Considering the number of wars the Federation fought in Star Trek, more so in The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine era than in The Original Series era it seems, how does the Federation's civilian population react to these conflicts?

Few people seem to disagree with or protest against these wars, especially the ones that seem to last a long time and end somewhat ambiguously, like the Cardassian War, or are particularly harsh, like the Dominion War.

Are there ever any antiwar movements in the Federation? For example, we hear about the large numbers of casualties during the Dominion War but never really see them, and these wars would surely put a strain on the Federation's resources even with its technology, aside from the impact of the loss of Starfleet crew members to their families.

So, what would be the impact on the civilian population?

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, past Star Trek series have not spent much time on discussing the plight of civilians during times of war (or even peace, for that matter), but we do have a few clues about Federation citizens during war:


The Maquis is probably the biggest, and best, example of a civilian population affected by a war (specifically, the Cardassian War). We don't see them during war itself, but rather in the aftermath, when the Federation-Cardassia borders are redrawn. As a result, a number of civilians living on previously Federation planets are forced to relocate to a new world, now that their planet has been handed over to Cardassia. Clearly, from the various episodes we see in TNG and DS9, the citizens forced to relocate are quite unhappy about it, forming an independent entity (nation, terrorist organization, whatever you choose to call it) - the Maquis. So there is obviously at least one portion of the Federation population that resents war.

Edit: From the discussion in the comments, I ralized I was mistaken - the Maquis don't really resent war, since they were partially responsible for the Federation-Cardassia war, and were quite violent in every episode we saw them in. Regardless, the peace treaty at the end of the war was not taken well by the Maquis, so I suppose it was the end of the war which the Maquis resented.

Earth Residents

We've also seen glimpses of how those living on Earth tend to react to wars, or conflict in general. Specifically, during DS9: Homefront, we see that most of the residents of Earth are quite jittery - Joseph Sisko comments he has not seen people so nervous since the incident with the Borg (the Battle of Wolf 359) - another hint that citizens of the Federation get quite nervous and worried when Earth faces a conflict. (it is important to note, however, that Joseph Sisko himself is relatively calm about the situation, implying that there are probably a number of Federation citizens who pay less attention to the war unless it actually directly affects them.

Harry Mudd

Although we did not see much of Harry Mudd in the Original Series, he will return in Star Trek: Discovery, whose first season is set during the Federation-Klingon war. This is pure speculation, but from the season's trailer, it appears that Discovery will explore the impact of war on civilians through Harry Mudd (who will first appear on tonight's episode, "Choose Your Pain"). This should prove to be another insight into the relation between Federation Citizens and Starfleet (essentially its military, among other things).

Edit: I watched "Choose Your Pain", where we find Mudd onboard a Klingon prison vessel.

Mudd is joined by Captain Lorca, who has been taken prisoner, and goes on to have a discussion with Lorca about his ideas on war. Mudd clearly hates the Federation's war, saying that it takes a huge toll on "the little guys" and that they're "sick and tired of being caught in [the war's] crossfire".

  • 4
    The Maquis clearly don't resent war. They resented the peace that the Federation and Cardassia settled on. If it were up to the Maquis, the Federation would fight to the last man in order to protect Federation colonies. And many of their actions came close to triggering another full-scale war. Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 0:50
  • I should correct myself - the Maquis do not resent war itself. But I would argue that they resented the Federation-Cardassia War, because although the outbreak of the war had nothing to do with them, the war and its aftermath affected them adversely, and as a result they were opposed to the war because how Federation civilians were affected by it.
    – soumilm
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 2:11
  • I'd add that Betazed was badly affected.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 2:16
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    @SoumilMukherjee Actually, the outbreak of the war was almost entirely to do with the border colonists, half of which were Federation citizens, the other half being Cardassians. If there had been no Federation colonists in the disputed area, there'd have been no attack on Setlik III, and the two powers would never have gone to war. Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 2:55
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    I seem to have misremembered some of the details - thanks for pointing it out. I've corrected my answer through an edit.
    – soumilm
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 18:14

IMHO Federation citizens might react to the Romulan War, The Borg Invasion, the Dominion War, or one of a few other big wars, the way US citizens reacted to the Civil War or Rebellion in 1861 to 1865 or World War II. It could, and usually would, be a very important factor in their lives.

But most other wars fought by the Federation might seem very big and important wars to the other side but would seem very minor frontier skirmishes to most Federation citizens.

To most Federation citizens most was fought by the federation would be no more important than the First Korean War or the Korean Expedition of 1871 was to Americans. Or no more important than the Indian conflicts on the frontier. For several decades hundreds or thousands of US nationals, both red and white, were killed in various conflicts each year. But the total population was tens of millions with hundreds of thousands of people being born and dying of natural causes each year, making the frontier casualties a drop in the bucket.

To most US residents, the frontier conflicts were merely something interesting to read about in the newspapers.

And it is certainly possible that the total Federation population was much greater in relation to the those affected than was the case in the 19th century USA, and that most Federation citizens cared as little about the Cardassian War as most 19th century Americans cared about the Apache wars and outbreaks.

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    This seems like pure guesswork.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 7:05

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