Essays About War: Top 5 Examples and 5 Prompts

War is atrocious and there is an almost universal rule that we should be prevented; if you are writing essays about war, read our helpful guide.

Throughout history, war has driven human progress. It has led to the dissolution of oppressive regimes and the founding of new democratic countries. There is no doubt that the world would not be as it is without the many wars waged in the past.

War is waged to achieve a nation or organization’s goals, but what is the actual cost of progress? War has taken, and continues to take, countless lives. It is and is very costly in terms of resources as well. From the American Revolution to World Wars I and II to the Crusades and Hundred Years’ War of antiquity, wars throughout history have been bloody, brutal, and disastrous. 

If you are writing essays about war, look at our top essay examples below.

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1. War Is Not Part of Human Nature by R. Brian Ferguson

“Debate over war and human nature will not soon be resolved. The idea that intensive, high-casualty violence was ubiquitous throughout prehistory has many backers. It has cultural resonance for those who are sure that we as a species naturally tilt toward war. As my mother would say: “Just look at history!” But doves have the upper hand when all the evidence is considered. Broadly, early finds provide little if any evidence suggesting war was a fact of life.”

Ferguson disputes the popular belief that war is inherent to human nature, as evidenced by archaeological discoveries. Many archaeologists use the very same evidence to support the opposing view. Evidence reveals many instances where war was waged, but not fought. In the minds of Ferguson and many others, humanity may be predisposed to conflict and violence, but not war, as many believe. 

2. Essay on War and Peace (Author Unknown)

“It also appears that if peace were to continue for a long period, people would become sick of the monotony of life and would seek war for a changed man is a highly dynamic creature and it seems that he cannot remain contented merely with works of peace-the cultivation of arts, the development of material comforts, the extension of knowledge, the means and appliances of a happy life.”

This essay provides an interesting perspective on war; other than the typical motivations for war, such as the desire to achieve one’s goals; the author writes that war disrupts the monotony of peace and gives participants a sense of excitement and uncertainty. In addition, it instills the spirit of heroism and bravery in people. However, the author does not dispute that war is evil and should be avoided as much as possible. 

3. The Impacts of War on Global Health by Sarah Moore

“War forces people to flee their homes in search of safety, with the latest figures from the UN estimating that around 70 million people are currently displaced due to war. This displacement can be incredibly detrimental to health, with no safe and consistent place to sleep, wash, and shelter from the elements. It also removes a regular source of food and proper nutrition. As well as impacting physical health, war adversely affects the mental health of both those actively involved in conflict and civilians.”

Moore discusses the side effects that war has on civilians. For example, it diverts resources used on poverty alleviation and infrastructure towards fighting. It also displaces civilians when their homes are destroyed, reduces access to food, water, and sanitation, and can significantly impact mental health, among many other effects. 

4.  The Psychosocial Impacts of War and Armed Conflict on Children by Iman Farajallah, Omar Reda, H. Steven Moffic, John R. Peteet, and Ahmed Hankir

“The damage done by war-related trauma can never be undone. We can, however, help reduce its long-term impacts, which can span generations. When we reach within ourselves to discover our humanity, it allows us to reach out to the innocent children and remind them of their resilience and beauty. Trauma can make or break us as individuals, families, and communities.”

In their essay, the authors explain how war can affect children. Children living in war-torn areas expectedly witness a lot of violence, including the killings of their loved ones. This may lead to the inability to sleep properly, difficulty performing daily functions, and a speech impediment. The authors write that trauma cannot be undone and can ruin a child’s life.  

5. ​​Is war a pre-requisite for peace? by Anna Cleary

“The sociologist Charles Tilly has argued that war and the nation state are inextricably linked. War has been crucial for the formation of the nation state, and remains crucial for its continuation. Anthony Giddens similarly views a link between the internal pacification of states and their external violence. It may be that, if we want a durable peace, a peace built on something other than war, we need to consider how to construct societies based on something other than the nation state and its monopoly of violence.”

This essay discusses the irony that war is waged to achieve peace. Many justify war and believe it is inevitable, as the world seems to balance out an era of peace with another war. However, others advocate for total pacifism. Even in relatively peaceful times, organizations and countries have been carrying out “shadow wars” or engaging in conflict without necessarily going into outright war. Cleary cites arguments made that for peace to indeed exist by itself, societies must not be built on the war in the first place. 

5 Prompts for Essays About War

1. Is War Justified?

Many believe that war is justified by providing a means to peace and prosperity. Do you agree with this statement? If so, to what extent? What would you consider “too much” for war to be unjustified? In your essay, respond to these questions and reflect on the nature and morality of war. 

2. Why Do Countries Go to War?

Wars throughout history have been waged for various reasons, including geographical domination, and disagreement over cultural and religious beliefs. In your essay, discuss some of the reasons different countries go to war, you can look into the belief systems that cause disagreements, oppression of people, and leaders’ desire to conquer geographical land. For an interesting essay, look to history and the reasons why major wars such as WWI and WWII occurred.

3. The Effects of War

Essays about war: The effects of war
You can focus on the impact of war on specific sectors, such as healthcare or the economy

In this essay, you can write about war’s effects on participating countries. You can focus on the impact of war on specific sectors, such as healthcare or the economy. In your mind, do they outweigh the benefits? Discuss the positive and negative effects of war in your essay. To create an argumentative essay, you can pick a stance if you are for or against war. Then, argue your case and show how its effects are positive, negative, or both.

4. Moral and Ethical Issues Concerning War

Many issues arise when waging war, such as the treatment of civilians as “collateral damage,” keeping secrets from the public, and torturing prisoners. For your essay, choose an issue that may arise when fighting a war and determine whether or not it is genuinely “unforgivable” or “unacceptable.” Are there instances where it is justified? Be sure to examples where this issue has arisen before.

5. Reflecting on a Historical War

Humans have fought countless wars throughout history. Choose one significant war and briefly explain its causes, major events, and effects. Conduct thorough research into the period of war and the political, social, and economic effects occurred. Discuss these points for a compelling cause and effect essay.

For help with this topic, read our guide explaining “what is persuasive writing?”If you still need help, our guide to grammar and punctuation explains more.

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  • Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.