Most wars are started when one group of greedy bastards wants to take over from another group of greedy bastards. These greedy bastards (generally politicians and their corporate sponsors) are the "elite" of societies. Since they control the wealth, they have the most to gain (or lose) by war. Everyone else is just cannon fodder and will end up worse off after the war regardless of who wins. There are a few interesting probes of this rule. I just finished reading George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia" which is an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. Apparently, the faction Orwell was fighting for (apparently by chance), POUM, did try to establish an egalitarian workers society. However, they were sold out by the Russian Communists and other factions.
I think it's really difficult (?impossible) to establish a truly egalitarian society anywhere which would actually improve the condition of the peons. The usual result in just about every political system is that you end up with a few greedy bastards in charge fighting the greedy bastards next door.
I'm not sure it would make much difference to be speaking German or Russian or Japanese or Chinese or have to profess belief in a different god. If you survived the war, you will still have the same shitty job living hand to mouth... just a different master.