Homefront And Battlefield Essay

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The Expanse of War on the Homefront and Battlefield The American Civil War, a conflict that began after diminishing relations between the Northern, free states, and the Southern, slave-holding states, led to the gradual secession of eleven states and the beginning of the war. Many historians believe that the Civil War was the first time in American history that used total war tactics on a wide scale because the homefront essentially became the battlefield. Lance Janda states, “But if ‘total war’ is defined as using ‘military force against the civilian population of the enemy,’ then the Civil War stands as a watershed in the American evolution of total war theory. The application of force against an enemy’s noncombatants and resources, the …show more content…

The experience of total war was a deeply traumatic and challenging period that reshaped the lives of millions of Americans. Whether fighting in the war or supporting it from the homefront, the conflict profoundly impacted virtually every aspect of daily life, from social and economic structures to personal relationships and mental health. The connection between the homefront and the battlefield during the Civil War was a critical factor in the war's outcome, as the support of civilians provided essential resources and morale to soldiers, while the experiences of soldiers on the battlefield shaped the perceptions and actions of those on the homefront. Exploring the motivations for soldiers to enlist and remain in service while examining the status of life on the homefront will elaborate on the …show more content…

The actions on the battlefield created perceptions and guided the actions of the civilians on the homefront throughout the war. Sherman’s march to the sea is an example of total war ideology because while moving his troops from the Mississippi to South Carolina, Sherman continuously burned down cities, including Atlanta, and terrorized civilians to diminish their support for the war effort. General Phillip Sheridan, a Union officer acknowledged the use of total war strategy in his statement, “The proper strategy consists in inflicting as telling blows as possible on the enemy's army, and then in causing the inhabitants so much suffering that they must long for peace, and force the government to abandon it [the war]. The people must be left nothing but their eyes to weep,” . The strategical thinking used by the Union generals during the later parts of the war followed this mindset in making the civilians suffer to force their government into pursuing peace. With the adoption of these battlefield tactics, the homefront truly became another piece of the battlefront on the scale of the war. In order to discourage war efforts, the lifestyles of civilians on the homefront were believed to be the fastest way to end the brutal

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