The Evolution Of War Through Technology

968 words - 4 pages

Wars have extended over the course of human civilization. From the earliest prehistoric wars to the current wars in the Middle East, improvements in technology vastly impacted the evolution of war. The industrial revolution inspired new forms of technology and enabled the mass development of arms. Additionally, new methods of communication and medicine influenced a transformation to modern warfare. This, in turn, ultimately transformed the strategy of war.
The industrial revolution, which took place in the late 19th century, brought many changes to warfare and the societies that waged them. It also increased the mobility of industrial weapons.

Industry's vast increase in the scale of death forever altered the way wars were fought. Increased firepower led to scattered troops looking for cover. This dispersion and its effect on command control, was countered by the invention of the telegraph. A new officer also appeared, one that was versed equally in theoretical methods as practical ones. It would be the Staff Officers who would pull the strings of their industrial-inspired mass armies. As intelligent as war planners became, industry was always one step ahead with more devastating weapons.

The Crimean War, which took place in the mid-19th century, displayed the first uses of "modern" technology, such as utilizing railways and telegraphs. This increased the amount of support each side had. There are many factors that contributed to the Crimean War, starting with French emperor Napolean III's ambition and backing of Christians in the Ottoman Empire. The conflict of powers in the Middle East further intensified with Russian demands to exercise "protection" over the Orthodox subjects in the Ottoman Empire. In other words, France and Russia disagreed with the rights of privileges of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches in the Holy Land in Palestine. In October 1853, Turkey declared war on Russia, backed by Britain and France.
There were flaws with both the Russians and the Ottoman, British, and French's military. The Russian army was larger in size, yet did not have steady access to rifles and other types of arms. The British and French used Napoleonic tactics, and used smaller types of arms, which weren't fit for battle. Despite this, their year-long amphibious attack on Russian fortress of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula was a success. In addition, the British's charge of the light brigade in the Battle of the Balaclava in 1854 ultimately proved successful (despite heavy casualties) against the Russian army's heavy defensive fire. The frontal assault of the light brigade is best summarized in The Charge of the Light Brigade, written by Lord Alfred Tennyson.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
No tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred./
Cannon to right of them,

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