Information

Technology and the Second World War


Technology and the Second World WarDate
Robert Watson-Watt demonstrates his radar system to Air Ministry.29th February, 1935
The Hawker Hurricane, designed by Sydney Camm, makes its first flight.6th November, 1935
The Spitfire, designed by Reginald J. Mitchell, makes its first flight.5th March, 1936
The Messerschmitt 110 makes its first flight.12th May, 1936
Frank Whittle tests the first prototype jet engine.12th April, 1937
First worldwide radio broadcast transmits the coronation of George VI.12th May, 1937
Physics Conference held in Washington discuss making of atom bomb.January, 1939
The Mitsubishi A6M makes its maiden flight.1st April, 1939
Albert Einstein writes a letter to Roosevelt about dangers of atom bomb.2nd August, 1939
The Junkers Ju 88A makes its first flight.27th September, 1939
The Handley Page Halifax makes its first flight.17th August, 1940
The Vought Corsair becomes the first American fighter to fly at 400 mph.1st October , 1940
The Mustang P-51B makes its first flight.26th October , 1940
Airbourne radar successfully used by the Royal Air Force for the first time.18th November, 1940
The Mosquito makes its first flight.25th November, 1940
The Avro Lancaster makes its first flight.9th January, 1941
Frank Whittle's jet-propelled Gloster E28 takes its first flight.15th May, 1941
Franklin D. Roosevelt creates Office of Scientific Research and Development.28th June, 1941
The Focke Wulf Fw 190 sees service with the Luftwaffe for the first time.July, 1941
Manhattan Project begins in Los Angeles, Calfornia.6th December, 1941
Wernher von Braun demonstrates his V2 Rocket to Nazi leaders.13th June, 1942
The Messerschmitt Me 262 makes its first test flight.18th July, 1942
The B-29 Superfortress makes its first flight.21st September, 1942
The V2 Rocket makes first test flight in Germany.3rd October, 1942
Scientists at the University of Chicago makes first nuclear pile.2nd December, 1942
Barnes Wallis is asked to prepare bouncing bomb for an attack on Germany.16th May, 1943
Wing Commander Guy Gibson leads the Dambusters Raid.16th May, 1943
The Arado Ar 234, the world's first jet bomber, makes its first flight.15th June, 1943
First V1 Flying bomb lands on Britain.13th June, 1944
Gloster Meteor, Britain's first jet-fighter, is used by the Royal Air Force.27th July, 1944
First V2 Rocket lands on Britain.8th September, 1944
The turbo-jet Heinkel He 162 makes its first test flight.6th December, 1944
Air Marshall Arthur Harris orders the creation of a firestorm in Dresden.13th February, 1945
United States Army Air Force creates firestorm in Tokyo.9th March, 1945
Last V2 Rocket lands on Britain.27th March, 1945
Manhattan Project scientists test atom bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico.16th July, 1945
United States Army Air Force drops atom bomb on Hiroshima.6th August, 1945
United States Army Air Force drops atom bomb on Nagasaki.9th August , 1945

Top 8 inventions & innovations of WWII

As one of the largest events in human history, World War II spawned numerous important inventions that still affect modern life.

Jet engine

Dr. Hans von Ohain and Sir Frank Whittle share credit for the development of the jet engine even though they worked independently of one another.

They patented the designs in the early 30s, made prototypes in the late 30s, and successfully flew the first flights in the early 40s.

The Germans thought it especially useful as a way to help them overcome Allied superiority in numbers.

Jet planes are the modern foundation of military air forces and civilian transport.

Heinkel He 178, the world’s first aircraft to fly purely on turbojet power, 1939.

Synthetic rubber and oil

Both of these materials were essential in the creation and use of planes, tanks, and vehicles. The Germans faced a critical shortage of oil for much of the war, particularly after they retreated from Southern Russian and the Romanian oil fields.

The United States started to use synthetic oil as well when they realized it helped the airplane engines run better and stay cleaner for longer.

WWII poster about synthetic rubber tires.

The Allies developed synthetic rubber when the Axis powers controlled much of the natural rubber in the South Pacific. Again, the synthetic materials helped produce better tires that lasted longer and performed better.

These synthetic materials continue to help both high powered machines and more regularly powered machines, like our cars.

Sheet of synthetic rubber coming off the rolling mill at the plant of Goodrich (1941).

Pressurized cabins

Flying at high altitudes was not only uncomfortably cold but dangerous. The high altitudes could result in sickness and hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen in the blood.

The pilots had oxygen masks that helped prevent this, but these masks were bulky and often prevented the pilots from operating and making repairs in combat conditions.

World War II-era flying helmet and oxygen mask.

The B29 bomber introduced in 1944 built upon experimental systems and provided a pressurized cockpit, nose, and a shaft leading along the ship to the unpressurized launch bays.

The pressurized cabin was used after World War II (along with jet engines) to make commercial flights possible.

Interior photo of the rear pressurized cabin of the B-29 Superfortress, June 1944.

Radar

Radar was developed in the early 20 th century by many nations seeking both to detect and send radio waves. The most promising development came from Sir Robert Watson Watt, the grandson of the famous inventor James Watt.

In 1934, Britain became worried about a rumored “death ray” that Germany had developed.

