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Modern Day Soldier Essay Sample

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Modern Day Soldier Essay Sample

            War is a dangerous thing which affects mankind through all periods of its history. If we look back we could see that there has not been any century or a decade free of wars and military conflicts. Changing nature of war and military operations has changed the image of a soldier and his mission. Thesis A modern soldier and his values differ from ancient warriors or fighters from the Middle Ages who used their power to occupy foreign territories and expend their influences on the other countries.

            The modern soldier is a person who possesses the features of an ideal man, and personifies high moral values and physical strength. The modern soldier is a person who is able to distinguish what is good and what is bad, and who follows his personal beliefs. He tries to make a better world paying a special attention to formation of self and universal order. He is a leader who possesses self-belief and tolerance, which helps him to create the reality; he is a high moral person who fights for justice, harmony and orderliness of the universe. So, the modern soldier possesses inner strength allowed him to survive. Morale was important during all period of time and was the main tool to control and rule the army. For instance, Napoleon “promoted soldiers for bravery in combat, which spurred morale and invited a cult-like following by his men” (Napoleon, at War, n.d.).

            In contrast to peace-keeping missions of the modern soldier, ancient warriors and conquerors were driven by the desire to master. They used their power and strength to subjugate weak nations and weak countries in order to develop a strong empire able to protect its citizens from attacks of their enemies. In contrast to the modern soldier, they lacked moral qualities and were extremely cruel and brutal. For instance, the Crusades are the best example of holy wars driven by economic gain and aggressive plans. Napoleon, the best military leader of all times, stated: “Soldiers, we have forced marches to make, battles to fight, dangers to encounter, but with constancy the victory will be ours; the rights, the honor, of our country will be reconquered ” (Napoleon at War, n.d.).

The modern day soldier differs much from his ancestors because he interprets the world and universe in a completely different manner, his understanding of self and others differs greatly from worldview of ancestors. The best example of the modern soldier is a Canadian Lieutenant General, Romeo Dallaire who has made a great contribution into the peace-keeping mission in Rwanda. His actions and strategic thinking shown during this mission, contrasted with the policy of many world countries helped to save lives for many civilians in Rwanda. The great contribution of Dallaire was his strong desire to protect human’s rights closely connected with personal courage and charisma. Against political pressure to take sides in the conflict, Dallaire was impartial trying to save life of innocent people in Rwanda. This modern soldier “earned” one of the most prestigious military honors, the Meritorious Service Cross (Dallaire, 2003).

The modern day soldier is more protector than warrior. Today, peace-keeping missions are the main aim of wars and military operations. Modern soldiers are primarily defenders who protect their land and nation. Their missions and values are based on the policy to protect the citizens of the country and world peace.  The problem is that the violence of conflicts is not carried out at a distance, against anonymous and invisible victims, but in immediate physical confrontation with friends, neighbors and even relatives (Holmes, 2006).

The main similarity of the modern day soldier and “old” warriors is physical strength. Soldiers need a trained and strong body be able to resist violence and protect innocent people. Psychical training was (is) the most important element of discipline in the Army. For instance, most Napoleon soldiers were from poor classes, but there were some from aristocrats or nobility. Napoleon did not take into account ranks and social statuses demanding that all soldiers were trained before military operation or “had to learn their trade on the battlefield” (Napoleon, at War, n.d.). The modern solders, like military men in Iraq, are prepared to rescue the life to save the life of others. The main task of the modern soldier is to reduce casualties.

Equipment is another interesting point to argue. To some extent, the modem soldier is better equipped than his ancestors. The army of scientists and engineers develop “state of the art” technologies to eliminate threats faced by soldiers during war. “Old” soldiers were poorly equipped and poorly dressed. “Uniforms were often ill-fitting and uncomfortable” (Napoleon, at War, n.d.). Technological developments and military requirement depends upon scientific innovations and historical time, but before the twentieth century countries did not spend much money on uniforms and provisions for the army. “Life as a foot soldier was hard due to scarcity of supplies, inadequate medical services, and marches of 20 to 30 miles each day” (Foot Soldier of Napoleon, 2004, p.1).

From the psychological point of view, the image of the modern soldier is connected caused by the feeling of personal freedom and mobility, and masculine force. Social values helps to form individual identities and lets him stand out from the crowd. In this case, he embodies personal democracy which is closely connected with peace-keeping missions. The modern soldier is an unselfish and courageous man. Society’s response to heroism defines it as a set of behavior patters and beliefs that can be tolerated in society. For instance, Russian soldiers also showed great courage, selflessness and devotion during Napoleonic wars. Ano Another example is the Civil war general, Robert E. Lee who is characterized as “one who held unwaveringly to the simple virtues of the past–“the pure and lofty man, in whom we see the perfect union of Christian virtue and old Roman manhood” (Gallagher, 1999, p. 245).

The modern soldier is a man of nerve who is able to survive and protect others in any difficult situation. In spite all the facts, he is not deprived of love and generosity, being a supporter of human’s values and morality. In some cases, world order and justice can be achieved only in blood battles with enemies, so the modern soldier needs to use his physical strength against evil. He is a person who is willing to take risks like many American soldiers in Iraq protecting democracy and national safety. The example of Dallaire unveils what is to be the modern soldiers who risked their lives to save the lives of others. A conflict in Rwanda was one of the fastest, most efficient, most evident genocides of modern history. Similar to Dallaire, Robert E. Lee “was ever anything but the kindly knight, the Christian soldier, and the gallant leader” (Gallagher, 1999, p. 245). He can be seen as an ideal warrior of his time inspiring thousands of soldiers to protect their land from injustice, inequality and racial discrimination.

In contrast, historical images of “old” soldiers suggest that desertion was the major problems during all historical periods. Faced with difficulties or feared, many soldiers left battlefields during military operations. For instance, during Napoleonic wars “Desertion and draft-dodging became rampant. Napoleon began to rely more heavily on troops drawn from conquered or allied states to provide units for his army” (Napoleon, at War, n.d.).

In sum, the modern soldier combines the moral and social qualities of a real hero. Strong moral values and moral code are remarkable features of modern soldiers. The modern soldier is a man who is full of life experience, but still has to take pains to struggle with the evil. This gives him an immense strength, and a confidence which are perhaps among his greatest attraction. The task of the modern soldier differs from his ancestors and means that army should neutralize the enemy in order to protect the safety the country and the nation.


1.      Dallaire, R. Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Random House Canada, 2003.

2.      Gallagher , G.W. An Old-Fashioned Soldier in a Modern War? Robert E. Lee as Confederate General. Civil War History, Vol. 45, 1999, p. 295.

3.      Foot Soldier of Napoleon Settled in Millburn Area. Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 19, 2004, p. 1.

4.      Holmes, R. Dusty Warriors: Modern Soldiers at War. HarperCollins. 2006.

5.      Napoleon at War. N.d. Available at: http://www.pbs.org/empires/napoleon/n_war/soldier/page_1.html

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