1. Beloved of Assur

    Beloved of Assur Active Member

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    How unique is the psychology of soldiers between wars?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Beloved of Assur, Mar 19, 2020.

    Perhaps an esoteric title, but what I'm wondering is how useful books written about the psychological experiences of one war is with another war?

    Main reason I ask is that I've got an idea for a scenario involving a war in the 1860s Europe, but not a historical war, and I wonder if as part of understanding the experience of war I could use research and documented experiences of soldiers in other wars? I'm thinking here primarly of, but not limited to, the Crimean War and the American Civil War as those would seem to be the closest ones to what I am looking for in the timeline and got some decent material in terms of letters and memoirs and such written.

    Aid with how to proceed in this would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    The method of warfare can change this. For example modern-day warfare will never be equitable to a 13th century pitched battle with mounted knights, plate armour and pikes.

    So, you'd want to look at anything closely related to your field. I'd maybe chuck in the Franco-Prussian war in your list of reading to do. Mostly because it was a little bit more studied by [contemporary international] scholars than the American civil war [at the time].

    Also remember that history is often biased towards the victor and that a lot of historic accounts have been "embellished" to make it more "palatable" to certain audiences.

    Short answer, if you have a good reading list and some time, you can quite accurately draw a parrallell between your war and others in regards to the psychological effects. However, remember that society highly affects the way war is seen and experienced. For instance, cowards were often downlooked upon and this may push people whom are otherwise very-poor soldier material to become soldiers. They may be more traumatized then those whom enjoy war for example. That's just one instance how society can affect and you need to constantly keep that in mind to make sure your perspective isn't skewed or too narrow.
     
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  3. Beloved of Assur

    Beloved of Assur Active Member

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    Thank you for your post. :)

    I did think about the Franco-Prussian War but I'm actually a bit hesitant about that as breech-loaded rifles, machine guns and rapid firing artillery was employed in large numbers by both sides (at least in the first two categories, the French seems to have lagged behind in the field of artillery) and thus I felt that battlefield would perhaps be too dissimilar to one of the first half of the 1860s with line tactics and muzzle-loadeders At first I was going to write a mild refutation of your suggestion but I decided to give it a shot and see if it can be of use to me.

    I've got plenty of litterature on wars otherwise to help me with more top-down views or technological issues. But its the experience of the common soldier and lower officers on the field where I think that I would need more material to be able to portray soldier characters in reasonably accurate way.

    EDITED: Possibly I might also look at the Napoleonic Wars as there's a fair few memoirs and such written from that conflict.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Just something you might want to add to you reading list. Consequence Magazine is a small but award winning literary magazine dedicated to shedding light on the consequences of war. It's extremely well done and publishes some great writing. It's one to at least have on your radar.
     
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  5. Beloved of Assur

    Beloved of Assur Active Member

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    Never heard about it but it sounds interesting. :)
     
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