A 1925 radio magazine photograph of Grindell-Matthews death ray.

Watt studied the matter and found no evidence of a death ray, but did find promising leads in the science of radio detection.

By the start of the Battle of Britain, the government had developed a series of radar stations along the coast that gave them vital advanced warnings of German air attacks.

This Morris Commercial T-type van, originally used as a portable radio reception testbed, was later refitted for the Daventry Experiment. It is shown in 1933, being operated by “Jock” Herd.

It was so important for the defense of Britain that German radar technology was the target of perhaps the most daring and crazy commando mission of the war.

Radar systems remain a vital part of missile defense today.

The first workable radar unit constructed by Robert Watson-Watt and his team. The four widely separated NT46 tubes can be seen. Production units were largely identical. Photo: Elektrik Fanne CC BY-SA 4.0 East Coast Chain Home radar station.

V2 missiles

Part of the reason for the development of radar was because of Germany’s development of missiles. Called “Vergeltungswaffe 2” in German and “Vengeance rockets” in popular parlance, these missiles were the world’s first long-range ballistic missiles.

A liquid fuel rocket propellant was used to launch missiles from deep inside Germany toward the heart of London. 3,000 British civilians died, and over 12,000 forced laborers in Germany died producing them.

V-2 rocket on Meillerwagen at Operation Backfire near Cuxhaven in 1945. Heavily camouflaged and highly mobile, attempts to attack the V-2 were unsuccessful. CH did help provide some early warning, the best solution to be had. Photo: Bundesarchiv Bild 141-1879 CC BY-SA 3.0 The aftermath of a V-2 strike at Battersea, London (27 January 1945).

The creators of the V rockets, such as Wernher von Braun, were the key intellectual foundation of the US space program that took America to the moon.

Guided missiles such as those launched by the American F35 or the carrier killing missiles developed by China are a vital part of modern militaries.

DF-21 and transporter erector launcher vehicle at the Beijing Military Museum.

Guided weapons

Launching missiles at a long range was important, but so was steering them.

The Fritz Anti-ship bomb fielded by Germany in 1943 used radio to control and guide the bomb into its target, an Italian battleship.

The United States went one step further and used radar-guided bombs to remove the need for a human operator.

Modern technologies have perfected these techniques to the point that the Gulf War was called a video game war, and the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) guidance kit is a vital part of the American bombing force.

Fritz X Guided Bomb.Photo: Sanjay Acharya CC BY-SA 4.0

USS Savannah (CL-42) is hit by a German radio-controlled glide bomb, while supporting Allied forces ashore during the Salerno operation, September 11, 1943.

Helicopters

The Germans developed a single seat helicopter for reconnaissance and ferrying small items between ships. The air force wanted to use it for combat, and they added a second seat for a spotter who was often used to locate artillery.

After the helicopters performed well in bad weather while the rest of the air force was grounded, the Germans planned to make over 1,000 of these aircraft. But the Allies bombed key factories before they could make more than twenty-four.

Flettner Fl 282 with US markings during flight trials after World War II.

The helicopter today is a key attack, reconnaissance, and medical unit. It increased the range of infantry soldiers in Vietnam and became a key part of American strategy there.

The downing of a Black Hawk in Somalia produced one of the fiercest infantry engagements of the modern era as well.

Black Hawk of the Colombian Air Force launching flares, 2011. Photo: Andrés Ramírez GFDL 1.2

Penicillin

The discovery of penicillin in 1928 was accidental. Alexander Flemming left a petri dish of bacteria cultures unattended for several days. When he discovered his mistake, he saw that some of the bacteria in a ring around the growing mold culture had died due to contamination by a fungus.

Alexander Fleming, who is credited with discovering penicillin in 1928.

Trials on human patients were so successful that the drug was used on soldiers in World War II to prevent infection. Previous medicines had been toxic to the human body, so this far more effective medicine saved millions of lives in World War II.

Penicillin is the basis for most of the antibiotics prescribed by doctors today.


Technology and the Second World War - History

Technology played an important role in World War II. Major advances in weaponry, communications, and industry by both sides impacted the way the war was fought and, eventually, the outcome in the war.

Tanks - Although tanks were first used in World War I, it was during World War II that tanks became a major military force. Hitler utilized tanks in his fast moving Panzer divisions. They enabled him to quickly take over much of Europe using a tactic called Blitzkrieg, meaning "lightning war." Some of the most famous tanks from World War II include Germany's Tiger tank, the Soviet Union's T-34 tank, and the United States' Sherman tank.

Aircraft - The air force became one of the most important parts of the military during World War II. Whoever had control of the air, often won the battle on the ground. Different types of planes were developed for specific tasks. There were small, fast fighter planes designed for air-to-air combat, large bombers that could drop huge bombs on enemy targets, planes designed to land and take off from aircraft carriers, and large transport planes used to deliver supplies and soldiers. Other important advances in aircraft included the first military helicopters and the first jet-powered fighter planes.

Radar - Radar was a new technology developed right before the war. It used radio waves to detect enemy aircraft. The British were the first to employ radar and it helped them to fight off the Germans in the Battle of Britain.

Aircraft Carrier - One of the biggest changes in naval technology in World War II was the use of the aircraft carrier. Aircraft carriers became the most important ships in the navy. They were able to launch air attacks from anywhere in the ocean.

