How did technology affect the way WWI was fought?  

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Technology affected the way that World War I was fought because it pretty much caused the infamous trench warfare to happen.

The machine gun, especially, made it very easy for defenders to kill large numbers of soldiers who were attacking them.  As long as the defenders were dug in, the machine guns could slaughter advancing soldiers.  At this time, there was nothing that could really allow the offense to maneuver easily around dug in defenses.

So, the machine gun caused defensive, trench warfare to be necessary.  Sadly, the generals still tried to launch attacks and that is why so many people were killed in this war.

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pholland14 | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The improvement of the machine gun made it nearly impossible to conduct a successful frontal charge on a position.  The machine gun had existed in the form of the Maxim gun (British) and the Gatling gun (American) but a smaller machine gun could be operated by a small crew and could thus bring more firepower to combat.  On the Western front, both sides dug in deep trenches--this was not new, as trench warfare had existed for a long time.  To protect the trenches, both sides used thousands of miles of barbed wire--so much barbed wire, that even one hundred years later some can still be found in the remnant of trenches.  In order to break the stalemate, both sides turned to poison gas, first chlorine gas, then mustard.  Both sides also used tanks; however, tank technology was quite primitive and generals were not able to follow through on tank advances with men to occupy the captured trenches.  Both sides also used airplanes, first as scouting and reconnaissance vehicles but later as devices to carry bombs, making them killing machines in their own right.  The Germans famously used dirigibles to drop bombs on London--this would foreshadow major bombing runs against the British capital in the next world war.  

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Technology greatly affected the way in which wars were fought, especially in World War I. The inventions of the repeating machine gun, the development of poison gas, and the introduction of the first tanks caused armies to fight using the bunkering method. This allowed men to huddle in trenches along what are called skirmish lines and throw, lob, and fire by other means weapons to cause damage while men were protected by about 4 to 5 feet deep earth. This caused men to fight in rear or echelon columns behind tanks can basically caued defensive fighting tactics resulting in drawn out protracted battles. 

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user421113 | eNotes Newbie

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What new technologies were designed during World War 1?  How were these technologies used in the civilian world?  How has military technology impacted the United States?

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