War in the medieval era, as detailed in historic literature, was predominantly characterized by inferior weapons and terrestrial combat. However, in the wake of the industrial revolution which was pigeonholed by top-notch perfection, mechanization, and process automation, warfare embraced a more lethal but safe approach for the defendants and assailants respectively. To this end, more sophisticated weapons were invented with a rather scientific war methodology being assumed while approaching enemy lines. More precisely, advanced mechanization skills and consequently manufacturing of enormous war ships as well as submarines made it possible for countries that do not share terrestrial borders to engage in warfare. This trend was upheld by the high costs of building planes and their small capacities. In this respect, the industrial revolution affected naval warfare by augmenting military strength particularly through devising new techniques of manufacturing sophisticated naval equipment and weapons.
Naval forces were sanctioned for several reasons. First, ships and submarines were more tolerant to attacks and could cover vast distances. Second, according to Rosenberg and Trajtenberg (2004), naval equipment had the capacity to carry and store huge weapons over long distances towards the enemy line. As a result, they were more preferred relative to planes. Equally important, the shift to naval warfare was supported by economic motives as well as fault tolerance. All in all, naval warfare gave a better ground for assailants to win an edge over their enemies in the 19th Century. Unlike terrestrial and the air force, naval warfare was equally safe as it registered less casualties. This was particularly true since the ships could attack from a distance and move back to dock in friendly waters.
Industrial techniques today are far advanced involving not only mechanics but also chemicals and energy. As such, energy-based, chemical-based, as well as mechanical-based weapons can be produced respectively. For instance, using these techniques nuclear, atomic, semi-automatic and rifles, computer based submarines, biological weapons such as poisonous gases, and long-range riffles could be produced. Moreover, the introduction of computing technology has made it possible to produce drones and other remotely operated weapons. Notably, as detailed by Corrick (1998), establishment of effective production lines has made it possible to mass produce any weapon. Nonetheless, mass production of any weapon is often met by strict sanctioning protocols that control global armament. Or, more plausibly, there exist international regulations into mass weapon production that aims at controlling states aggressive acts. Put differently, these regulations control a countrys military strength.
Pronounced Europes military strength primarily triggered the rush for armament. According to Addington (1994), Europes powerful military caused other nations to panic and fear for the worse in case a war breaks out. The fear to lose in the event that a war breaks out coupled with its economic consequences forced other nations to be allied with Europe, while others withdrew to form their own military alliances. To this end, nations that ended up building a positive relation with Europe feared there economic resources could not support reliable armament and protection of their borders. On the other hand, nations that ended up falling out with Europe had the resources to protect their boundaries by funding their military expeditions.
In a nutshell, the industrial revolution altered the approach to war by empowering naval warfare. Through the innovation of techniques to manufacture war ships and equip them with weapons, it became safer and economically justifiable to engage in naval warfare. In this respect, industrial techniques have advanced and currently support production of an array of weapons. Markedly, as discussed above, Europes military strength led to development of positive and negative relations alike.
Addington, Larry H. Patterns of War since the 18th Century. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.
Corrick, James A. The Industrial Revolution. San Diego: Lucent Books, 1998.
Rosenberg, Nathan and Manuel Trajtenberg. 2004. A General Purpose Technology at Work: The Corliss Steam Engine in the Late 19th-Century U.S." Journal of Economic History 64(1):61-99.
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