Bombs - World War II saw the invention of many new types of bombs. The Germans invented the long range flying bomb called the V-1 as well as a rocket bomb called the V-2. The Allies developed a bouncing bomb that would bounce across the water and explode once it hit a dam. Other specialized bombs included bunker busters and cluster bombs.

The Atom Bomb - Perhaps the largest leap in technology during World War II was the atom bomb. This bomb caused a massive explosion by using nuclear reactions. It was used by the United States to bomb the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Secret Codes - In order to keep communications secret, both sides developed their own secret codes. The Germans used a machine called the Enigma Machine to code and decode their messages. However, the Allied scientists were able to crack the code giving them an advantage in battle.

New technology was also used to disperse propaganda. Inventions like motion pictures, the radio, and the microphone were all used by governments to broadcast their messages to the people.


World War II Impact On the US Technology

The United States (U.S) involvement in the Second World War had profound impact on the political, social as well as the economic sectors (Bowles, 2011). Notable though was the impact the war had on the technological developments that ensued in the course of the war as well as after the war ended.

The U.S was drawn into the war after the Japanese without warning launched a surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This was the direct cause that drew the U.S into the war. The U.S had initially decided to remain neutral following the great losses experienced in the First World War (Bowles, 2011). This had led to the signing of various neutrality Acts in the years preceding the Second World War.

Continued aggression and military growth of the German Nazi under the dictator Adolf Hitler, got The U.S nervous thus beginning their technological advancement in preparation of war in case of an invasion. This led to the U.S developing superior weapons, complicated communication and transport channels for espionage as well as great developments in the areas of medicine and logistical support.

Atomic and nuclear weapons as well as superior military aircrafts and artillery were rapidly developed in the course of the war and after (Anderson, 2005). Due to the greater need of artillery and war equipments, most factories in the United States were converted from civilian productions of equipment to the production of military equipments. It was required by law, especially in the executive order 8802 (1941), that fairness be practiced in the defense industry. This prevented racial cases from occurring thus providing grounds for unity and thus rapid development. It also led to the creation of (FEPC) Fair Employment Practices Committee.

Another major mile stone came as a result of the second new deal which saw America rise from the great depression. Franklin. D. Roosevelt came up with relief work programs that saw more direct labor input in the technology industry. The labor was directed towards reforms and reliefs which saw the Americans rapidly contributing to every aspect of the development of their country with the technological aspect benefiting the most. As a result of these, America technological advancement grew at an alarming rate. Considering that it was at first non-aligned it sold most of its military equipment to both the allied and the axis powers but later changed this policy in the when it was actively involved in the war.

United States also advanced cryptanalysis a technology greatly used in breaking enemy codes and acquiring enemy information during the war (Ifrah, 2001). Colossus computers were also developed as a result of this (Friedman, 2009). In essence, the United States technology was greatly aided by the war and continued even after the war ended. Aircraft production in the U.S before the war was very minimal but surpassed the production of Great Britain, Germany and Japan combined after the war (Friedman). Boeing production and other aircrafts as well as space exploration can also be attributed to the Second World War. It is evidently clear therefore that this war had a profound positive effect on the U.S as other countries collapsed.


13. Jet engines

Nazi Germany was responsible for developing the very first jet engine plane called Heinkel He 178. The plane took its first flight in 1939 and gave the Germans air superiority against the Allied forces.

While the Heinkel He 178 is the predecessor of all the subsequent jet engines till date but it wasn’t as advanced as you would expect. It had a lot of issues in it, and the total operating life of the jet engine was only ten years.

After getting inspired from the Germans and learning from their mistakes, the British too invented their own jet engine which was far more advanced than the Heinkel.


The QWERTY Typewriter Keyboard

Christopher Latham Sholes&apos daughter with the first QWERTY typewriter keyboard.

Like many modern inventions, the typewriter wasn’t the result of a single genius, but was gradually developed by a succession of visionaries starting in the mid-1700s. But it wasn’t until the 1870s that the first really practical typewriters went on sale. In 1878, typing visionary Christopher Latham Sholes, a former journalist and customs inspector, came up with the idea of equipping a typewriter with a QWERTY keyboard, whose arrangement of letters was designed to slow typists’ fingers slightly and prevent typewriters from jamming. 

The QWERTY keyboard triumphed over other arrangements of keys, and became the popular system of choice. Mark Twain used the system to type his 1883 novel Life on the Mississippi, which may have been the first literary work composed on a typewriter.


Technology Shapes Warfare

Technology shapes warfare, not war. War is timeless and universal. It has afflicted virtually every state known to human history. Warfare is the conduct of war. It is the clash of arms or the maneuver of armed forces in the field. It entails what military professionals call operations, whether or not the opposing forces actually unleash their organized violence on one another. War is a condition in which a state might find itself warfare is a physical activity conducted by armed forces in the context of war. Of course, many kinds of group violence, from gang fights to terrorism, might display some or all of the characteristics of warfare without rising to this definition of war, but more often than not these violent conflicts use instruments of war. To understand the technology of warfare is to understand the technology of most public violence.

Wording is also important in articulating exactly what impact technology has on warfare. A number of verbs suggest themselves. Technology defines, governs, or circumscribes warfare. It sets the stage for warfare. It is the instrumentality of warfare.

