Thesis: Modern War and a Total War

Sample Thesis Paper

The American Civil War was unlike any conflict in our nation’s history. It is referred to as the “First Modern War” and described as a “total war”. What does the idea of “total war” mean? In what ways was this conflict a modern war and a total war?

The civil war is not only considered the first total war, it is also the first modern war in the history of the United States. The reason it is known as a modern war is because it was the first war in the nation’s history that had widespread use of mechanical and electrical devices such as railways, aerial observation balloons, telegraphy, photography, iron clad ships, mines, torpedoes and musket rifles.

The reason why it is also considered a total war is because both sides mobilized all their available resources to overwhelm their enemies. They put the full force of their economy, technology, geography behind the war while endeavoring to win the hearts and minds of their civilian population and having a clear strategy to bring a decisive end to the war (Encarta).

Two examples of this occurred in 1864, the first was the stripping of Shenandoah Valley to curtail the delivery of supplies to the south and lower civilian morale. The second was the Savannah campaign which was used as a strategy by General Sherman to destroy the resources of the south and end the war (Encarta).

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