Armed Hostilities

Warfare Evolution Throughout History

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction with Thesis Statement
  2. Topic Overview
  3. Central Controversy
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Introduction with Thesis Statement

Wars have been a part of human existence ever since the beginning of time. Starting from ancient times when humans first appeared as a species and started to form primitive societies, clashes between different groups. The causes of such clashes evolved alongside the forms and types of warfare. As a result, throughout human history, the war changed many times and eventually transformed into what is known as the faceless war. In that way, regardless of the destructive nature of war, it can be viewed as a phenomenon that integrates and unifies societies driving the evolution of institutions forward.

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Topic Overview

War is known as an ancient social trend that continued to persist throughout centuries ever since humans appeared as a separate species. This form of a violent intergroup conflict seems to have appeared over a million years ago as a phenomenon that is a part of the human genome (Pitman, 2011). Wars have complex dynamics and include many elements of social behaviors that are intertwined. To be more precise, Pitman (2011) specified that lethal conflicts usually revolve around such behaviors as aggression, territoriality, outgroup xenophobia, risk-taking, and collective bonding, to name a few. All of these tendencies are typical of humans, and thus, war and lethal clashes between groups are quite natural for societies.

Over time, the structure of war evolved from large battles with predominantly close combat to the use of more advanced weapons that could hit targets from a distance. Consequently, it moved to weapons of mass destruction that could be operated from an even further distance, thus creating faceless war. The population of infantry used in wars continuously declined as centuries passed. However, the destructive power of aerial, naval, and on-land warfare increased significantly. One aspect of the war that never changed was its paradoxical ability to unify societies.

Central Controversy

The unifying effect of warfare is a controversial phenomenon that is difficult to understand because the next world war is often predicted as an event with an impact so massive that it could lead to the eradication of humankind. At the same time, Morris (2012) noted that ever since ancient history, when access to resources became the major cause of armed conflicts, the societies that lost wars were absorbed by their defeaters. This trend led to the formation of large and complex states and empires. Conflicts of global significance, such as world wars, in turn, inflicted the creation of interstate organizations whose purpose is to maintain peace and stimulate the use of the smart power of diplomacy as an alternative to the hard power of weapons (Morris, 2012). Interestingly, despite the growing magnitude of wars, the rates of death and casualties in modern conflicts are much lower than in battles of older times (Morris, 2012). Due to this effect, it is difficult to tell whether wars endanger the development of societies or push it forward.


As warfare evolved throughout human history eventually leading to the current form of the faceless war, it continued to produce a powerful effect on the societies, groups, and states involved in armed conflicts. Apart from stimulating technological development that is the key factor helping to defeat enemies, wars also caused the unification of societies. First, it occurred due to the absorption of smaller and weaker states and societies by the dominant ones. Further, it matured into global conflicts of massive magnitude that forced the states worldwide to form organizations preserving peace and resolving conflicts diplomatically.


Morris, I. (2012). The evolution of war. Cliodynamics: the Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History, 3(1), 9-37.

Pitman, G. R. (2010). The evolution of human warfare. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 41(3), 352-379.

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