The most important verb describing the impact of technology on warfare is that it changes warfare. Technology has been the primary source of military innovation throughout history. It drives changes in warfare more than any other factor. Consider a simple thought experiment. Sun Tzu and Alexander the Great are brought back to life and assigned to lead coalition forces in Afghanistan in 2008. These near contemporaries from the fourth century BCE would understand almost everything they would need to know. Alexander actually fought in Afghanistan, and Sun Tzu (if such a person really existed) fought in comparably mountainous terrain in China.[2] Both were masters of strategy and tactics. What came to be called the “principles of war” are simply the tacit knowledge that all successful commanders throughout history have carried around in their bank of experience: an understanding of intelligence, surprise, maneuver, command and control, concentration of force, unity of command, terrain, etc. Even Clausewitz’s seminal contributions to military art and science—chance, violence, the “fog of war,” and “friction”—were concepts that Alexander and Sun Tzu knew by different names.

The only modern tool of command they would not know and could not readily assimilate would be the technology of war. Airplanes, missiles, tanks, drones, satellites, computers, GPS, and all the remaining panoply of the modern high-tech battlefield would be incomprehensible to them. A sergeant from their operations staff could exploit these resources more fully and effectively than either of our great captains. Sun Tzu and Alexander would be incompetent on the modern battlefield.

The point is even more obvious in humankind’s other two fields of battle—the sea and the air—to say nothing of space, perhaps the battlefield of the future. Naval warfare does not occur without ships, which, through most of human history, were the most complex of human technological artifacts. Of course the same is true of planes for air warfare, missiles for strategic warfare, and spacecraft for star wars. In each case, the vehicle defines the warfare. Horatio Nelson, perhaps the greatest naval commander of all time, would have been powerless to understand the strategy and tactics of World War II’s air warfare in the Pacific or submarine warfare in the Atlantic. The cat-and-mouse contest of Soviet and American attack submarines in the Cold War would have been even more incomprehensible to him. He might have gone back in time and intuited the essence of galley warfare, but he could not command in the age of steam, let alone the nuclear age, without a solid grounding in modern science and technology.

The more modern, or postmodern, the warfare becomes, the more the generalization holds true. Technology defines warfare. Air warfare was not even possible before the twentieth century, save for the vulnerable and inefficient reconnaissance balloons that were pioneered in Europe and America in the nineteenth century. In the twenty-first century, air warfare ranges from strategic bombing to close air support of ground troops to dog fights for air superiority to pilotless drones that carry the eyes and ears, and sometimes the ordnance, of operators hundreds, even thousands, of miles away. The U.S. boasts a missile defense installation that can stop the unstoppable, an intercontinental ballistic missile. Space-faring nations flirt with anti-satellite weapons launched from earth and even the prospect of space-based weapons to fight one another and threaten the earth below. Air warfare differs from naval warfare, not because the strategy and tactics of conflict in those realms differs, but because planes differ from ships. And, of course, both differ from tanks and rockets and satellites. Each technology shapes, defines, circumscribes, and governs a new kind of warfare.

Nor is it just the evolution of weaponry that changes warfare. It is the distribution of the weaponry. Throughout history, states have usually fought one another in weapons symmetry.[3] In the first Gulf War, for example, Saddam Hussein attempted to defeat a conventional, industrialized, mechanized American army with a conventional, industrialized, mechanized Iraqi army. The quality and quantity of the American technology prevailed. In the second Gulf War, however, the insurgents resorted to asymmetrical warfare, fighting the high-tech American arsenal with low-tech instruments of assassination, sabotage, and terror. Only when the United States adjusted its technology to meet the new threat did the enemy tactics lose their edge. Of course training, morale, numbers, will, and politics also contributed to the outcome in Iraq, but the nature of the technology set the stage for the struggle.


I would have had Sir Robert Watson Watt for the Radar, yes Sir Bernard did a lot during the war years but had it not been for Robert’s work de-bunking the ‘German death ray’ and coming up with and coining the name RADAR Sir Bernard would have had little to do!

Even when the Lancaster bomber had tremendous bombload capabilities, an outstanding handling and great range, it had a terrible fault: a lack of a ventral protection gun turret, soon to be realised by German fighter pilots. Another shortcoming was the use of too small caliber defensive guns. The German fighters could fire from greater distances before the smallish 0.303 Lancaster guns were effective. Thus, too many Lancaster pilots had to execute the stressful “corkscrew” maneouver in an attempt to evade a closing fighter. But nevertheless, even the Americans were ready to use Lancasters for the atomic bombings as their B-29 was not completely ready, and spent a very large sum to have them modified for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At least one of them used an adapted British mechanism for the heavy bomb release.

the bridge monster was the most deadly. Sucked up at least 50 000 soldiers

I am doing some research regarding the use of hardened plastic in the construction of fighter planes in WW2. I have the Name Krogh or Crogh or could be Kroagh/Croagh. The person sent to the Isle of Man but was then brought back to North Manchester due to his knowledge in this field. Has anyone got any information regarding this man or any idea where his family are now settled. I would be extremely grateful for any help. Thanking you in advance.

