How New Technology Changed the Nature of Warfare from 1845 to 1991

Topics: World War II, World War I, Cold War Pages: 4 (1786 words) Published: April 24, 2015
“Assess the significance of the deployment of new technology in influencing the nature of warfare in the years 1845-1991” In order to determine the effect that technological advances had on the nature of warfare within this 146 year period, it is necessary to break down the definition of the “nature” of warfare. The nature of warfare is understood to mean the way in which war is fought. Furthermore, one must also consider the non-technological factors that affected the nature of warfare, and the ways in which wars were fought as a result of their impact. For example, factors such as leadership and tactics have been known to significantly affect the nature of warfare. In evaluating the importance of these factors in comparison to that of technological advances it will be possible to make a sustained analysis. During the 19th Century, key technological, both military and non-military developments were made. These included artillery, rifles and communications. It is apparent that these advances significantly affected the nature of warfare. For example, whereas formerly soldiers had been required to fight at close quarters, the development of guns such as the Needle Rifle in the Crimean War allowed soldiers to fire from larger distances whilst simultaneously shielding themselves, benefiting defence. Furthermore, the fact that the Needle Rifle was able to fire 5 times faster than previous guns made open attack suicidal. As well as leading to revolutionary changes on the battle field, the dominance of defensive weaponry prolonged wars but made them less exhaustive. How important new technology can be determining the outcome of battles is evident for example, the development of the Maxim machine gun proved vital in the Battle of Omdurman, where the use of it resulted in the death of 11,000 Sudanese, and the victory of Britain.1 Furthermore, the development of an effective transport system in the Crimean war empowered the British to transport abundant numbers of troops...
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