The technology of World War II, which lasted from 1939 to 1945, was a big part of the determination of the outcome of the war. Much of the technology was developed during the interwar years. Some of it was developed because of failure and hindrance in war progression, obviously because of inefficient technology. Still some was in the beginning stages of development as the war ended. Though earlier war greatly utilized science, mathematics, and innovation, World War II had the largest impact on the innovation in technology of the current lives of Americans. Furthermore, no war, preceeding or succeeding, was as profoundly affected by science, mathematics, and technology as World War II. Science and technology have always made significant impacts on the field of war. World War II is no exception. Innovations in weapons and transportation developed greatly throughout World War II, and had a very profound impact on the outcome of the war and the technology of the antebellum world.
Technology before World War II was simpler and much less efficient. America was moving toward the beginning of industrialism and mass production. This trend seems to have begun in the Civil War or, as many called it, “The First Modern War.” During the Civil War, weapons such as the repeating rifle, iron clad ships, the Gatling gun, cannons, the Minié ball, torpedoes, mines, and the submarine were devised and considered great for that period.[i] The invented other things such as railroads, tin cans, photography, aerial observation, and telegraphs as well that were considered awesome at that time.[ii]
These advances were awesome in this war. The repeating rifle gave more accuracy and range than the previously used musket, and was much faster to load. It was especially easy to load using the Minié ball. However, this new bullet-and-gun combination caused far worse flesh damage than the old ammunition, adding to the already rather large amount of casualties of the Civil War. The Gatling gun and the torpedo were devised in the Civil war as well—the Gatling gun being a “machine gun on wheels,” and the torpedo being more of a mine than the torpedoes that will later be invented. Submarines were first used in the Civil War. There were two types—a small submarine with a steam powered engine and one rowed with oars that were later replaced by a screw propeller. The latter proved not to work as well and sunk. Railroads were very useful, transporting men, supplies, and reinforcement. Tin cans allowed the soldiers to keep food longer before it spoiled. This was, however, restricted to foods such as unseasoned pork and beans due to a lack of refrigeration and preservatives. Telegraphs allowed commanders to communicate with each other much more quickly than sending a messenger on horseback. Finally, photography made the Civil War the first war to be accurately recorded with real proof, rather than paintings.[iii]
Using these military technologies in the Civil War, like the Battle of Gettysburg caused casualties for the opposing force allowing the force using the more modern technology to advance and progress further and more quickly. However, these technological advancements being utilized revealed the drastic lack of medical advancements that America possessed, causing the loss of even more men in the battles.[iv]
The technology in the Civil War was modernized further in World War I, with trench warfare, artillery, poisonous gas, new railways, aircrafts, tanks, more submarines, newer small arms and machine guns, and flame throwers.[v]
Trench warfare was digging tunnels and using them in attack on enemies making it difficult for them to retaliate. Artillery such as the wire-cutting fuze and anti-aircraft guns were mainly used to attack directly through enemy defense.[vi]
Poisonous gas not only hid soldiers, but simultaneously stimulated the chemistry industry and the economy. Railways were still...
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