Effects of war

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Disability-adjusted life year for war per 100,000 inhabitants in 2004.[1]
  no data
  less than 100
  100-200
  200-600
  600-1000
  1000-1400
  1400-1800
  1800-2200
  2200-2600
  2600-3000
  3000-8000
  8000-8800
  more than 8800

Effects of war are widespread and can be long term or short term.[2] Soldiers experience war differently than civilians, although both suffer in times of war, and women and children suffer unspeakable atrocities in particular. In the past decade, up to two million of those killed in armed conflicts were children.[2] The widespread trauma due to the atrocities and suffering of the civilian population is another legacy of these conflicts, the following creates extensive emotional and psychological stress.[3] Present-day internal wars generally take a larger toll on civilians than state wars. This is due to the increasing trend where combatants have made targeting civilians a strategic objective.[2] In state conflict is an armed conflict that occurs with the use of armed force between two parties, of which one is the government of a state.[4] "The three problems posed by intra‐state conflict are the willingness of UN members, particularly the strongest member, to intervene; the structural ability of the UN to respond; and whether the traditional principles of peacekeeping should be applied to intra‐state conflict".[5] Effects of war also include mass destruction of cities and have long lasting effects on a country's economy.[6] Armed conflict have important indirect negative consequences on, infrastructure, public health provision, and social order.[7] These indirect consequences are often overlooked and underappreciated.

Defining armed conflict[edit]

Armed conflict is not clearly defined internationally. According to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, common article 2 states that "all cases of declared war or of any armed conflict that may arise between two or more high contracting parties, even if the state of war is not recognized, the convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a high contracting party even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance".[8] International humanitarian law[9] works to protect the rights and dignity of civilians during peace and armed conflict with parties of the conflict having legally binding obligations concerning the rights of persons not involved in the conflict.[10] Current day conflicts continue to occur with breaches of human rights and destruction of property continuing to happen due to state interests.[9]

On the economy[edit]

The economy may suffer devastating impacts during and after a time of war. According to Shank, "negative unintended consequences occur either concurrently with the war or develop as residual effects afterwards thereby impeding the economy over the longer term".[11] In 2012 the economic impact of war and violence was estimated to be eleven percent of gross world product (GWP) or 9.46 trillion dollars.[12] Everyday activities of a community or country are disrupted and property may be damaged. When people become misplaced, they cannot continue to work or keep their businesses open, causing damages to the economy of countries involved.[12] A government may decide to direct money to fund war efforts, leaving other institutions with little or no available budget.

In some cases war has stimulated a country's economy (World War II is often credited with bringing America out of the Great Depression). According to the World Bank the event that conflicts subside in the country, and in the event that there is a transition to democracy the following will result in an increase economic growth by encouraging investment of the country and its people, schooling, economic restructuring, public-good provision, and reducing social unrest.[13] Conflict very rarely has positive effects on an economy according to the world bank "Countries bordering conflict zones are facing tremendous budgetary pressure. The World Bank estimates that the influx of more than 630,000 Syrian refugees have cost Jordan over USD 2.5 billion a year. This amounts to 6 percent of GDP and one-fourth of government's annual revenues".[13] One of the most commonly cited benefits for the economy is higher GDP growth. This has occurred throughout all of the conflict periods, other than in the Afghanistan and Iraq war period. Another benefit commonly mentioned is that WWII established the appropriate conditions for future growth and ended the great depression. In previous cases, such as the wars of Louis XIV, the Franco-Prussian War, and World War I, warfare serves only to damage the economy of the countries involved. For example, Russia's involvement in World War I took such a toll on the Russian economy that it almost collapsed and greatly contributed to the start of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

As a result of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Sri Lanka's military spending as a percentage of GDP, increased from 1.6 percent in 1983 to 3.5 in 2008 and reached an all time peak at 5.9 percent of GDP in 1995 representing over 20 percent of the government's total spending.[14] Until the war, arms were not nearly a significant amount of government spending and their defense personnel increased from 22,000 in 1989 to 213,000 in 2008.[14] After the war began, however, arms were imported annually in response to increasing violence. By the year 2000, the Sri Lankan government's "import bill for arms was around $US 274 million", a record high during the war.[14]

Destruction of infrastructure[edit]

Les Grandes Misères de la guerre depict the destruction unleashed on civilians during the Thirty Years' War.

Destruction of infrastructure can create a catastrophic collapse in the social interrelated structure, infrastructure services, education and health care system.[15] Destruction of schools and educational infrastructure have led to a decline in education among many countries affected by war.[6] If certain infrastructural elements are significantly damaged or destroyed, it can cause serious disruption of the other systems such as the economy.[15] This includes loss of certain transportation routes in a city which could make it impossible for the economy to function properly and also for people to be evacuated.

See also: Infrastructure

Labor force[edit]

The labor force of the economy also changes with the effects of war. The labor force is affected in a multitude of ways most often due to the drastic loss of life, change in population, the labor force size shrinking due to the movement of refugees and displacement and the destruction of infrastructure which in turn allows for a deterioration of productivity.[16]  In many conflicts men head off to war to fight the battles, while the women are left back at home to take over the male jobs.

