Describe Three Ways In Which Technology Affected The War

Describe three ways in which technology affected WW I.

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davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The development of new technology had a dramatic impact on both the conduct of World War I and its effects. Innovations in a number of fields, such as chemistry, ballistics, metallurgy, and engineering, changed the face of conflict, making it much harder for either side to achieve the kind of knock-out victory that had been such an important feature of traditional warfare.

Chemical warfare was a frightening new development that employed the very latest technology. The effect of poison gas upon its victims was horrific, causing immense physical and psychological suffering. Though initially used by the Germans, the Allies soon followed suit. Both sides realized that troops wearing gas masks were much less effective on the field of battle.

Developments in artillery enabled both sides to engage in full-scale bombardment of long-distance targets. Artillery shells had a devastating effect, not just in terms of loss of life, but also on the natural environment, with huge ugly craters pockmarking the landscape.

The machine-gun, more than any other weapon, contributed to the mechanized slaughter that was such a major feature of World War I. The Germans readily exploited the invention of the American innovator Hiram Maxim for military use. The new machine guns were lighter and much easier to move, making them relatively easy to deploy on the battlefield. But what was gained in efficiency was lost in terms of human life. Over 60,000 British soldiers were killed or wounded on a single day at the Somme, systematically mown down by German machine-guns. This tragic loss of life demonstrated once more the danger of combining the latest technological developments with outdated military tactics.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Technology extended the period of the war because no side had the ability to advance without incurring heavy losses. World War 1 had introduced weapons that had not been handled before in large-scale warfare. Frontal attacks in open fields were out of the question, and Generals had to devise new strategies to fight the enemy.

The situation forced armies to dig out trenches, and the war was fought with the aim of taking over the enemy’s trenches, which was almost impossible without serious losses.

Technology introduced deadly weapons that had the capacity to decimate entire groups of soldiers in a single attack. For instance, biological warfare waged using toxic gasses and bombs dropped from the air also had the ability to take out entire cities.

Armed planes and ships allowed the war to be waged in air, water and on land simultaneously.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Technology affected WWI in a number of ways.  First, it caused trench warfare.  Then it made that warfare worse.  Finally, it helped to break the stalemate.

Technology helped cause trench warfare because it made defensive war way more effective than offense.  The machine gun is the important technological advance in this case.

Technology made the fighting worse.  This is especially true of the poison gas that was used during the trench warfare.

Finally, technology helped end the stalemate.  It was tanks that played this role.  They were able to help break through the trench lines and this helped end the war.

krishna-agrawala | Student

World War I was not particularly notable for use of technology.

Perhaps the greatest technological development which had major impact on World War I was the development and use of Submarines in the form of U-Boats. This technology made ships of all kinds highly vulnerable to enemy attack.

Another major technological development having impact on World War I was the increased use of oil operated equipments.

Use of Aeroplanes in the war was also a new development during World War I. Because of this there were considerable developments in aviation technology. However the net impact of airborne warfare during world War I was limited.

The trench warfare, which is a very prominent feature of World War I. was not really much of a technological innovation. Besides, it proved to be quite ineffective even as a strategy for warfare. It resulted in stalemate rather than decisive victory for any one side.

Similarly use of poison gas or the measures taken for protection from it do not represent much of technological advances.

shurtugal | Student

World War I