The Periodization Of Total War During The American Civil War

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In the middle of the nineteenth century, historians created the term “total war” as a completely detached classification of warfare. By examining the concept of total war, the effects of similar wars as well as those involved, historians can further understand how total war drastically altered the course of history. Total war can be described as a periodization from 1860- 1945. As a separate class of war, total war is a form of war that is unrestricted in the terms of global scale, social and economic impact, new technology and general goals. In ways not previously seen in history, total war caused a large scale of catastrophic injuries and casualties to both soldiers and civilians resulting in technological growth in the practice of medicine.…show more content…
In relationship to population size, the American Civil War had some of the highest casualty ratings the world had seen. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the Civil War. Two thirds of those killed in the Civil War died of disease. The reason for this is because this war took place very early in the era of total war. In this era, medicine was progressing slowly. For example, the only forms of anesthetics were chloroform and drinking alcohol. An example of one of the bloodiest battles that took place during the American civil war was the Battle of Gettysburg. In less than three days, the battle resulted in 51,000 casualties. Other battles such as the Battle of Antietam and the Battle of Bull Run also resulted in mass casualties, injuries and absolute devastation. The merciless scale of casualties is one of the defining lines of total…show more content…
The increasing amount of casualties is what called for the high demand of nurses like Florence Nightingale and Mary Borden. The general roles came into full swing when military officials were recruiting women to the war effort. Thousands of women volunteered to work at military hospitals. However, after mass-casualty battles like the Battle of Gettysburg, nurses like Dorethea Dix and Clara Barton organized a nursing force to help care for the wounded soldiers on the battle field. Other women who volunteered as nurses were those who were widowed due to the war. This is true for The Civil war in 1861, The First World War in 1914, and World War II in 1939. In the aftermath of the Civil War, new understanding emerged about the spread of infection and disease. The fact that disease, infection, and insanitation were the cause of most of the death became widespread. Infectious diseases killing mass amounts of people were a leading influence of further research. The further research in medicine corresponded with total war. The measles, small pox, and tuberculosis were some of the major diseases that killed thousands. Due to the new research, technology expanded and the creation of vaccines changed the world throughout the total war

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