The Most Influential Wars in Western History


It is possible to identify wars that guided the development of the Western world throughout its history. The Greco-Persian wars prevented the subordination of Greece, then a center of the Western world, to Persia. The conquest of Alexander the Great heavily contributed to the penetration of Eastern culture into Western society. However, it seems that no other wars altered Western civilization stronger than the two main imperialistic wars of the 20th century.

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World War I caused the collapse of such great monarchies as the Russian Empire, Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Ottoman Empire, some of which had been existing for centuries (da Mota 41). Society started moving in the direction of republican government and democracy. However, the world also saw the rise of radical ideologies of communism and Nazism. Thus, World War I also predetermined the next great war.

World War II substantially affected the development of Western society in many areas. The main outcome of the war was that it set the boundaries of countries that are mostly valid today. Even though the socialist block collapsed, there were only a few armed conflicts that seriously affected the geopolitical situation in the world (da Mota 81). Therefore, it is possible to say that World War II ended the whole era of deadly wars of Western civilization.

As people have always waged wars against each other, one can easily find many armed conflicts that dramatically changed Western society. However, it seems that the two great wars of the 20th century had the strongest impact on the development of the world. World War I ended the old order in many countries and World War II gave society the shape it still has today.


After thorough research of the issue, several important questions emerged. Specifically, the detrimental effects that WWI and WWII have had on the world and the lives of millions of people warrant the question of whether similar tragedies can be avoided in the future. In addition, the tools for reconciliation between the states that may find themselves in a political conflict need to be designed, hence the question of how to develop peacemaking approaches. Finally, the performed research allows asking the question of what incites a global war and what needs to be done for it to cease. By answering these questions, one will create a safer environment in which global conflicts can be managed peacefully.


da Mota, Sarah. NATO, Civilisation and Individuals: The Unconscious Dimension of International Security. Springer, 2018.

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