We first need to define the terms we are going to explore. Conflict, at its lowest meaning, can be defined as war or battle; but in the terms of society,
Conflict is usually defined as the collision of two contradictory ideas.
Two or more people have opposite ideas of what should happen. A good example of a conflict would be a disagreement between two friends about what game they want to play. One friend will eventually have to give in or they can no longer play together. Another example might be:
When you take the idea of conflict to the level of government, conflict usually becomes about resources: who has them, who wants them and who needs them. The states of Georgia and Florida have been in conflict for the past several years about how water should be distributed in each state. Each of the states wants more of the water. Right now, the decision on which state will get what amount is a court case in the Federal court system. There is probably not a solution that will satisfy each state entirely because their viewpoints are in conflict, so the court has to decide what the fairest way to distribute the water is. Because the drought has caused so many problems, each state has had to change how it uses its water.
Now change becomes the second term we need to define. When we change something, we transform it into something else.
Change, therefore, is best defined as creating a new direction, replacing something or becoming something new.
Some good synonyms for change might be exchange, modify, switch or alter. When we change, we see a difference in our environment or outlook.
The most important idea of our theme of conflict and change is that change always occurs when there is conflict. Conflict cannot exist indefinitely; some change will always happen during any discussion or negotiation. Because conflict must always be resolved in some way, society changes to adapt to new sets of rules whenever a conflict has occurred. Change may be large or small depending on the conflict involved.
If we go back to our example of two friends who can’t agree on a game to play, we have the option of several changes. Either the friends stop playing together, which is the first option for change, or they pick one of the two games to play, which becomes the second option. There is, of course, a third option, as well. The friends may choose to play a third game, a new choice decided by both. Our friends’ example shows us how many choices we have in society when conflict occurs. When two countries are at war, the main issue may be constant, such as who will get a certain piece of land or who will control an important resource like oil or water. While the war is occurring, however, who has control of those resources may shift back and forth between the two countries. Also, the issues in conflict may change during a war.
In World War II, the United States had a policy of non-intervention from 1938 when Hitler annexed Poland until Pearl Harbor Day in December 1941. The United States changed its policy of isolationism because the war had directly affected its