1. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Motivation for War

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by colorthemap, Jul 3, 2012.

    First I must apologize for asking too many questions here and not answering near enough. (See reputation bar, one could say I was rather selfish.) Yet, I still wish one more thing from you then I hope to be off answering the questions of others.

    Obtrusive apology over, here I go. The plot of my story(novel length one can hope)is set in a post apocalyptic world where only one city remains, due to the bribery of one rather powerful man(method of destruction still being worked on.) This story is not, however, meant to be about rebuilding or getting by as the world decides to restart on all the tiny people. It is instead meant to study the lives of political figures running the newly made government sometime after said disaster(say 6 years). The president is killed and the rest of the political figures (9 of them) must elect a new president from their ranks. Two candidates arise as the favorites.

    What I need is a motivator one of the candidates is power hungry and seeks to gain power. The other candidate cannot allow them to win the election because a war will break out. So, I must ask you what would bring a post apocalyptic civilization to its knees with war. Thanks.

    Signed as much as one can through type,
    Colorthemap
     
  2. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Civil war?

    I'd look at the recovery/reconstruction methods each candidate supports. Perhaps one is stumping for a centralized government with the focus on efficiency, security, and whatever brought about the calamity, while the other candidate is viewing the rebuilding process as a "clean-slate" opportunity to "do it right this time", and the opposing sides line up based on their views of government's role in society.

    Another possibility would be resource disparities between the constituent provinces or states. In a devastated nation, simple things like water might become tremendously valuable -- think about the battle over water rights in the American west. If, for example, Hoover Dam were destroyed at the same time that the Federal Government was ineffective or non-existent, Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada would be a loggerheads very quickly over the Colorado River, a conflict which could easily break out into a civil war in post-apocalyptic circumstances.

    And though this is one city and not three states, something similar might be the case in a situation where transport doesn't allow for, say, produce from the hinterlands to be easily brought to market, resulting in hunger in the city?

    Decide on the basis of the conflict based on actual problems that might be faced, and then place the two candidates on opposing sides of the issue. Perhaps take a look at nuclear contingency planning for some ideas about what might prove to be sticking-points in such a milieu.
     
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  3. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    But i don't think you cannot escape this aspect if there still exist a city state and you are talking about electing a president, else the story will have to be about just survival.

    To be the lone head of state in the entire world which in fact means being the president of the world is a pretty mouth watering proposition for anybody who wants power. So, power struggle is motive enough to bring the city into chaos.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the 3 r's

    religious conflict
    racial conflict
    repressive policies
     
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  5. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    what about resource conflict? or you're just referring to civil wars right?
     
  6. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Few people do resource conflict. It is wonderfully unique and complicated. In a post apoc setting it is probably a main motivator for the masses. Water, food, power (electrical, fuels, mechanical...) are all common points which can be controlled and worked in a manner to spur conflict.

    If the 'city' is sustainable then it must be regulating these resources properly, if one wants to 'support the downtrodden' by giving out aid. This aid could unbalance the city and its resource management, such as fuel. Using fuel (by the aid supporter) to give out supplies of water (in excess), the fuel issue could be a cover to gather more money and power by being deceptive in this 'aid mission'. A war could break out because promises of aid are withheld, or because the second candidate intends to focus on the city (having its own troubles) and reduce assistance with the others. Either way allows potential conflict, assist the worst off even when you suffer or try to solve your own problems before assisting others.

    War is typically a bad choice, other ways of achieving power would be preferred, war is the last resort. In such a situation, it would more likely be a coup or a political manipulation because the loss of resources could destroy the entire civilization. If you have very pressing concerns for supplies, war is not really an option you can afford, especially civil wars.
     
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  7. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Thanks for all the answers.

    What you said gave me a sort of writing epiphany I was approaching this situation on how these characters would side and not on the actual conflict and what the two sides could be. I think I have to look at my setting and find what is most important to it and find some way to segregate a part of the population into not having it. Thank you.

    You misunderstood me(my fault) as what I meant from that statement was that I was not trying to write about people starting a new government I was trying to write about people IN a newly formed government after a collapse. In other words the worst is gone, and petty politics is on the rise.

    As always you make it sound so wonderfully simple. I am leaning towards the religious side because I always wanted to explore what a cult-like group of atheists would be like.

    Actually resource conflict could be a very good motive for my case, I just have to find a way to limit who has them and who does not.

    I like what you outlined here, maybe I don't need a full out war. I can simply have one candidate be elected and act obsessive as hell to the rest of the world(city) and I could follow the group of people trying to remove the elected from power. I don't know if I have to think so big to be interesting.

    Sorry for short response but I do appreciate all said.
     
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