World War 1. World War 2. The Battle of the Bulge. The Vietnam War. All major wars that took place in another country and took the lives of many. About 603,068 people perished from just these four wars, leaving about 1,221,376 people injured mentally and physically (www.gettysburgflag.com). While death is sad and grieving, it is only one of many effects from war. Physical effects can leave someone immobile, trouble with talking and learning but the mental effects is where it gets tough for the veterans. PTSD is the most common mental condition, but others include memory loss, depression, insomnia and anxiety. In the novel “Slaughterhouse-five”, written by Kurt Vonnegut, the main character is a war veteran who was also a POW (prisoner of war) struggles when he comes home after serving in the Battle of the Bulge. Billy Pilgrim is left with PTSD and has flashbacks to his service in the army and can see moments from his past, present and future. Kurt was sent as a POW to Dresden right before the firebombing happened, and later went to write about the effects of war and the destruction it brings. War leaves many people and places broken. It only brings sadness and destruction to those around it. What lead me to believe the effects of war are bad and negative is from reading the book “Slaughterhouse-five.”
Many young men apply to serve their country but are unaware of what it can leave you with. My essay isn’t intended to stop those from protecting the people those soldiers love, but to warn them about the effects war can have on the world. In “slaughterhouse-five” Billy Pilgrim goes off to war but wasn’t expecting to get captured and lose his friend to the firebombing of Dresden. The most common effect left on soldiers are PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder (https://www.enotes.com). PTSD can give veterans flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety. Not only does war effect those fighting in it, but those who stood by and watched as their homes became a war-zone. The citizens of where the war was taken place are sometimes left with physical harm, violence, danger, exploitation, fear and loss (https://www.warchildholland.org). The environment around us if pure and full of naturally beauty but with war in the game fires start to spread, fields are destroyed, pollution, casualties to wildlife and animals. War brings a mass destruction to the people fighting, the people standing aside, and the environment involved. War is a terrible thing and effects the lives and places of many.
Causes of war can vary from economic gain, territorial gain, religion, nationalism, revenge and civil war (https://owlcation.com). This small list leaves little options for war leaders to think it’s a good idea to have conflict between multiple countries. A couple examples, the Vietnam war revolves around the idea that communism was threatening to expand across southeast Asia (https://www.historylearningsite.com). And World War 2 was popularly known for starting from the rise of political power in Germany by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party, along with their strong foreign problems (https://www.history.com). But even though these “great war leaders” had “great intentions” doesn’t mean that everybody walks away clean and harmless. There’s no good team or good side in war, everyone takes part in damaging the Earth and its people. “The nicest veterans… the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who’d really fought.” Said by Kurt Vonnegut. No one should enjoy having conflict and war, and especially what it leaves behind.
Imagine waking up and hearing screaming outside your house. Imagine walking outside to see dark clouds and people running through the streets with fear. Imagine what it’s like having to live through war and what follows its destructive path. War leaves many effects on people and the environment. Many have fought for what they thought was “right” but that doesn’t justify what they leave behind in the process. “Slaughterhouse-five” and Billy Pilgrim may be a fictional story but teaches an important lesson on conflict and war and what it can do to the world. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it and do better today. And the present is a gift allowing us to make the best of what we have today. But tomorrow is a mystery, who knows what it has in stock for us. War has happened in the past, it’s happening now and most likely will continue in the future and the effects will continue to increase. Frank Roosevelt was a small typographer and labor activist but made an important quote, “make love not war.”
*Quotes came from https://www.goodreads.com*