It all proves, along with so many other engineering innovations, that applied engineering , cleverly applied and not wasted in V1-type projects with little military value, won WW2. The lessons of WW1, and its bloodbath, were well learned by 1944.

The .303 round weighs 28.6 grams and the 0.5 round weighs four times as much at 116.5 grams. This meant that at night, where ranges tended to be short due to the difficulty in seeing the target, the .303 had an advantage in sustained firepower as more ammunition could be carried.
During the day, where the ranges were longer, the .50 had the advantage.

Sadly, this article perpetuates the myth that we won WW2 by being clever. It is true that some of the technology shortened the war and/or saved lives. But the real reason we won can be summed up in five words: Russian blood and American steel. In other words, we won through brute force – more men and more materiel.

I am sure there are many technologies that were brilliant.
The magnetron was a radical research innovation, because it was not done by the experts but by experts from another field (particle acceleration) – and hence was disruptive.
I think it was an American General who said that the way to win was to be the “firstest with the mostest” – so the success of D-day landings epitomised this – from the innovative diversionary tactics to the logistics of the landings some of the technologies (such as inflatable tanks) were simple and others more complex (such as the mulberry harbours) .
I think that it was a innovative attitude (bringing all the required innovations together) is what counted the idea of engineering the innovations for success was possibly more important than any single innovation.
Sadly the belief in the “heroic” innovation is now, again, all too prevalent – rather than a chain or network of radial innovations or innovators.

but every move of the enemy had been anticipated and a definite counter-move worked out”.

Engineers who have not already done so, might enjoy reading “Not much of an Engineer” -the auto-biography of Stanley Hooker: later Chief Engineer of RR. [He was the same at Bristol Siddeley Engines when I was a vac student there in 1961/2 ]:
the title? how he was apparently described by the guy at RR who first interviewed him when he joined: as Hooker studied mathematics. In his book he describes doing the mathematics for an axial flow compressor to ‘boost’ the earlier Merlins: and described one RAF pilot (his spitfire fitted with one of the new engines) being waved at and offered a smile by a Luftwaffe pilot as the RAF plane passed the latter in a climb!
We Engineers surely all recognise that it is technology which advances every element of the human state: what a shame that so much is used improperly.

There is a through and well researched book titled “The Bomber War”. It has the testimony of many many pilots, gunners, navigators, bombers (crew), and some top brass (Generals) etc.
To say that a 0.303 is advantageous is like stretching the truth a little too much. The reality was that the specification for using and keeping the .303″ in fighters (and that was permeated into bomber defensive weaponry too) was the belief that fighter pilots had up to two seconds machine gun burst duration and no more to inflict damage to the enemy fighter. Thus it resulted into an spec that ordered 4 machine guns per fighter. Fortunately enough, both the Spitfire and the Hurricane had 8, but latter versions changed that arrangement.
NOW, the caliber was an indirect result of older WW-I ammunition being available (and ready to be manufactured) in huge quantities. But frankly speaking, British planes were in disadvantage in respect to guns against the German ones. A careful comparison of specifications of both sides armament, but changing places would show an opposite picture. In retrospective, both sides fighters, Me-109 and Spitfire (and Hurricane), flying on opposite roles would produce almost the same result. A lack of flying range characterizes all those designs. Thus, combat times were very different when having to fly from France and back against flying over own territory. Even renowned German aces like Adolf Galland (who became a close friend with his corresponding adversaries Robert Stanford Tuck and Douglas Bader after the war ended), clearly described both sides armament good and bad points. And not all the heavier Autocannons were equally effective: some had terribly low muzzle velocities (Japanese Zero). But thing is clear: even the very effective american .50 cal machine gun was nothing compared to the German 20 mm cannons. Plus, the multiple machine guns installed on the wings had to be “harmonized” to converge at only one distance, and beyond that point, the bullet streams crossed and diverged badly. The Me-109 had its cannon shooting through the airscrew spiner, and was both more concentrated and powerful. We are lucky later Spitfires had two 20 mm plus smaller machine guns.

For those curious enough on this theme, I’d recommend the excellent information on this site:
http://users.skynet.be/Emmanuel.Gustin/fgun/fgun-pr.html most appropriately called: “The WWII Fighter Gun Debate”… that will give ample food for the though…

I would say that if Germany won over Britain in 1940, they would prevail. So, not only Russian blood or American steel.

The Germans were more advanced with radar technology at the beginning of the war but, luckily, Hitler was more interested in offensive not defensive capabilities. Also the Me262 was so advanced that if the Germans had managed to deploy it properly (Hitler wanted it used as a fast bomber ‘vengeance weapon’) the Allies might have had more trouble gaining air superiority. Once again, the Germans did not employ these technologies to maximise their effect.

I would rank the aircraft carrier above technology #2 – little boats / plastic armour. Though carriers did not play a major part in the European theatre , they were the means of providing air support for liberating islands from the Japanese in the Pacific beyond the range of land based airfields. A picture of war in the Atlantic too, had Britain fallen?


4. The MG 42

Designed by Nazi Germany, the Maschinengewehr 42 or MG 42 was a 7.92×57mm Mauser general purpose machine gun. The MG 42 was a streamlined version of the earlier MG 34. The weapon’s most notable features included its exceptionally high rate of firing at about 1,200 to 1,500 rounds per minute which was twice the rate of the Vickers and Browning machine guns. The MG 42 had a 1,000-meter range and a capacity of 50 rounds. The American GIs called the weapon “Hitler’s buzz saw” while the Soviet Red Army called it “the linoleum ripper” as it produced a unique tearing sound due to its extremely high rate of fire.

