March 3, 2021

Almost half of millennials fear a third world war during their lives

Almost half of the millennials believe that a third world war is likely to occur in the course of their lives, despite the fact that three quarters of them think that wars could be avoided, according to an international survey of the International Committee of the Red Cross ( ICRC).

The research was conducted between 16,000 young people between the ages of 20 and 35 in fifteen countries plus the occupied Palestinian territories and their results have been published today by the humanitarian organization, which recalled that millennials are politicians, responsible for the decisions and trainers of Tomorrow’s opinion.

Specifically, 47% of respondents believe that a new global conflagration is possible in the coming years, while 46% think otherwise, a result that reflects interviews conducted with young people in two groups of countries: in conflict and in situations of peace.

The first are Afghanistan, Colombia, Israel, Palestine, Nigeria, Ukraine and Syria; while in the second group are Indonesia, Malaysia, France, Russia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Mexico and South Africa.

The millennials of Malaysia, South Africa and Russia are the most pessimistic because 68%, 49% and 48%, respectively, think that they will be personally affected by a conflict in the future, while the Swiss and British are the most optimistic, with 76% and 60% who believe that this is unlikely.


People in places of conflict tend to believe that wars will diminish or end in the next half century, compared to respondents living in peaceful countries.

The survey commissioned by the ICRC from a private company undoubtedly reveals uneasiness among youth for their future, as indicated by 54% of respondents considered a nuclear attack likely in the next decade.

In presenting these results to the press, the director general of the CIC, Yves Daccord, said that one of the explanations of the pessimism of young people is the feeling they have of living in countries that are unable to take common resolutions in the face of critical situations, as has It has been the case of the war in Syria since 2011.

Millennials observe that countries, instead of cooperating, compete with each other, and consider incidents of unforeseeable consequences to be probable, explained the person in charge.

On the other hand, the analysis of the organization does not see that social networks are the creators of these concerns, although they may be the sounding boxes of distress that millennials already had.


The responses of the interviewees regarding the limits of the wars concern instead the International Red Cross, which sees in them “an erosion of the basic human values ​​enshrined in international norms.”

Although there is an almost unanimous opposition to the use of weapons of mass destruction, 41% believe that torture is acceptable in certain circumstances, a result that reflects a change of thinking that originated with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in States United.

That tragedy modified the image that had been entered until the present millennium that “only the bad” tortured, commented Daccord.

A significant 36% believe that captured enemy combatants should not be allowed to contact their families, which is a basic right recognized in international humanitarian law.

Nuclear weapons, along with biological and chemical weapons, cause the most rejection, but when the questions focus on landmines and cluster bombs – two categories banned internationally – the millennials of Israel and the United States are more permissive.

In the first country, only a third of millennials consider them unacceptable, while in the second they are half.

The investigation also revealed a worrying acceptance of expressions and actions that dehumanize the enemy, whether they are real or perceived, which coincides with times of false news, misinformation and polarization.

“It is not surprising that these issues are so complicated for this generation,” confronted with violent and highly mediated phenomena such as the jihadist group Islamic State, is recalled in the conclusions of the survey.


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