I have been inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s idea behind war in War and Peace, the Spirit of War. My favorite minor character is General Kutuzov, this is because Tolstoy uses him to explain this idea. General Kutuzov commands his army in a very passive and patient way because he believes in the Spirit of War; this being the driving factor behind the soldiers’ actions on the battle field.
The Spirit of War is the reason why people can bring themselves to kill other human beings on the battle field. They become a slave to this spirit and perceive their actions to be morally acceptable. The focus is brought from the whole, where is there is mass murder and bloodshed, to the self, where survival is the only concern. The solider no longer becomes worried that he is killing other innocent people, because all he can think about it surviving.
The Spirit of War has another very important role in the course of the battle. The reason why General Kutuzov was such a profound generals is because he knew he had little effect on the outcome of the battle. War is a very chaotic element and military officials like to feel as though they are the ones controlling and creating it, when in fact this is far from the truth. In his novel, Toltosy continually played on the fact that commands fall to pieces as they travel to the front line. This is because the Sprit of War is at play; all of the combined effects of each soldier fighting for their own respective lives makes each battle unpredictable and uncontrollable.
The Spirit of War is another force that is there to remind us that life ultimately is uncontrollable and the best way to survive is to just follow where it takes you.