The Use of Technology During World War 1

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Technical Warfare: Discuss the impact that the Industrial Revolution had on the course of World War 1. How did the use of new technologies during World War 1 influence the war? Which sides benefited the most from the technologies? Which technologies were the most important?

Technology during World War One reflected the trend toward industrialism and the application of mass production methods to weapons and to the technology of warfare in general. “The Industrial Revolution gave armies and complex railway systems to create the ability of bringing masses of men, equipment and ammunition to the rear of the battlefield.” (Beaumont, J, 1995) Development of rapid-firing guns (machine guns and artillery) had given defending forces immeasurable advantages over those who were attacking, by making it more difficult to survive on top of the ground. Stalemate was the result of a number of developments in military technology in the late 19th century and reflected the fact that the WW1 occurred ‘at a very particular period in history in military technology and transport.’ (Kennedy, P 2012) Success in the war was partly because of the advanced technologies in weaponry and communications. Certain technologies were crucial to the way the war was fought. These advances include communication and railway systems. Poison gas also played an important role during World War One.

Communication was essential on the battlefield. If there was a communication malfunction, then the results could be fatal. Units at the front line needed to know where their enemy troops were, while the commanders working behind the lines could only control their men if they had a reliable source of information. Communication included some of the most up-to-date technology of the time while others dated back in history. One of the forms of communication was telephones. Telephones allowed different parts of the battlefield to communicate with each other. Long wires were used to link the telephones. The...
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