It was used extensively by the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS (the armed wing of the Nazi party’s SS organization) during the second half of the Second World War. It was used all across the battlefields of Europe and caused thousands of Allied deaths. The weapon was much loved by its users and respected by the Allied forces who faced it. By the end of the war, about 408,323 MG 42s had been produced.


History of Globalization - Post-World War II: Globalization Resurgent

Globalization, since World War II, is partly the result of planning by politicians to break down borders hampering trade. Their work led to the Bretton Woods conference, an agreement by the world's leading politicians to lay down the framework for international commerce and finance, and the founding of several international institutions intended to oversee the processes of globalization. Globalization was also driven by the global expansion of multinational corporations based in the United States and Europe, and worldwide exchange of new developments in science, technology and products, with most significant inventions of this time having their origins in the Western world according to Encyclopædia Britannica. Worldwide export of western culture went through the new mass media: film, radio and television and recorded music. Development and growth of international transport and telecommunication played a decisive role in modern globalization.

These institutions include the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank), and the International Monetary Fund. Globalization has been facilitated by advances in technology which have reduced the costs of trade, and trade negotiation rounds, originally under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which led to a series of agreements to remove restrictions on free trade.

Since World War II, barriers to international trade have been considerably lowered through international agreements — GATT. Particular initiatives carried out as a result of GATT and the World Trade Organization (WTO), for which GATT is the foundation, have included:

  • Promotion of free trade:
    • elimination of tariffs creation of free trade zones with small or no tariffs
    • Reduced transportation costs, especially resulting from development of containerization for ocean shipping.
    • Reduction or elimination of capital controls
    • Reduction, elimination, or harmonization of subsidies for local businesses
    • Creation of subsidies for global corporations
    • Harmonization of intellectual property laws across the majority of states, with more restrictions
    • Supranational recognition of intellectual property restrictions (e.g. patents granted by China would be recognized in the United States)

    Cultural globalization, driven by communication technology and the worldwide marketing of Western cultural industries, was understood at first as a process of homogenization, as the global domination of American culture at the expense of traditional diversity. However, a contrasting trend soon became evident in the emergence of movements protesting against globalization and giving new momentum to the defense of local uniqueness, individuality, and identity.

    The Uruguay Round (1986 to 1994) led to a treaty to create the WTO to mediate trade disputes and set up a uniform platform of trading. Other bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, including sections of Europe's Maastricht Treaty and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have also been signed in pursuit of the goal of reducing tariffs and barriers to trade.

    World exports rose from 8.5% in 1970, to 16.2% of total gross world product in 2001.

    In the 1990s, the growth of low cost communication networks allowed work done using a computer to be moved to low wage locations for many job types. This included accounting, software development, and engineering design.

    In late 2000s, much of the industrialized world entered into a deep recession. Some analysts say the world is going through a period of deglobalization after years of increasing economic integration. China has recently become the world's largest exporter surpassing Germany.

    Read more about this topic: History Of Globalization

    Famous quotes containing the word war :

    &ldquo We had won. Pimps got out of their polished cars and walked the streets of San Francisco only a little uneasy at the unusual exercise. Gamblers, ignoring their sensitive fingers, shook hands with shoeshine boys. Beauticians spoke to the shipyard workers, who in turn spoke to the easy ladies. I thought if war did not include killing, I’d like to see one every year. Something like a festival. &rdquo
    &mdashMaya Angelou (b. 1928)


    Strategy and Tactics, Military

    Military strategy and tactics are essential to the conduct of warfare. Broadly stated, strategy is the planning, coordination, and general direction of military operations to meet overall political and military objectives. Tactics implement strategy by short-term decisions on the movement of troops and employment of weapons on the field of battle. The great military theorist Carl von Clausewitz put it another way: "Tactics is the art of using troops in battle strategy is the art of using battles to win the war." Strategy and tactics, however, have been viewed differently in almost every era of history.

    The change in the meaning of these terms over time has been basically one of scope as the nature of war and the shape of society have changed and as technology has developed. Strategy, for example, literally means "the art of the general" (from the Greek strategos) and originally signified the purely military planning of a campaign. Thus until the 17th and 18th centuries strategy included to varying degrees such problems as fortification, maneuver, and supply. In the 19th and 20th centuries, however, with the rise of mass ideologies, vast conscript armies, global alliances, and rapid technological change, military strategy became difficult to distinguish from "grand strategy," that is, the proper planning and utilization of the entire resources of a society &mdashmilitary, technological, economic, and political. The change in the scope and meaning of tactics over time has been largely due to enormous changes in technology. Tactics have always been difficult &mdash and have become increasingly difficult &mdash to distinguish in reality from strategy because the two are so interdependent. (Indeed, in the 20th century, tactics have been termed operational strategy.) Strategy is limited by what tactics are possible given the size, training, and morale of forces, type and number of weapons available, terrain, weather, and quality and location of enemy forces, the tactics to be used are dependent on strategic considerations.