In many conflicts men head off to war to fight the battles, while the women are left back at home to take over the male jobs.  This causes an economic shift in certain countries because after the war these women usually keep the jobs the acquired due to the war.  The shortage of labor force during the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq war enabled women to enter fields of employment that had previously been closed to them and absorbed them into a large number of much-needed jobs. In Women and Work in Iran, Povey points, "The Iran-Iraq war reduced the supply of male labor is one factor.The war and the war economy increased the supply of women seeking work or resisting exclusion. and even occupy important positions, for the first time".[17] Also, this can be seen in the Second Liberian Civil War, and also in the Rwandan genocide.[18][19]  Women in both conflicts took over their husbands jobs due to the effects of the war, and furthermore received more economic gender equality.[18][19]

On society[edit]

"International humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the laws of war and the law of armed conflict, is the legal framework applicable to situations of armed conflict and occupation. As a set of rules and principles it aims, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict".[9]  International humanitarian law works to limit the effects of war and protect the people who do not participate in such hostilities. Most wars have resulted in a significant loss of life.[9] Conflict characterizes a major obstacle for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly for the universal completion of primary education and gender equality in education.[20] "The Millenium Development goals are the world's time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security".[21] There can be no doubt that armed conflict directly kills, injures, and harms more men than women in that combatants are predominantly male.[7] Armed conflict has many indirect consequences such as on health and survival. "Armed conflict both generates conditions for increased morbidity and mortality".[7]

Why?, from The Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra), by Francisco Goya, 1812-15. A collection of depictions of the brutalities of the Napoleonic-Peninsular War.

During Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, more French soldiers died of typhus than were killed by the Russians.[22] Felix Markham thinks that 450,000 crossed the Neman on 25 June 1812, of whom less than 40,000 recrossed in anything like a recognizable military formation.[23] More soldiers were killed from 1500-1914 by typhus than from all military action during that time combined.[24] In addition, if it were not for the modern medical advances there would be thousands more dead from disease and infection.

Displacement[edit]

Displacement or forced migration results most often during a time of war and can adversely affect both the community and an individual. When a war breaks out, many people flee their homes in fear of losing their lives and their families, and as a result, they become misplaced either internally or externally.[25] Those who are internally displaced face a direct threat because they do not receive the rights that a refugee may receive and are not eligible for protection under an international system.[26] Victims of internal displacements are symptoms of war that are often motivated by communal hatred based on ethnic background, race, or religious views.[25] External displacement are individuals who are forced out of the borders of their country into another as seen with the Syrian Refugees. The following may have a severe economic impact on a country.

In 2015, 53 percent of refugees worldwide originated from Somalia, Afghanistan, and Syria.[25] In a Global Trends Report by the UNHRC, approximately 65 million people around the world have been forced from their home.[25] Out of this number, 21.3 million are refugees, over half of the demographic under the age of 18.[25] Some of the top countries absorbing these displaced peoples are Pakistan (1.6 million), Lebanon (1.1 million), and Turkey (2.5 million). In times of violence, people are displaced from their homes and seek places where they are welcome, periodically meeting places they are not welcome.

In response to an influx of refugees and asylum seekers from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sri Lanka, Australia initiated a controversial plan in 2001 titled the Pacific Solution which called for all asylum seekers arriving by boat to be sent to the small and barren island Nauru.[27] Asylum seekers were housed in crowded tents and lived under a constant threat of running out of resources, especially water.[27] Individuals were kept in the detention center until their refugee status was granted or denied.[27] Chris Evans, former immigration minister stated the Pacific Solution as being “a cynical, costly and ultimately unsuccessful exercise,” and was ended under a newly elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2007.[28] In February 2008, after the Pacific Solution was ended, the final members of a group of 82 refugees detained on Nauru were granted residency rights and resettled in Australia according to a humanitarian resettlement program.[28]

In the case of the Sri Lankan Civil War, displacement had a high chance to impoverish those affected, but women and children were found to be the most vulnerable to the burden of displacement.[29] A Sri Lankan female head of household earns less than a household that has a male head. After men and women became displaced, however, females lost 76% of their income and males lost 80%.[29] While the lost income is within a relatively close percentage, females were more likely, on average to fall below the official poverty line.[29] Male household by comparison were able to stay above the line even after becoming displaced. In a post-displacement setting, male headed households had more earned income than female headed households.[29] Males benefit from manual labor, carpentry, masonry, and government services while females had earned their income from informal work. Informal work for females is more difficult in a post-displacement setting where they do not have access to the same tools as they did pre-displacement.

