When we think of Civil War, what immediately comes to mind are the two main confrontations most people remember – depending on which part of the world you come from. I refer, of course, to the American Civil War and the Civil War in England.
Naturally, if you are from a one of these countries, your interest and knowledge would be much more in tune with the one you are most familiar. Of course they both had an enormous significance not in their own countries but also from a worldwide perspective.
Most people outside the United States, understand that the American Civil War was instrumental in ending the abomination of slavery in that country. Now, that from a “foreigner’s” point of view, would be the main issue to have come out of that unfortunate confrontation. You may say why unfortunate, but I maintain that loss of life in wartime is unfortunate.
The Civil War in England between Oliver Cromwell’s parliamentary forces and the Cavaliers of King Charles I, produced the world’s first attempt at Parliamentary democracy and the much-maligned Cromwell has to be credited with being the first man to follow the principle that the power of a nation should be with the people, not with one person. There was enough people around, however, not to agree with his views and the ensuing battles became fierce and bloody.
Both these wars left their mark on us as a world for the reasons I have just mentioned and we can use them as an example of what can come out of these battles. I am sure that none of us would have wished them to have happened if only for the death count, but I am not going to judge here what the balance should be in loss of life against the political outcome of a war.
Let’s move on to the 20th and 21st century. Out of sight and, unfortunately, out of mind, we have probably had civil war taking place in all four corners of the world on a regular basis. The difference is that it is sometimes difficult to see why battles are being waged. I wonder if it is because we are being “fed” information almost daily about these troubled spots and for that very reason, we have become accustomed to the violence and almost come to the point of acceptance because it is “over there” and does not affect us.
I look with interest at the moment at the situation in Iraq. The coalition forces set about their task, completed it to that satisfaction of the powers that be. This left the local folk with the option of setting up government. As I see it, that nation is no better off now that when the occupying forces stopped firing bullets. Divisions are greater in this civil war situation than they have been for a long time.
I personally now look at civil wars in a different light. The two, described first in this article, seemed to have achieved something and developed our society in a certain way. I wonder, if in today’s world, we will see the power brokers in the current civil war conflicts throughout the world, sit down and discuss peace for the benefit or all within a war-torn community.