Analyzing & Examining the Causes of War in Western Civilization: Essay Prompts

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

You have learned that war can be caused by a number of different factors. The prompts in this lesson will help you analyze and examine these causes and how they interact.


Now that you've completed the lessons in your course, use the exercises shown here to practice applying your new-found knowledge. This is not a mandatory part of your coursework, but is useful practice.

Why Analyze the Causes of War?

The better we understand history, the more well-equipped we are to avoid repeating some of its deepest tragedies. As you learned about wars in History 102, you probably found yourself wondering how we could prevent these often traumatic events from occurring. One answer is that by doing deep and careful analysis of what causes war in the first place, we can notice the causes before they get out of hand in the future.

It is also important to understand what causes war because a careful and critical understanding of causation leads to a more balanced and nuanced view of history overall. In other words, the better you are able to understand the way different causes and events interact with one another over the course of history, the more you will know about how the world works, and the better equipped you will be to ask and research your own historical questions and theories.

The questions and prompts provided here are designed to help you synthesize and reflect on what you learned about war during History 102. You will be asked to think about what led to different wars and how each specific war is similar to and different from others. Write your responses in short-answer form, providing as much specific evidence as you can to support your arguments.

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