The period following the end of World War II was characterized with a great deal of technological development, probably as a consequence of the victories achieved by the Allied forces. The aftermath of World War II set in motion a wave of innovations that proved to be greatly beneficial in improving the living standards of the global population.
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Such advancements in technology were a direct consequence of the experiences gained during the several years of the War. An urgent need was felt to innovate in order to have more technologically advanced weaponry that would allow having the much required edge in winning the war. The potential for technological development had been thus created during the Second World War itself.
After it ended in 1945, the available resources and technology could be gainfully used in the development of consumer goods that led to improved standards of living on a global basis. The technological innovations in this regard were made in several fields such as Linguistics, Medicine, Weaponry, Intelligence and Communication in addition to the technological progress made in manufacturing and service industries (Castells 45).
The rapid advancement in technology during World War II was primarily inspired by the propensity to research and devise military strategies that would allow penetration and sabotage of enemy forces and supply lines respectively.
In addition, innovation in technology was also inspired by the enhanced ability of the military to use technology in gathering intelligence, which was gainfully used in obtaining the much needed information about military capabilities and movement of enemy forces.
After the World War II ended, the technology developed till that time could be further innovated in creating a virtual technological revolution that transformed the lives of humanity in the coming decades (Gray 36). World War II heralded noteworthy technological innovations in the areas of nuclear technology and information technology that revolutionized ways of living in the 21st century.
Invention of Nuclear Reactor
The invention of the atomic bomb by the United States and its allies eclipses any other innovation made during World War II. Named as the Manhattan Project during World War II, the nuclear program of the Allies led to catastrophic consequences for the Axis forces, particularly in the context of the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which led to the death of millions of people.
Although the initial objective of the Manhattan Project was to use nuclear technology in establishing reactors for the generation of electricity under the auspicious leadership of Italian physicist Enrico Ferni, the need to annihilate German, Italian and Japanese forces during World War II made the Allied leadership to focus on developing the first atomic bomb.
It was under the leadership of Enrico Fermi, who is recognized as the father of the atomic bomb because of his exhaustive research and positive outcomes in developing nuclear power, that the US made use his technology in establishing several nuclear power plants across the entire country (Russell 93).
Further innovations in nuclear technology were made by Enrico Fermi after the end of World War II, leading to major breakthroughs in reducing dependence on electricity generated through coal fuel and hydro power. This was made possible because of the innovation that led to the availability of cheaper, environmentally friendly and reliable nuclear generated electric power.
Innovation of Radiology Medicine
Besides its significant role in leading the green revolution through generation of environmentally clean energy, innovation in nuclear technology during World War II allowed wider application in medicine, especially in radiology therapy and imaging.
The use of nuclear technology in medicine can be traced back to the campaign initiated by the Polish Physics and Chemistry Nobel Prize laureate Marie Curie just before the beginning of World War II. Marie Curie embarked on a campaign to collect radium for use in radiology medicine.
She is credited with the establishment of globally recognized research institutes of radiology medicine, including the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw. Nuclear medicine finds wide application in radiology treatment of different cancerous malignancies with the use of techniques such as neoplasm and radiology imaging.
The innovations in radar technology during World War II helped in making improvements in the aviation industry and its associate role of uplifting the living standards of the global population. Such innovations also helped in enhancing national security from the perspective of external and internal aggression. Radar technology involves the use of radio waves in the detection of far-off objects.
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Such objects may include ships, aircrafts, submarines and a wide-range of missiles and rocket weaponry. Innovation of radar technology during World War II led to improvement in bombsights and radar capabilities, which were inspired by their increased use in World War II. Radar technology is even regarded as the defining innovation that tilted the balance in favor of the allied forces during World War II.
Later, it also heralded the revolution in both military and civil aviation in the contemporary world. Radar technology was invented immediately after World War II began, but significant improvements in the technology were made during the war through research and development, mainly for military purposes.
This new technology allowed the use of applications with which approaching enemy aircraft and ships could be detected.
Collaborative arrangements were made between the military and academia in efforts to prevent war-exacerbated diseases, particularly pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza and such initiatives led to the innovation of disease prevention vaccines.
Wartime research programs on preventable disease are recognized for having led to the improvement and innovation of 10 new vaccines for treatment of a series of virulent preventable diseases (Godin 121). Besides, wartime research in health and medicine science and technology led to innovations relative to substitute blood samples such as plasma, antibiotics such as penicillin and insecticides such as DDT.
Nevertheless, the innovation of vaccines stands out as the most important achievement in the area of medical and health technology during World War II. Such vaccines involved development of highly effective, safe and licensed antibiotics and microbial preventative therapy for immunization against several diseases, which did not exist before the War began.
Electrolysis Chemistry, Digital Technology & Military Technology
Other notable innovations during World War II having significant impact on the lives of human beings in the 21st century include the demagnetization of ships to prevent them from torpedo and mines attacks. This technique also helps in detection of submarines. Demagnetization technology was developed during World War II and is particularly useful in exploration of mineral and ore deposits.
Research is currently underway to come up with innovations that will help the ship building industry to use corrosion free material that prevents ships from the harmful impacts of corrosive sea water. This is possible through the application of cathode electrolysis technology, which was developed during World War II.
World War II also spearheaded the digital revolution of the late 20th century and early 21 century through robust research in information transmission, electronics and intelligence. Amongst these was the development of the encryption machine by Germans, which heralded the large scale application of digital encryption in information technology.
It is apparent that in contrast with World War I, the Second World War featured both military and scientific methods of warfare as the two opposite camps tried to outmaneuver each other through the use of technologically advanced, updated and state-of-the-art military equipment and techniques, which could not have been made possible without the support of science and technology.
Innovations in both military combat weapons and military technology have led to the improvement of standards of living in the 21st century. People feel more secure now because there are lesser risks of aggression and the military is very well equipped with the latest technology in doing away with security threats.
This has been made possible because of the use of science and technology, which has led to innovations that have improved defense capabilities as also the living standards of people.
Many hold that the innovations in nuclear technology have enhanced fears of another world war, which will lead to the destruction of the world. However, such fears do not have a strong basis because the global community understands the consequences of a nuclear war and recognizes that nuclear technology is best used for the welfare of human societies.
Castells, Manuel. Technopoles of the World The Making of 21st Century Industrial Complexes. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2014. Print.
Godin, Benoit. Measurement and statistics on science and technology 1920 to the present. New York: Routledge, 2005. Print.
Gray, John. Reconstructions of secondary education: theory, myth and practice since the second world war.. S.l.: Routledge, 2012. Print.
Russell, James. Innovation, Transformation, and War Counterinsurgency Operations in Anbar and Ninewa Provinces, Iraq, 2005-2007. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2010. Print.