For Cause and Comrades: an Analysis

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For Cause and Comrades: An Analysis As long as man has had the ability to think for himself, there has been conflict and war. Wars are waged by the rich and powerful, but fought by the poor masses who march, inexorably into the meat grinder. The question of “why do soldiers fight?” arises when looking at the study of warfare. What compelled the hoplite from Sparta, the foot soldier in Napoleon’s Grand Army, the American Infantryman on Omaha Beach, or the Army Ranger in Baghdad to willingly enlist and fight for their cause? The most devastating war in American history was by far the Civil War, claiming more American lives in four years than all other American wars (except World War I and II) combined. What is it that made these…show more content…
The fires of “combat frenzy” were quickly doused, however, as the war extended long past expectations and more and more men realized the horrors of combat during that time. Many letters used by McPherson, express soldier’s absolute terror after their first engagement. After “seeing the elephant” for the first time, few men had any desire to see it ever again. However, even with the sentiments of fear of combat, many soldiers stood strong, ready to continue the fight on to victory. Some wavered, but more replaced them as the war prolonged into 1863 and 1864. Religion also played a major role in soldier’s motivation to enlist, and their conduct on the battlefield. Being surrounded by death and suffering drove many soldiers to turn to religion for help and the hope that they would not be either killed or wounded. The knowledge of salvation and God’s divine power comforted many soldiers in their times of trial by fire, and willed them on into the battles that lay ahead. The effect of religion over soldier’s thoughts was very similar among all Christian soldiers, regardless of whether they were Northern or Southern. Religious fervor led to many soldiers putting complete faith in predestination, letting God take complete control and whatever happens, happens. All in all, soldiers used religion to overcome their fear of death by either believing that God would not allow them get killed
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