Midterm Paper

Midterm Paper - Steve Shaffer Porter, T.M. / De...

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Steve Shaffer Porter, T.M. / De Chardarevian, S. History 3C (1D) 29 October 2007 The New Standard of Warfare “The pursuit of science.” The phrase alone carries very noble connotations. The image is of learned, aged men in laboratories with test tubes and publications in scientific journals. In sharp contrast, the word “war” carries with it dreadful connotations. The image is of dirt- covered, ragged men in trenches with machine guns and bodies strewn about the floor. It’s easy to see why the two notions are so often separated in our minds. And indeed, for years the focus of the two was in completely different directions. But after the turn of the twentieth century, with the emergence of a new type of war, the “World War,” the two notions of science and war became permanently intertwined. The most notable of this evolution of the “science of war” occurred in the United States and Britain throughout both the World Wars and most especially in the Second World War. World War I did not begin with a heavy reliance on science. For example, the Battle of the Frontiers, one of the first battles fought after the assassination for archduke Franz Ferdinand (“WWI Timeline”), was mostly fought with traditional tactics, although the Germans did use some machine guns (Duffy). Though these early machine guns were not the well-oiled killing machines used in the latter part of the war. They were very prone to overheating and were usually fired in bursts rather than in a steady stream (Duffy). Later in the war however, scientists “played a huge part in chemical synthesis for explosives, poison gas, aeronautics and much more” (“Science in War”). Science created the
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Shaffer 2 machine guns that led to the necessity for trench warfare. Trench warfare turned World War I into a “war of attrition,” which made necessary a scientific approach to managing countries’ economies. The stalemates encountered in trench warfare also brought about scientific advancements in the area of poison gas. In fact after the war, many of the chemists resisted demobilization of the Chemical Warfare Service, emphasizing its usefulness in future wars and the peacetime uses such as pesticides and tear gas. However, World War I was not the defining war that brought science into war and rooted it as deeply as it’s rooted today. Scientists were not actively recruited for scientific war efforts, battles were still fought in a “military” manner, rather than the “scientific” manner in which they’re fought today, and there was no strong link between scientists and military personnel. Nonetheless, World War I greatly changed the way people thought about war and the role of
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Midterm Paper - Steve Shaffer Porter, T.M. / De...

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