How New Warfare Technologies Introduced In The Ww1 Changed History
The face of military combat was changed when new technology was invented. Clubs, javelinas, crossbows and swords were once the technology used in combat, but once the Great War began, counties were not messing around with their weapons of choice.
Some time ago firing shots in a line was acceptable, but once the machine gun was introduced, that tactic was no longer beneficial. Army tanks could now take soldiers across areas much more safely and efficiently than on foot, and were also capable of carrying large amounts of artillery. The use and making of new technology changed the fate of countries during World War One.
When World War One had begun, machine guns had already existed, but would eventually undergo a huge change. According to Britanica, large machine guns were being used by the British, who called it the Maxim gun, and the Americans used the Gatling Gun. To make warfare easier though, machine guns underwent a major change of becoming smaller to be operated by fewer people, but also have more firepower at the same time. The design of making the guns smaller meant quicker and easier maneuvering for the people in charge of handling. Air-cooled machine guns were also made to be put into aircrafts.
The machine gun made it much easier to kill massive amounts of people who did not have much to defend themselves. Because of how deadly these guns became, many militaries turned to Trench Warfare. Trench warfare was not a new concept either, but became more popularized during the first World War to try and keep soldiers more hidden. What actually changed trench warfare was the making and use of poisouness gasses such as mustard and chlorine. This shows that the new machine gun of the time was nearly inescapable while being out in the open.
Aircrafts were a new technology to war which were made out of materials such as wood, wire, and canvas. First, airplanes were used to see what enemy troops were doing. Once military officers began to realize how effective the planes actually were, artillery was added to the planes. Germany is probably the most famous for their tactics and the first ones to introduce firearms into the sky. Shortly after Germany, the Allies added guns into their planes, and pilots had a much riskier job. Fighter planes would be used in air battles called dogfights which were very deadly. Francesco Baracca, Italy’s most successful fighting ace of World War One, once said, “To the aircraft I aim, not the man.” Many of these fights would end in the planes getting their propellers shot off, falling, and the pilots being forced to go down in the plane, as no one was given parachutes. Germany also would eventually release bombs on cities in France and Britain. This caused the British to retaliate back by dropping bombs on German cities.
The use of tanks was actually introduced during World War One, which is interesting, because they had never been used before. The first battle that tanks were used in was the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. Forty-one tanks were taken by the British. Tanks could only move at four miles per hour, though making them seem unreliable, but were effective because it helped slowly bring the standstill of trench warfare to an end.
Only being able to fit two soldiers inside, tanks were able to withstand machine guns, bombardment, and could also run over the barbed wire that was placed at the front of trenches. The historian, Christopher Woolf, paints a picture with his words, “Just imagine being a German soldier that day […] You think you’ve seen every terror war can offer […]Then from off in the distance comes rumbling a giant machine, rolling over craters and ditches and crushing through the barbed wire obstacles that have stopped so many infantry attacks before.”
All of these new and improved technologies seemed like a big help, but all in all lengthened the warfare due to the machine gun causing trench warfare. Also, these new weapons caused mass destruction. If you compare World War One to other battles or wars before its time then the others look amateur compared to the Great War.
It is stated in Peter Lang’s book, Towards a History of Consciousness: Space, Time, and Death, that “Killing became a less personal act, more mechanical, undermining the psychological consequences for many.” That quote hugly capitalizes on the effects that new technologies had on people instead of the war. Yes, the production of new weapons helped majorly change the way World War One was fought but it was for better or for worse.
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