Many writers, philosophers and thinkers in general were disillusioned and this was reflected in their art and writings. In this paper, I would be discussing how conflicts in the 20th century affected Western introspection with the main idea being conflicts made people focused more on the darker side of the human soul particularly in the inherent desire for violence. As a result of this investigation, there was a profound desire to expose it and make people realize that these events occurred but should never be repeated.
An increasing sense of national awareness and nationalism led to many events that eventually culminated into two world wars having the intensity and scale never seen before and claimed millions of lives. The Germans, proud of their race and superior technology and eager to replace the United Kingdom as the dominant global power, precipitated the two world wars. France, Britain, United States, Italy, Russia and other nations were to become involved in the wars that would eventually change the notion of violence and inhumanity. (p. 61)
The intensity of the fighting and the efficiency of armaments exposed many people to scenarios replete with violence and inhuman tendencies. ...
Auschwitz and many other concentration camps provided many macabre scenes of death. Jews and other non-Aryan races were made to undergo experiments, forced to do labor and eventually exterminated by different methods in the hope of determining which is the most efficient (p. 63). The darker side of humanity made its presence fully known. Nevertheless, the prisoners of concentrations were not the only one severely traumatized. Soldiers and civilians alike saw their comrades and loved ones lose their life and limbs by efficient bombs, bullets and knives all directed to them by living and breathing humans also. Randall Jarrell painted a picture of how dehumanizing the war was with the death of a gunner by flak and the washing of his remains out of the turret like nothing happened (p. 62). Through the writings of survivors, we come to know of a world where violence prevailed and where humans plunged themselves into the darkness of their soul.
What the world wars were able to do was to destroy any preconceived and romanticized notion of prosperity, justice, humanity and equality. Nevertheless, it became a catalyst for individuals like Jean Paul Sartre (p. 71-73) and Erich Maria Remarque (53) to take a more proactive role in exposing the evil capacities of human beings and to make them remember the atrocities of war. The crucial experience of war and captivity enabled Sartre, Remarque and other writers of this period to build a positive moral system and express it thru literature.
The stage in human history where the two wars occurred changed Western thoughts about armed conflicts and made them appreciate on diplomacy. Many nations became more conscious of the need for peace and strived to achieve some semblance of it. More importantly, it made thinkers ponder