How Technology Affected World War 1

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Updated: Apr 15, 2022
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In my paper I will be discussing the many inventions, weaponry, tools that were being released during that period of war. Many new weapons were being pushed out and provided for us to use against our enemies. One of the biggest inventions of the early 1900s was the tank, during this time it was a war of trenches filled with machine guns spraying down men before they could even make it past the ‘no man’s land’ the solution to that problem was a heavily armored vehicle with heavy weapons attached and wheels fitted for the rough terrain. The first tank manufactured was the British mark 1 , the French followed with their own version of the tank ‘Renault ft.’ which had the class look with the turret on top as the weapon.

The Germans established the first flamethrower in 1901 produced by Richard Fiedler. It was a weapon of mass destruction at the time as it could do very lethal damage from close to mid-range distance of contact. Very useful to flush out a trench of enemies as it could burn them alive. Although during medieval times there was weapons that hurled flames to inflict damage none compared to the modern produced flamethrower.

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Machine guns were produced during this time, its predecessor before was the famous and most used Gatling gun at the time, looking like a cannon and weighed about as much as it. The portability and power made it a heavily used weapon in our arsenals as it packed a very big punch.

During the war fighting at night was very complicated because there was no way to see which way you were shooting so how would you know you hit or made the kill if you can’t even see what you’re shooting at? The invention of the ‘tracer bullet ‘came into play, it emitted a phosphorescent trail with every round shot hence the name ‘tracer’ the first attempt was somewhat successful only limiting it to 100 meters. The second was a hit, leaving a bright green-white trail with every round shot.

German U-boats killed many civilians and sailors and sank millions of tons of cargo. We needed a way to fight off the submerged weapons and our solution was the depth charge, an underwater bomb that’s charges were set to go off at a certain depth. The first idea was brought in 1913. The first charge made named ‘Type D’ produced by Royal Navy and mine school in 1916. The first German boat was sunken by depth charge U-68 on March 22,1916.

Although poison gas only contributed to a small portion of deaths during the war it did much more then thought, just the phycological damage it did made it a devastating weapon to an extent. The first gas tear inducing irritants rather than fatal effects. The first use of a fatal gas was made possible by German military using chlorine to cause a death by asphyxiation ‘suffocation’. A very useful weapon against enemy trenches as it could inflict harm throughout the trench flushing out whoever is in there.

Early 1900’s, men all around are suffering gruesome, fatal life threating injuries and we needed a way to see what was going on with our soldiers, Marie Curie was working to mobilize the x-ray machine, so it would be easier to look at the medical diagnostics and by 1914 she had installed many in trucks and cars making it very simple to see what injuries our men were dealing with.

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During a time of advancements in many forms, technology wasn’t far behind from where we are now. Pilotless drones were developed for the us navy in 1916 by two men, Elmer Sperry and Peter Hewett originally meant to be an unmanned bomb. Too far ahead for its time as it was called imprecise, the navy lost interest in the project in the mid 1920s.

Many advancements were made, and some were too slow to adapt to this new age of technology sweeping across the world before our eyes. At this time weapons of fatal destruction were being produced like never before, deadlier then we have ever seen them, and it was a scary sight to see as it made it close to impossible to win a battle on the western front. Tanks were a very huge part and maybe the greatest and most useful during that time as it solved the problem of men dying in numbers just trying to get across no man’s land as they worked effectively through the rough terrain, it was armor for you and a mobile arsenal at your disposal making it a hell of a rough thing to overcome. We made great advances in weaponry and other technological things and it proved how great we were as a nation.   

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How Technology Affected World War 1. (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved from