When compared to earlier conflicts, no war whose impact on the technologies of peoples current lives was as profound as the Second World War. Also, no war was as adversely affected by science and technology as this war. During this conflict, persistent advancements in technology were necessary in order for combatants to attain an upper hand over the enemy. While advances in technology were made before the fighting actually began, other developments directly resulted from the trials and errors observed during combat. The wars era was associated with a lot of changes in areas such as weaponry, communication and intelligence, logistical support, and medicine. This essay looks at how improved techniques of warfare during World War II were as a result of accelerated advances in science and technology.
A huge part of the technology that people of today take for granted was developed during World War II, and went a long way in shaping the modern world. The truth is that the conflict changed everything while also ushering in a new age of technology. The war continues to have an effect on the way people live, and in more ways than would normally be expected. So many of the seemingly modern inventions and subsequent ways of life directly originated from the conflict. Although it was a terrible period in which the worst human atrocities were committed, it pushed for and led to development of technology and inventions at an unprecedented rate.
While the technological advancements and inventions made during this conflict cannot justify the huge number of lives lost, the second world war totally shaped the technological world that we currently live in. had it not occurred, humans would not have access to the wide variety of technology applied on a day-to-day basis. With battles taking place in virtually all corners of the world, the stakes were extremely high. Hence, governments of the nations participating in the war invested colossal amounts of funds into research and development of any technology that would give them a combat advantage. The conflict saw various projects being given the green light that would not have gotten off the ground in times of peace. Also, it spurred people to think in a different manner as they came up with inventions that would simply not have taken place at a similar pace when there was no war. The main aim of research at the time may have been to find more effective ways of destroying enemies. All in all, some of the inventions turned out to be just as effective when it came to improving lives.
Several new scientific principles and inventions emerged in the course of the Second World War. Notable ones involve advances in rocket science pioneered by Nazi Germany. For example, the V-1, also referred as a buzz bomb was an automatic aircraft that is nowadays called a cruise missile. On the other hand, the V-2 was a ballistic missile that, when fired, flew into space before turning around and falling onto its target. The V-1 and V-2 were fired multiple times in London between 1944 and 1945, killing civilians by their thousands. The scientists that designed these weapons for Germany were taken to the United States after the war ended and settled in Alabama. Under the leadership of Wernher von Braun, they helped design the rockets that were used by American astronauts to go to space and eventually land on the moon.
The British developed electronic computers that were used to decode the Nazi enigma codes, while the Americans designed devices that calculated battlefield equations such as ballistics. Numerous miniature computers ranging from mechanical trajectory calculators, to handheld calculating tables made using cardboard, as well as the earliest electronic digital computers were extensively used. They could be found everywhere from servicemens pockets to spacious Command & Control Centers. In addition, early control centers located in aircrafts and ships pioneered the interactive, networked computing that is part and parcel of day-to-day life nowadays.
The radar technology, which utilizes radio waves to detect and locate objects from a distance, was not that well known at the start of the Second World War. However, within a period of a few years, it become highly developed at sites such as the Radiation Laboratory located at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This technology made it possible to remotely observe incoming aircrafts from rather long distances, thus making the surprise attack strategy virtually ineffective. It also significantly broadened the arena of modern aerial warfare considering that the radars of today can detect aircrafts from thousands of miles away. Radar technology allowed warring countries to detect incoming air attacks, direct anti-aircraft missiles to planes flying high above, and guiding bombers to their respective targets. In addition to designing the radars, researchers also came up with countermeasures. While conducting bombing raids, bombers belonging to the Allies would drop thousands of small tinfoil strips to jam the Axis radar.
In conclusion, it can be seen that the Second World War was the earliest high tech conflict, meaning that it utilized new technologies specifically invented for the war. The inventions and technological advances made during the war had lasting effects in that they set the stage for the innovations enjoyed by people today. The conflict also heralded a situation in which a nation seeks the talents of its researchers and scientists to assist in solving national problems.
Green, William. Famous Fighters Of The Second World War, Volume One. Pickle Partners Publishing, 2016.
Iriye, Akira. The origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific. Routledge, 2014.
Murray, Williamson, and Allan Reed Millett. A war to be won: Fighting the Second World War. Harvard University Press, 2009.
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