    Strategic and Tactical Principles of Warfare
    Military commanders and theorists throughout history have formulated what they considered to be the most important strategic and tactical principles of war. Napoleon I, for example, had 115 such principles. The Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest had but one: "Get there first with the most men." Some of the most commonly cited principles are the objective, the offensive, surprise, security, unity of command, economy of force, mass, and maneuver. Most are interdependent.

    Military forces, whether large-scale or small-scale, must have a clear objective that is followed despite possible distractions. Only offensive operations &mdash seizing and exploiting the initiative &mdash however, will allow the choice of objectives the offense also greatly increases the possibility of surprise (stealth and deception) and security (protection against being surprised or losing the possibility of surprising the enemy). Unity of command, or cooperation, is essential to the pursuit of objectives, the ability to use all forces effectively (economy of force), and the concentration of superior force at a critical point (mass). Maneuver consists of the various ways in which troops can be deployed and moved to obtain offensive, mass, and surprise. A famous example that illustrates most of these principles occurred during World War II when the Allied forces eventually agreed on the objective of defeating Germany first with a direct offensive against the European continent. Under a combined command headed by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, they effectively massed their forces in England, deceived Germany regarding the point of invasion, collected intelligence on the disposition of German forces, and set the vast maneuver called Operation Overlord into motion.

    Unthinking rigid attention to a principle of war, however, can be unfortunate. In the face of two Japanese naval forces, Adm. William Halsey's decision at the Battle of Leyte Gulf not to divide the fleet (the principle of mass) led to the pitting of the entire enormous American naval force against a decoy Japanese fleet. Division of the fleet (maneuver) would still have left Halsey superior to both Japanese forces.

    Strategic and Tactical Maneuvers
    Classification of actual military types of maneuvers and their variations have long been a part of military science. New technology and weapons have not drastically altered some of the classical types of offensive maneuver: penetration, envelopment, defensive-offensive maneuvers, and turning movements.

    The penetration &mdash one of the oldest maneuvers &mdash is a main attack that attempts to pierce the enemy line while secondary attacks up and down the enemy line prevent the freeing of the enemy reserves. A favorite maneuver of the Duke of Marlborough (early 18th century), it was also used by Gen. Bernard Montgomery at El Alamein (1942).

    The envelopment is a maneuver in which a secondary attack attempts to hold the enemy's center while one (single envelopment) or both flanks (double envelopment) of the enemy are attacked or overlapped in a push to the enemy's rear in order to threaten the enemy's communications and line of retreat. This forces the enemy to fight in several directions and possibly be destroyed in position. New variations include vertical envelopments ( airborne troops or airmobile troops) and amphibious envelopments. Noted single envelopments were accomplished by Alexander the Great at Arbela (or Gaugamela, 331 BC), Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville (1863), and Erwin Rommel at Gazala (1942 leading to the capture of Tobruk) famous double envelopments include those of Hannibal at the Battle of Cannae (216 BC), the American Revolution War Battle of Cowpens (1781), and the destruction of the 7th German Army at the Falaise Gap (1944).

    Defensive-offensive maneuvers include attack from a strong defensive position after the attacking enemy has been sapped in strength, as in two battles of the Hundred Years' War, the Battle of Crécy (1346) and the Battle of Agincourt (1415), or feigned withdrawals that attempt to lure the enemy out of position as performed by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings (1066) and by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz (1805).

    Turning maneuvers are indirect approaches that attempt to swing wide around an enemy's flank to so threaten an enemy's supply and communication lines that the enemy is forced to abandon a strong position or be cut off and encircled. Napoleon was a master of the turning movement, using it many times between 1796 and 1812. Robert E. Lee used the maneuver at the Second Battle of Bull Run (1862) the German drive to the French coast in 1940 was another example.

    The Historical and Theoretical Development of Strategy and Tactics
    The historical roots of strategy and tactics date back to the origins of human warfare and the development of large-scale government and empire. The dense tactical infantry formation of overlapping shields called the phalanx, for example, existed in an early form in ancient Sumer (c.3000 BC). The development of strategy and tactics parallels to some extent the growth, spread, and clash of civilizations technological discoveries and refinements and the evolution of modern state power, ideology, and nationalism.

    Early Strategy and Tactics. The Mediterranean basin saw the dawn of modern military strategy and tactics. It was under such leaders as Philip II (382&ndash336 BC) and Alexander the Great (356&ndash323 BC) of Macedonia and Hannibal (247&ndash183 BC) of Carthage that the first great strides were made in military science. Philip combined infantry, cavalry, and primitive artillery into a trained, organized, and maneuverable fighting force backed up by engineers and a rudimentary signaling system. His son Alexander became an accomplished strategist and tactician with his concern for planning, keeping open lines of communication and supply, security, relentless pursuit of foes, and the use of surprise. Hannibal was a supreme tactician whose crushing victories taught the Romans that the flexible attack tactics of their legions needed to be supplemented by unity of command and an improved cavalry. The Romans eventually replaced their citizen-soldiers with a paid professional army whose training, equipment, skill at fortification, road building, and siege warfare became legendary. The Byzantine emperors studied Roman strategy and tactics and wrote some of the first essays on the subject.

