Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schindler, Paul T.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Militarism; War


The purpose of this study was to attempt to determine the degree to which prior military experience affects an individual's attitudes toward war. More specifically it was designed to analyze not only whether or not this relationship exists, but also whether or not this relationship tends to be direct or inverse. The sample for the study was drawn from the student body of a large Midwestern, state supported university. Two random samples were drawn for purposes of comparison. The first of these consisted of eighty-four male students who have completed, or are in the process of completing military service in one of the branches of the Armed Forces. The other sample consisted of ninety-two students, also all male, who have not had any direct connection with the military up to the present time. The instrument used to determine attitudes toward war was made up of two separate scales. The first of these was the forty-four item militarism scale devised by Peterson and Thurstone, which was designed to measure an individual's attitudes toward war. The other scale, of the type originated by Likert, was designed to measure pacifist sentiment. This instrument was included as part of a questionnaire which was completed by subjects in May of 1972. For the purpose of testing whether or not a significant difference existed between and within the samples, the t-Test for the Difference Between Means was employed. The most significant general finding which was indicated by the data was that there seems to be a strong positive relationship between having served in the Armed Forces and attitudes of acceptance toward the concept of war as a means of resolving conflict. While there was no significant difference between those individuals who were drafted and those who enlisted, those subjects who had served in combat situations in Vietnam scored significantly higher on the militarism scale and lower on the pacifism scale, than either non-combat veterans or those who have had no prior military experience. Another finding was the fact that for both veterans and nonveterans, those individuals who have had a friend or relative either killed or wounded in war, were more accepting of war than those who were not closely acquainted with any casualties of war. Again for both samples, those individuals who have at one time participated in either peace organizations or anti-war demonstrations scored significantly lower on the militarism scale and higher on the pacifism scale than those individuals who have never participated in these activities. However, the level of participation among veterans is significantly lower than among non-veterans. Finally, among non-veterans, those individuals who stated they would apply for conscientious objector status or who would refuse to be inducted into the Armed Forces scored significantly higher on the pacifism scale and lower on the militarism scale, than those who stated they would accept entering military service, if drafted, or who would even consider enlisting.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 62-65)


73 pages




Northern Illinois University

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