How to Write a War Essay

Essay on War: Definition and Features

A war essay is a piece of writing that explores the various aspects of war, such as its causes, effects, the ethical dilemmas it presents, and its impact on society, politics, and individuals. Here are some key features and peculiarities to consider when writing a war essay:

  • Definition: War is often defined as a state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country.
  • Features: A war essay may include historical context, analysis of political and military strategies, discussion of peace and conflict theories, and personal narratives or testimonies.
  • Peculiarities: War essays can vary greatly depending on the focus, which might be a specific conflict, a general theory of war, or the personal experiences of individuals affected by war. They often involve ethical considerations and discussions of human rights.
  • Purpose: The purpose of a war essay is to provide insight into the complex nature of war, to educate about its consequences, to analyze the reasons behind conflicts, and to promote a deeper understanding of peace and conflict resolution.

When writing a war essay, it’s important to conduct thorough research, use credible sources, and present a balanced perspective, acknowledging the often tragic and multifaceted nature of war. Follow your educational institution’s guidelines for essay structure and citation style.

Effects of war

The impact of war on global health is profound and multifaceted. Here are some key points:

  • Displacement: War often forces civilians to flee their homes, leading to large displaced populations. These individuals are at a higher risk of disease and illness due to factors like poverty, overcrowded living conditions, and lack of access to healthcare.
  • Infectious Diseases: Displaced populations, especially refugees, are more susceptible to infectious diseases. For instance, the prevalence of latent tuberculosis, active tuberculosis, and hepatitis B is significantly higher among refugees.
  • Healthcare Infrastructure: War can severely damage healthcare infrastructure, diverting essential resources away from civilian needs and towards the war effort. This results in limited access to healthcare services and supplies.
  • Mental Health: The mental health of individuals, both combatants and civilians, is adversely affected by war. The stress and trauma associated with conflict can lead to long-term psychological issues.
  • Nutrition and Sanitation: Access to clean water, food, and sanitation is often compromised during war, increasing the risk of malnutrition and water-borne diseases like cholera.
  • Healthcare Workers: Conflicts can lead to an exodus of healthcare workers, disrupting medical services and leaving populations without essential care.
  • Epidemics and Starvation: The breakdown of social and economic systems during war can lead to upsurges in epidemics and starvation, further exacerbating the health crisis.

These points illustrate how war can create a cascade of health-related issues that extend far beyond the immediate effects of conflict.

War essay structure

When writing an essay on war, it’s important to structure your content effectively to present a clear and compelling argument. Here’s a general guide on how to structure a war essay:

War Essay Introduction

  • Hook: Start with an engaging opening that draws the reader in.
  • Background: Provide context for the war you are discussing.
  • Thesis Statement: Clearly state your main argument or perspective on the war.

Body Paragraphs

  • Topic Sentence: Begin each paragraph with a sentence that introduces the main idea.
  • Evidence: Use historical facts, quotes, or data to support your points.
  • Analysis: Explain how the evidence supports your thesis.
  • Transition: Use transition sentences to smoothly move from one paragraph to the next.


  • Summary: Briefly recap the main points of your essay.
  • Restate Thesis: Reiterate your thesis in light of the evidence presented.
  • Closing Thoughts: Offer final insights or a call to action related to your essay topic.

Maintain a formal tone and cite your sources properly. Depending on the essay requirements, you may need to follow specific formatting guidelines, such as MLA, APA, or Chicago style. It’s also helpful to choose a topic that you can support with ample evidence and one that resonates with you personally. This will make your essay more engaging and persuasive.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in war essays?

When writing essays on war, it’s crucial to avoid certain common mistakes to ensure your essay is effective and accurate. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Misusing Terms: Be careful with the terminology you use. For example, the word “decimate” is often misused to mean a large destruction, when it originally referred to the killing of one in every ten soldiers.
  2. Overgeneralization: Avoid making sweeping statements that cannot be supported by evidence. Each conflict has its unique aspects and should be treated as such.
  3. Lack of Evidence: Always backup your claims with solid evidence. Unsupported assertions weaken your argument.
  4. Poor Structure: A disorganized essay can confuse readers. Ensure your essay has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
  5. Ignoring Counterarguments: Addressing opposing views strengthens your essay by showing you’ve considered multiple perspectives.
  6. Failing to Edit: Always proofread your essay for grammatical errors, awkward sentences, and spelling mistakes.
  7. Plagiarism: Ensure all sources are properly cited to avoid plagiarism.

By avoiding these mistakes, your essay will be more coherent, credible, and academically sound. Also follow any specific guidelines provided by your instructor or institution.

Here’s an example of a well-structured essay on the topic of war:

Title: The Lasting Impact of War on Society


  • Hook: “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” – Bertrand Russell
  • Background: Throughout history, wars have shaped nations and their societies in profound ways.
  • Thesis Statement: This essay will explore the lasting impacts of war on society, including the psychological, economic, and cultural changes that persist long after the conflicts have ended.

Body Paragraph 1: Psychological Impact

  • Topic Sentence: The psychological scars left by war can affect generations.
  • Evidence: Studies show increased rates of PTSD and other mental health issues among veterans and civilians alike.
  • Analysis: The trauma experienced during war can lead to a cycle of violence and hinder societal healing.
  • Transition: While the psychological effects are often the most personal, the economic impacts of war are equally pervasive.

Body Paragraph 2: Economic Impact

  • Topic Sentence: War can devastate economies, leading to long-term financial struggles.
  • Evidence: Post-war periods often see increased government debt and decreased productivity.
  • Analysis: The economic downturn following a war can exacerbate social inequalities and slow recovery efforts.
  • Transition: Beyond the tangible economic effects, war also leaves an indelible mark on culture.