    The Middle Ages saw a decline in the study and application of strategy &mdash with the exception of the great Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan. Medieval tactics began with an emphasis on defensive fortifications, siegecraft, and armored cavalry. The introduction, however, of such new developments as the crossbow, longbow, halberd, pike, and, above all, gunpowder began to revolutionize the conduct of war.

    The Emergence of Modern Warfare. Gustav II Adolf, king of Sweden (r. 1611-32), has been called the father of modern tactics because he reintroduced maneuver into military science. His disciplined national standing army &mdash differing from the common use of mercenaries &mdash was organized into small, mobile units armed with highly superior, maneuverable firepower and supplemented by mounted dragoons (his creation) armed with carbine and saber. Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia (r. 1740-86), the master of initiative and mass, conducted war in an age of limited warfare &mdash armies were small and expensive road and supply systems were inadequate. In the Seven Years' War (1756-63), Frederick faced a coalition whose various forces almost surrounded Prussia. Using a strategy of interior lines, Frederick &mdash supported by a highly disciplined army and horse artillery (his creation) &mdash would quickly maneuver, assemble a superior force at some decisive point along the line of encirclement, and, with massed howitzer fire, strike hard against an enemy flank before moving to another point.

    With Napoleon I, however, the age of modern warfare was born. The French Revolution had produced a mass patriot army organized into loose divisional formations. Napoleon carefully planned his campaigns and quickly maneuvered his troops by forced marches to a selected field of battle. His battles began with skirmishing and cannonading, followed by an overwhelming concentration of forces in shock bayonet attacks against enemy flanks in turning and enveloping movements designed to utterly destroy opposing forces. Because of the greater complexities of warfare, a rudimentary general staff began to emerge under Napoleon.

    The 19th Century: Theory and Technological Change. Napoleonic strategy and tactics were closely studied by the first great theorists of war, the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz (1780&ndash1831) and the French general Antoine Jomini (1779&ndash1869). Clausewitz's On War (1832&ndash34 Eng. trans., 1908) emphasized the close relationship between war and national policy and the importance of the principles of mass, economy of force, and the destruction of enemy forces. Jomini, on the other hand, emphasized occupying enemy territory through carefully planned, rapid, and precise geometric maneuvers. Whereas Jomini's theories had influence in France and North America, Clausewitz's teachings in particular were influential on the great Prussian military strategists of the 19th century, Helmuth von Moltke &mdash architect of victory in the Franco-Prussian War (1870) &mdash and Alfred von Schlieffen &mdash creator of the Schlieffen plan (defense against Russia and envelopment of France), which Germany applied in a modified form at the beginning of World War I.

    The 19th century was an era of far-reaching technological change that vastly altered the scope of tactics and strategy, an alteration seen in what has been called the first total war, the U.S. Civil War. Railroads and steamships increased the volume, reach, and speed of mobilization and of conscription. The consistent support of war industry became critical. The growth in range and accuracy of rifle firepower created new tactical problems: artillery had to be placed farther behind the lines, massed charges became ineffective if not disastrous, cavalry became limited to reconnaissance and skirmish, and troops began to fight from trenches and use grenades and land mines. Telegraph communications linked widening theaters of war and made large-scale strategy and tactics possible. During the U.S. Civil War the large-scale strategy of the North ( blockade, division of the Confederacy, destruction of the Confederate armies and supplies) backed by superior industry and manpower were the key factors in its victory. The development of the machine gun late in the 19th century would have its most telling effect in World War I.

    World Wars: Trench Tactics to Nuclear Strategy. World War I began with immense, rapid, national mobilizations and classical offensive maneuvers, but after mutual attempts at envelopment at and after the Battle of the Marne, stationary trench warfare ensued across a wide battlefront. A war of attrition set in that called for total national involvement in the war effort. Two key technological developments in the war were to fashion the strategic and tactical debates of the 1920s and 1930s. The use of airpower was advocated by such theorists as Giulio Douhet (1869&ndash1930), Billy Mitchell, Henry ("Hap") Arnold, and Hugh Trenchard (1873&ndash1956). They insisted that airpower alone could win wars, not only by striking at enemy forces but by strategic bombing &mdashthe massive attack on cities, industries, and lines of communication and supply that characterized part of Allied strategy during World War II. The other World War I development was that of motorized armored vehicles such as the tank. The use of the tank as the new cavalry of the modern age was advocated by B. H. Liddell Hart, Charles de Gaulle, and J. F. C. Fuller (1878&ndash1966) in the interwar period. The Germans were the first to effectively use the tactical offensive combination of air and tank power in the field of battle in the blitzkriegs, under such commanders as Heinz Guderian and Erwin Rommel, which conquered much of Europe in World War II.

    The primary tactical advance in World War II may have been that of amphibious warfare. The principal significance of that war, however, was in the first application of truly global strategies wielded by massive coalitions dedicated once again to the offensive. The development of nuclear weapons, which continued after the war, introduced the new science of nuclear strategy and tactics. The immense destructive nature of these weapons, however, meant that warfare of limited strategic goals, using conventional tactics and conventional but technologically advanced weapons, would predominate in the "limited" wars that followed World War II. The very need to keep wars limited has produced a new strategic form: the small, mobile special forces, armed with light but sophisticated weapons and trained in guerrilla tactics, that can be rapidly deployed and as rapidly withdrawn from hostile territory.


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