on how we can take another leap into cleaning this world by getting rid of wars. MacArthur talking about the wars and its cruelty proves to us how inevitable war truly is. “It may take another cataclysm if destruction to prove the bald truth that the further evolution of civilization cannot take place until global war is abolished… It is the one issue which, if settled, might settle all others.” (MacArthur 135-143).

Margaret Mead was a cultural anthropologist and she has helped out in our understanding of human behaviors many times before she died in 1978. One of the most popular essay she’s written is about war. She titled her essay, Warfare: An Invention – Not a Biological Necessity. Her essay aims on the opinion that war is not an inevitable element of human nature. Margaret first goes over the idea of eradicating war, “ A basic, competitive, aggressive, warring human nature is assumed, and those who wish to outlaw war or outlaw competitiveness merely try to find new and less socially destructive…”(Mead 13-16) Mead talks about war being an invention made by mankind and she talks as if it was some type of object. Mead talks about how we can erase wars, “War is nevertheless inevitable unless we change our social system and outlaw classes, the struggle for power, and possessions; and in the event of our success warfare would disappear, as a symptom vanishes when the disease is cured.”(Mead 23-28).

The anthropologist makes herself very clear on the fact that removing social classes and power systems, will further help the world become more stable. Finally, Margaret talks about how the mentality of war changes from place to place, or from culture to culture. Mead talks about the Eskimos specifically, because they lack warfare since they have nothing to give their anger towards. She talks about how the Eskimos navigate around their anger not towards war, “The personality necessary for war, the circumstances necessary to goad men to desperation are present, but there is no war… but this was a battle of strength and bravery not war. The idea of warfare, of one group organizing against another… And without that idea, passions might rage but there was no war.” (Mead 100-107).

Mead says that anger is a necessary emotion however to share this emotion, war should not be needed. In conclusion, Margaret Mead thinks that if something can replace war, wars will cease to exit. But what can that thing be is the question. The state of conflicts between the nations around the war will never end, as the world is just too big for nations to agree with each other. Based on conclusive evidence and details, War is clearly an inevitable element of human existence as the world cannot escape from it. Eisenhower’s farewell address proved that to attain America’s ultimate goal, military power is necessary to keep peace even if war is not an acceptable way to achieve the goal. MacArthurs commencement address discusses the evolution of war and how we have to take steps forward in order to erase war from existence and to keep peace. Lastly, Mead’s essay showed us with her theory about war being an invention mankind made and not an actually necessity of the world.

Works Cited

Eisenhower, Dwight. “Farewell Address” Analysis, Argument, and Synthesis, edited by John Brassil, Peoples Education, 2008, pp 50-52 MacArthur, Douglas. “Commencement Address: Michigan State University” Analysis, Argument, and Synthesis, edited by John Brassil, Peoples Education, 2008 pp 53-55 Mead, Margaret. “Warfare: An Invention – Not a Biological Necessity.” Analysis, Argument, and Synthesis, edited by John Brassil, Peoples Education, 2008, pp 58-61″

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Is War an Inevitable Element of Human Existence?. (2020, Apr 14). Retrieved November 29, 2022 , from

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