Body Paragraph 3: Cultural Impact

  • Topic Sentence: The cultural legacy of war includes both loss and innovation.
  • Evidence: War can lead to the destruction of cultural heritage and the emergence of new cultural expressions.
  • Analysis: The cultural shifts post-war reflect the resilience and adaptability of societies.
  • Transition: These impacts collectively contribute to the complex legacy of war.


  • Summary: The essay has examined the multifaceted effects of war on society.
  • Restate Thesis: The lasting impacts of war extend beyond the battlefield, affecting the psychological well-being, economic stability, and cultural richness of societies.
  • Closing Thoughts: Understanding these impacts is crucial for fostering peace and rebuilding post-conflict societies.

This structure ensures that each paragraph addresses a specific aspect of the war’s impact, supported by evidence and analysis, leading to a comprehensive exploration of the topic. Cite your sources correctly and maintain a formal academic tone throughout your essay.

What are some common topics for war essays?

Common topics for war essays often explore various dimensions of war, including its causes, consequences, and the broader impact on society. Here are some examples:

  1. Causes of War: Analyzing the political, economic, or ideological reasons behind conflicts.
  2. Effects of War on Society: Examining how war affects communities, economies, and social structures.
  3. Ethics of War: Discussing the moral implications of warfare and the concept of a ‘just war’.
  4. Women in War: The roles and experiences of women in wartime, both historically and in contemporary conflicts.
  5. Technological Advancements in Warfare: How innovations in technology have changed the nature of warfare.
  6. Psychological Impact of War: The effects of war on mental health for combatants and civilians. Delve into the psychological effects of war on individuals and communities.
  7. War and Diplomacy: The role of diplomacy in preventing, conducting, and ending wars. Explore the role of diplomacy in preventing, managing, or ending wars.
  8. Historical Wars: Detailed studies of specific conflicts, such as World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, etc.
  9. War Literature: Analysis of novels, poems, and memoirs that depict experiences of war.
  10. War and Propaganda: The use of media and propaganda in shaping public opinion during war.

These topics can be tailored to fit various essay types, such as argumentative, persuasive, analytical, or descriptive essays. When choosing a topic, it’s important to consider the scope of your research and ensure there are sufficient resources available to support your essay.

What other essay topics related to war can you explore?

Exploring various aspects of war can provide a rich field for essay topics. Here are some ideas that you might find intriguing:

  1. War and Technology: Analyze how advancements in technology have changed the nature of warfare.
  2. Child Soldiers: Explore the tragic phenomenon of child soldiers and its impact on societies.
  3. The Economics of War: Consider the economic costs and benefits of war to a nation.
  4. Post-War Reconstruction: Study the challenges and strategies of rebuilding a nation after conflict.
  5. War and the Environment: Discuss the environmental destruction caused by war and its long-term effects.

These topics can help you create a compelling essay that covers the complexities and consequences of war.

Here are some themes you might explore in a war essay:

  1. The Nature of War: Discussing whether war is an inherent aspect of human nature or a result of societal and political constructs, inspired by R. Brian Ferguson’s essay “War Is Not Part of Human Nature” .
  2. War and Peace: Analyzing the dichotomy between war and peace and how prolonged periods of peace might affect societies, referencing the essay “War and Peace”.
  3. Global Health and War: Exploring the impacts of war on global health, drawing insights from Sarah Moore’s essay on the subject.
  4. Psychosocial Effects on Children: Delving into the psychological and social impacts of war and armed conflict on children, based on the work of Iman Farajallah and others.
  5. Historical Perspectives: Reflecting on how wars have shaped the course of history, from the American Revolution to World Wars I and II, and their lasting effects on modern society.

While discussing war, it’s important to consider the sensitive nature of the topic and approach it with the necessary gravity and respect for those affected by it.

How to find reliable sources for research on war topics?

  • Finding reliable sources for your research on war topics is crucial for ensuring the accuracy and credibility of your work. Here are some tips to help you identify trustworthy sources:
  • Institutional Affiliations: Look for sources from reputable institutions like universities, research institutes, or government agencies. For example, the Institute for the Study of War offers comprehensive, independent research.
  • Peer-Reviewed Journals: Academic journals are excellent sources as they undergo rigorous peer review before publication.
  • Books by Experts: Books written by respected authors in the field can provide in-depth insights and analyses.
  • Primary Sources: These include firsthand accounts, official documents, and other direct evidence from the period you’re studying.
  • The CRAAP Test: Evaluate sources using the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose test to determine their credibility.
  • Educational Websites: Websites with .edu domains often contain reliable information.
  • Governmental Sources: Look for .gov websites for official statistics and reports.
  • Google Scholar and Academic Databases: These platforms provide access to a wide range of scholarly articles and papers.

Cross-reference information across multiple sources to verify its accuracy.

Can you recommend any specific war-related books or journals?

Here are some highly recommended books that delve into various aspects of war:

  1. “The Good War” by Studs Terkel: An oral history of World War II from the perspectives of those who lived through it.
  2. “We Were Soldiers Once… and Young” by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway: A compelling account of the Battle of Ia Drang during the Vietnam War.
  3. “U.S. Grant: The Civil War Years” by Bruce Catton: A detailed look at Ulysses S. Grant’s leadership during the Civil War.
  4. “The Guns of August” by Barbara W. Tuchman: A Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the outbreak of World War I.
  5. “1776” by David McCullough: A narrative about the year of the American Revolution.
  6. “The Forever War” by Dexter Filkins: A journalist’s perspective on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For journals, you might consider publications such as “The Journal of Military History” or “War in History” for scholarly articles on military conflicts throughout history. These resources can provide you with a wealth of information for your research and essays on war-related topics.

Happy researching!