Epilogue: War in peacetime: coping with today’s rapidly changing world

Publication date:
Chris Donnelly

It is over 150 years since Karl Marx wrote these prescient words. Much of his thinking has been discredited since then, but his understanding of the revolutionising impact of war on society has been proved correct. His understanding was based on the appreciation that the most important feature of war, particularly large-scale and protracted war, was that it was usually accompanied by much more rapid and profound social, economic and technological change than was the case in peacetime. It was this drastic, revolutionising change which overtook the ability of institutions to adapt and stay fit for purpose, and brought about their collapse.