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Weapons and Their Consequences. Volti Chapter 13. Weapons and Their Consequences. Some of our technology has led to human destruction rather than human progress. Military Technology in the Ancient World. Many technological changes were inspired toward martial purposes

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weapons and their consequences2
Weapons and Their Consequences
  • Some of our technology has led to human destruction rather than human progress
military technology in the ancient world
Military Technology in the Ancient World
  • Many technological changes were inspired toward martial purposes
  • Metals used to make weapons
  • First weapons - stones, clubs; then bow and arrow
  • Horse and Chariot - effective, but not entirely
    • Horses had to be fed - often hard to do because of limited food
  • Foot Soldier - carried sword and protected by shield
  • Catapults were another weapon
military technology and the feudal order
Military Technology and the Feudal Order
  • Military technology made few advances in the centuries following the fall of Rome
  • Sixth Century - new technology - the stirrup - not a weapon but made existing weapons more effective
    • Fixed warrior firmly to his horse thus giving him more fighting capacity
  • Feudal system in, by nature, decentralized – the fighting was decentralized as well. Knights fought for individual honor and not necessarily for a formal regime
  • Horse mounted knight was a symbol of nobility - from this, a culture of chivalry emerged.
  • Chivalry - chaval (french - horse)
new weapons and the decline of feudalism
New Weapons and The Decline of Feudalism
  • Knightly combat began to disintegrate when new technology emerged
  • 14th century - the pike (19 feet long, used by Swiss) used to break up knight assaults
  • Swiss Pikemen became the most feared soldiers in Europe
  • Longbow (used by Welsh) used to attack knights from afar. Could drive an arrow through several inches of oak
  • Crossbow also used to challenge knight (crank and ratchet assembly to draw arrow) - cumbersome to reload
  • Knight had to use heavier armor to withstand attack - this led to decrease mobility
  • Castles - was a fortress of security
  • Trebuchet - weapon. A long arm unequally balanced on a fulcrum. One end held projectile, the other was weighted down. When catch was released, projectile flew.
the gunpowder revolution
The Gunpowder Revolution
  • The use of gunpowder sealed the fate of feudal weaponry
  • Fire was also used as a weapon. Perhaps it was the most terrifying of weapons
  • The invention of gunpowder transformed the nature of warfare
  • Gunpowder - originated in the east, China. Used medicinally
  • Introduced in Europe, 14th century
  • Initially, gunpowder used to fire canons - very ineffective. Trebuchet worked better
  • Artillery appeared in 1453 (Moslem attackers successfully used cannon to knock down Constantinople)
  • Iron and bronze gun barrels were developed. Technology improved considerably
  • First guns had many shortcomings, but by the 16th century became an indispensable component to warfare
  • Also, the way soldiers fought underwent a transformation
    • Soldier began to battle in rows - fire weapon then retreat to back row
    • Also, soldiers had to know how to use the weapons in order for them to be effective
    • Many soldiers buckled under the pressure of battle
    • Generals had to institute rigid battle procedures
war and the centralized state
War and the Centralized State
  • Artillery and firearms expanded the scope of warfare
  • New forms of warfare greatly increased the cost of military operations
  • Soldiers had to be trained to use equipment - this required standardization
  • As standardization in government became more evident so did the standardization of weaponry
  • Standardization of weaponry was not an easy process. In fact, little change occurred in 18th and 19th centuries
  • Changing weapons involves a change in a host of other structures
  • A new cannon will require new cannonballs, auxiliary devices, and retraining
  • Soldiers often resistant to change, especially regarding something as dangerous as warfare
  • New developments often have glitches and that is last thing you want when someone Is pointing a cannon at your castle!!!!
  • Changes were made however
  • Development of breech loading weapons made loading quicker
  • New gun powders were developed that were smokeless - so a soldier did not give away his position when he fired
technological change and the naval culture in the era of the battleship
Technological Change and the Naval Culture In the Era of the Battleship
  • Steam powered ships soon became equipped with cannons - this revolutionized naval battle
  • Previous method of naval battle - ram opposing ship, board vessel, overtake crew through traditional combat
  • New method - disable or sink ship through use of cannon fire
  • Also, ships can transport weapons - profit
  • The mechanization of navy ships indelibly changed the culture of the navy
  • Navy had tradition that was reduced to rote procedures when technology was introduced
weapons and the modern world
Weapons and The Modern World
  • Conduct of war began to change dramatically
  • Technological superiority of Western Europe clearly evidenced in the Opium Wars (1839-1842)
  • Cannons of British gunboats battered down Chinese fortresses
  • By second half of 19th century, military gap between Europe and rest of world grew larger
  • The most effective weapon of European Imperial advance was the machine gun. Came into being during the colonial wars of late 19th and 20th centuries. Europeans arrogantly thought gun could be used only against "lesser breeds" of man
  • Europeans realized (especially during WWI) that the machine gun transformed warfare - often with horrific repercussions (England lost 60,000 men during the first day of the Battle of the Somme)
weapons and the modern world10
Weapons and The Modern World
  • Submarine transformed navies the way machine gun transformed armies
  • Firing torpedoes under water broke all traditional rules of naval battle tradition - let prisoners board ship before sinking enemy. Not so with subs
  • Airplane - wreaked havoc on civilian population
  • Even before A-Bomb - bombers killed several hundred thousand during WWII
  • A single air raid on Berlin killed more than 25,000
  • Despite bombings in WWII - civilian morale never broke down, and analysis shows that bombings did not play a decisive role in winning the war

"Bombing…produced much smaller military results than had been expected"

weapons and the modern world11
Weapons and The Modern World
  • Nuclear War has proportions of which all other wars combined pale in comparison
  • One-megaton bomb can dig a 1,000 ft. wide crater to a depth of 200 feet
  • "The terrifying power of modern weaponry has eliminated completely the distinction between soldier and civilian that already began to break down early in the 20th century."
  • Advanced military technology has opened the psychological distance between the warrior and his victims
  • Battle is much more impersonal

"You press a button and death flies down…How can there be writhing, mangled bodies? How can this air around you be filled with unseen projectiles? It is like listening to a radio account of a battle on the other side of the earth. It is too far away, too separated to hold reality…. In modern war one kills at distance, and in so doing he does not realize that he is killing."

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