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What are the negative and positive effects of war?

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thetall eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Contrary to the common belief that war has only negative effects, it also has some positive impacts. However, whereas the negative effects of war are the same regardless of the place of war, the positive effects may vary depending on where the war occurred. The most common negative impacts of war include loss of human lives, economic losses due to destruction of capital as well as disruption of trade, human suffering, the spread of diseases, displacement of people and destruction of the environment, among others.

On the other hand, war can also impact the economy positively in the short term as during the Great Depression during the 1930s in the United States. The war mobilization efforts and military spending stirred capacity utilization and reduced unemployment through increased army conscription. Technological advancements are also a positive impact of war. The railroad networks of the Europeans for instance, that had a significant military strategic input in terms of countering enemy attacks, also helped the civilians. The GPS system which was specifically developed to enhance navigation by U.S military during the 1990’s has found great use among the civilians to date. The First World War helped establish machinery that would help maintain world peace. The League of Nations was founded after WWI as a platform to settle disputes peacefully and even though it has been criticized for failing to avoid World War II, it set precedence for the formation of the United Nations. Some wars have also led to the end of despotic leadership in various countries across the world such as the Libyan civil war that led to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In conclusion, even though war has negative effects, it also has some notable positive impacts.

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Stephen Holliday eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The question of positive and negative effects of war is primarily dependent upon the nature of a particular war, but one can argue with certainty that all wars have disastrous effects on both the combatants and civilians, and a few wars have some positive outcomes.  The issue might be better phrased as, "Is a particular war justified by its potential benefits?"

In World War II, for example, the world was facing an ideology in Europe--National Socialism...

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