- This essay considers the relationship between war and social change in Europe since the Wars of the French Revolution. At the broadest level, the study of war and society asserts that we can learn a great deal about human societies by studying the ways that they prepare for and wage war. At the same time, we can better understand war by studying the societies that engage in it. This converse relationship distinguishes war and society from the broader field of social history from which it emerged. As this essay will show, the field has been further enriched by scholarly interest in the cultural history of war, a phenomenon largely dating from the 1990s. These interrelated fields of inquiry have allowed scholars to move beyond state-centered conceptions of war and to understand the interrelationship between armed conflict and social change.