Warfare from physical to symbolic focus

Even in the major world conflicts you can see how focus has shifted from physical to mental. If you simplify this vast and complex subject into four images you may see this pattern:

  • World War 1: Basically traditional warfare man-to-man in the fields.
  • World War 2: Modernistic, industrialistic warfare added the use of not only all the new technologies but also the power of strategic communication and branding, in an integrated and coordinated process.
  • Vietnam: Through mass media the whole world was involved, which led to many other things across the globe, like igniting the 1968 radical movements.
  • 9/11: Added to the physical act, using media, a visually strong symbolic experience with ”Hollywood” elements.

What do you think?

  1. 3 Comment(s)

  2. By Helena on Mar 21, 2010 | Reply

    If there has been a shift in how we depict warfare, the shift happened already during ”the Desert Storm”, i.e. with the US attack om Kuwait, in 1990. The ”reality” of this war was shaped by collaboration between media-mongul CNN and Pentagon, and ”truth” manipulated and edited in professional Hollywood style. The dramaturgy of 9/11 was a bleek copy of the editing of the Desert Storm. The americans even made post-cards and video-games of the war in Kuwait, for heavens sake!

  3. By Olle Torgny on Mar 21, 2010 | Reply

    Yes it’s interesting how media depicts warfare, but in this case I am more interested in how you do warfare. In that perspective desert storm seems rather similar to Vietnam, while 9/11 was a directed act of dramaturgy.

  4. By Helena on Mar 22, 2010 | Reply

    Ok, I see your point!

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