Is technology a catalyst for change?
Technology is always changing and improving. Change is always improving technology. It forms a cycle.
Throughout all history inventions and technology improves nations and the world in general. New inventions are constantly being made. During the early nineteenth century historians say that it was a time of great changes and advances in history. This is predominately observed during World War I. There were many advances in weapon technology, new and creative ways to slaughter that were faster and more efficient than the prior ways.
These new ways and inventions changed war forever. Therefore technology is indeed a catalyst for change. World War I was fought between the Triple Alliance; Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy and the Triple Entente; France, Great Britain, and Russia. The war was fought between the years 1914 and 1918. Later in the war, when more countries joined each side, the Triple Alliance became recognized as the Central Powers and the Triple Entente became known as the Allied Powers. (Lacey, Notes on WWI) Russia later dropped out of the war with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk to deal with their own civil war.
The main causes of World War I were imperialism, nationalism, militarism, and some countries having secret alliances with other countries. Also, countries making conniving plans and attempting to invade one another such as with the Schlieffen Plan with Germany, Belgium, and France. (Lacey, Notes on WWI) With the addition of the United States to the Allied Powers in 1917, the Allied Powers soon defeated the Central Powers. Shortly after the war Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles, which stated that Germany was the cause of the war and must take full blame including reparations, the destruction of their military, confiscation of their arms, and loosing part of their territory. (Lacey, Notes on WWI) In the beginning of World War I, both sides had new and improved weapons to fight with and use but they still used the old tactics of war to fight with.
Many times they would use frontal attacks which wasn’t a logical tactic to use against the new weapons that had been invented. Many of the weapons were machine based. This advancement of machine based weapons lead to faster killing and more deaths. An example of such killing machines would be the machine gun, able to fire ten times more bullets, much more quickly, than a man with a rifle. (Lacey, World War I notes) Another advancement in technology was the use of rifling.
Before there was rifling a bullet would simply discharge out of the barrel of the gun and fly virtually anywhere it wanted to, the bullet would rarely fly straight, missing its target, therefore being inefficient. With the use of rifling the bullet would fly straight more times, so it had better chances of killing the target and it was more efficient in its shooting. Rifling a gun involved carving spiral groves all the way up the barrel. When the bullet was fired from the gun the bullet would travel along these groves which caused the bullet to fly straight. This advancement led to the death of many more soldiers with its efficiency. (Lacey, notes on World War I) During the war many new weapons and machines were created or invented that caused many men extreme pain, trauma, and death.
One of the most popular weapons was the machine gun. The guns effectiveness reached alarming results when these guns could fire 600 bullets in one minute. (Lacey, notes on World War I) Artillery was considered upgraded versions of cannons. The Germans developed the biggest artillery, it was called Big Bertha. Big Bertha was capable of firing into Paris from 120 kilometers away.
(Lacey, notes on World War I) Tanks also advanced and were improved in many different ways. At first, tanks were simply huge blocks of metal that could only carry around one or two soldiers at a time and could only travel five kilometers per hour. Scientists worked very hard to improve these tanks and by 1918, the Anglo-American Mark Eight could carry eight men, and fire 208 shells and 13,000 bullets. Rolls Royce also joined in the development of tanks and came up with its version of an armored car which could travel at the speed of 88 kilometers per hour and had 8mm machine guns. (www.
historyking.com) Planes were new types of weapons as a result of advancement in technology dealing with aviation warfare. Although air warfare was not considered important during this time period, mini scout planes were often used. One of the most painful weapons that was used was gas. Gas was the Germans secret weapon until the other countries caught on and copied them. There were main types of gas that were used.
One was chlorine gas, which destroyed the respiratory system of its victims. This led to a slow painful death by asphyxiation. (www.historyking.com ) The other gas, mustard gas, or Dichlorethylsulphide, was the most dreaded of all the chemical weapons in World War I. Unlike the other gasses which attacked the respiratory system, this gas acted on the exposed moist skin of its victims.
This included the eyes, lungs, armpits, and groin. Those are only some of the parts it affected. The oily substance would produce large burn-like blisters wherever it came into contact with skin. The only defenses against these gases were gas masks, which only protected the inside of your body and face. Sometimes, however, this masks offered very little protection from these intoxicating weapons. (www.
historyking.com) Throughout World War I the technology of weapons were always changing, growing, and becoming more destructive. Some of the technology created during World War I is still in use today, used in modern combat such as the machine gun or the use of planes. Technology is always changing and will continue to change and change the things and people around it throughout the rest of history. Bibliography Lacey, Laura.
“World War I Notes.” (2011). “World War One Weapons.” History, American History, World History, Music History, Art History, Biography, Ancient Greece History, Mthology, World War. Web.
29 Mar. 2011. ;http://www.historyking.com/World-War/World-War-One-Weapons.html;.