The Palestinian people have suffered from displacement as a result of armed conflict and the military occupation. The largest displacement occurred in 1947, after the United Nations agreed to have Palestine divided into two states. It later became the Israeli decision that Palestinian refugees no longer were permitted to return to their lands unless it was to reunify a family.[30] “Nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees, more than 1.5 million individuals, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.[31]

Education[edit]

Oftentimes when a country is in an economic crisis there is an increase in poverty which results in the decline of education.[6] Over half of the world’s children that are out of school are assessed to live in conflict-affected fragile states.[32] According to the UNESCO report “The groups most negatively affected by conflict were those that suffered from multiple exclusion, for example based on gender, area of residence, household wealth, language, and ethnicity”.[32] One predominantly damaging, effect of conflict on education is the proliferation of attacks on schools with children, teachers and school buildings become the targets of violence.[32] During times of war teachers and students often suffer from death or displacement. This prevents the opening of schools and increases teachers absenteeism. In the case of Iraq, boys were pulled out of school to work for their families, and therefore the education gap for men and women shrank.[6]

Gender[edit]

Conflict negatively impacts women and men, which often results in gender-specific difficulties that are not recognized or addressed by mainstream communities across the globe (Baden and Goetz, 1997). War impacts women differently as they are more likely to die from indirect causes as opposed to direct causes. "Women and girls suffered disproportionately during and after war, as existing inequalities were magnified, and social networks broke down, making them more vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations".[33] Men during war are more likely to die from direct causes such as direct violence.[7] The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, made women and armed conflict one of most critical areas of concern. It stated that peace is directly linked to equality between men and women and to development post conflict (Beijing Platform for Action). Plumper found that most women live longer when they are in peacetime, when compared to a state that is in armed conflict the gender gap of life expectancy drastically decreases in the male to female ratio.[7] The indirect effects of militarized conflicts' affect access to food, hygiene, health services, and clean water. Women suffer more harshly from the damage to the health as well as overall well being, other infrastructure damages, and the wider economic damage as well as from dislocation during and post-conflict.[7] During a time of war women are often separated from their husbands or lose them as a cost of war. Because of this there is a dramatic economic cost effect on women causing many to bear the entire economic responsibility for their household.[34]

Three of the most common things done by Israeli military occupation includes the apartheid wall, displacement of people, and house demolitions caused by bombings especially in Gaza. This has severe consequences on men and women. As the number of marital disputes rises after a house demolition, women are forced to look for work in order to support the livelihood of their families.[35] Also, there is a large rise in domestic violence that leaves women more vulnerable.[6] Palestinians, particularly women, are unable to access basic services because of the closeness to or route of the apartheid wall, resulting in everyday abuse and suffering as they pass through Israeli checkpoints in order to have such access and admittance.[35]

Long term effects[edit]

During the Thirty Years' War in Europe, for example, the population of the German states was reduced by about 30%.[36][37] The Swedish armies alone may have destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns in Germany, one-third of all German towns.[38]

Estimates for the total casualties of World War II vary, but most suggest that some 60 million people died in the war, including about 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians.[39] The Soviet Union lost around 27 million people during the war, about half of all World War II casualties.[40] The largest number of civilian deaths in a single city was 1.2 million citizens dead during the 872-day Siege of Leningrad. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white American males aged 13 to 50 died in the American Civil War.[41] Of the 60 million European soldiers who were mobilized in World War I, 8 million were killed, 7 million were permanently disabled, and 15 million were seriously injured.[42]

Politically[edit]

When war strikes it ends up affecting government structures along with the people in power of the government.[18]  Many times, one regime is removed and new forms of government are put into place.[18]  This can be seen in the Second Liberian Civil War where rebels had removed the current leader, Charles Taylor, and with the help of the United Nations deployed a new democratic form of government that stands for equal rights and even has a women president in Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.[19][43]  This change in government was also apparent in Rwanda in 1993 when the genocide finally stopped.[43]  The country had shifted from dictatorship to pure democracy and gave both men and women the right to vote.[18]  The country also installed a quota system where a certain amount of government seats must belong to women.[18]  The country's quota was 30% of seats, however women now hold 55% of seats from their own merit.[18][43]  These changes in government also changes the way the country behaves economically.[43]

Case studies[edit]

Israel/Palestine[edit]

The effects of conflict and its aftermath in Palestine reveals distinct types of disadvantages that worsen gender relations in both men and women.[30] Increased militarization of the conflict and a rise in gender-based violence focused towards Palestinian as well as Israeli women are major ongoing issues happening in the conflict zone. The longstanding effects of Israeli occupation and policies of siege, confinement and confiscation of land have resulted in social as well as economic crisis for Palestinians.[44] Consequently, the Israeli occupation remains a major problem for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement in labor, and participation in executive governmental bodies. In the light of an increasingly failing security and living conditions most efforts should be directed at everyday survival and creating a more stable environment for the Palestinian peoples. The pushing of gender issues should be at the peak of the political agenda.[45]

World War II[edit]

Main article: World War II

One of the starkest illustrations of the effect of war upon economies is the Second World War. The Great Depression of the 1930s ended as nations increased their production of war materials to serve the war effort.[46] The financial cost of World War II is estimated at about a $1.944 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide,[47][48] making it the most costly war in capital as well as lives.

Property damage in the Soviet Union inflicted after the Axis invasion was estimated to a value of 679 billion rubles. The combined damage consisted of complete or partial destruction of 1,710 cities and towns, 70,000 villages/hamlets, 2,508 church buildings, 31,850 industrial establishments, 40,000 miles of railroad, 4100 railroad stations, 40,000 hospitals, 84,000 schools, and 43,000 public libraries.[49]

References[edit]

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