By Robert Jensen, Andrew Wiest

Know-how of 1 sort or one other has consistently been a valuable factor in conflict. The Spartan king Archidamus, for example, reacted with alarm while first witnessing a weapon that may shoot darts throughout the air. And but in past times centuries know-how has performed an exceptional function in army affairs and considering, and within the total behavior of warfare. moreover, the impression of latest know-how on conflict has introduced significant social and cultural adjustments. This quantity explores the connection among warfare, know-how, and smooth society over the process the final numerous centuries. the 2 global wars, overall conflicts within which commercial know-how took a negative human toll, introduced nice alterations to the perform of equipped violence between international locations; nonetheless many element of army existence and values remained principally unaffected. within the latter 1/2 the 20 th century, expertise within the type of nuclear deterrence seems to be to have avoided the worldwide conflagration of worldwide warfare whereas complicating and fueling ferocious local contests. A stimulating fusion of army and social historical past, extending again to the eighteenth century, and with contributions from such top historians as Brian Bond, Paddy Griffith, and Neil McMillen, struggle within the Age of know-how will curiosity lay readers and experts alike.

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As a study of British military research during World War II demonstrates, time pressures and the need to ensure that new equipment could be mass-produced quickly and efficiently imposed constraints on the depth of research undertaken by the Allies. 22 46 warren chin Although this was a war characterized by mass armies sustained by mass production, it nevertheless saw the establishment of an important precedent in the field of defense research. 23 Thus the war was not significant just because of the quantity of material produced but also because of the technological quality of some of the equipment developed.

In the American Civil War, just as in the Napoleonic wars, the infantry often advanced in massed formation and exchanged fire at close range. Losses were naturally high when the two opposing lines were only a few yards apart, although we must remember that in “America’s bloodiest day,” at Antietam in 1862, the total casualties were still only around twenty-two thousand, or around one-third of infantry armament and tactical need 29 those suffered at Borodino in 1812 or at Waterloo in 1815. 22 Indeed, it cannot be stressed too often that the percussion rifle musket changed nothing very much except the rhetoric used by a small minority of gun enthusiasts and rifle manufacturers.

J. A. Houlding, Fit for Service: The Training of the British Army 1715–1795 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981); and compare the post-Waterloo French debate in my Military Thought in the French Army. 16. See my Military Thought in the French Army, 77. 17. Jac Weller, “Shooting Confederate Infantry Arms,” in American Rifleman, (April, May, June 1954); and contemporary discussion in Hans Busk, The Rifle and How to Use It (ca. , 1859; reprint, Richmond, Surrey, 1971). 18. See my Military Thought in the French Army, 107, 115–17, 125–30.

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