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Comparisson of Technology in World War I and World War II

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World War I (WWI) and World War II (WWII), were vastly different from each other due to the use of technology. The nature of War in WWI was between countries to acquire colonies, territory and resources. In WWII the nature of the war was war of ideologies, such as Fascism and Communism. There were major advances in weaponry and communications which not only effected the way the war was fought but also the outcome. WWII was especially devastating due to the genocide of the Jewish people committed by the Nazis. WWII was indefinitely more technologically advanced, for instance the invention of radar, the inventions of many new deadly types of bombs, the advancements in tanks, aircraft and the invention of enigma.

Radar was a new technology that was developed before WWII in 1935, by the British Physicist Sir Robert Watson-Watt. In 1939 before the start of WWII, England had established multiple radar stations along the south and east coast to detect radio waves off invaders in the air and in the sea. The invention of Radar helped the British fight off the Germans in the Great Battle of Britain. In WWI radar had not yet been invented therefore making it an advancement of WWII. In WWI airplanes had played a very small role and were mainly used for reconnaissance. The Airforce had become one of the most important parts of the military during WWII. Whoever had control of the air, often won the battles on the land. There were multiple planes that were designed for specific types of tasks. Planes in WWI mostly had single engines, with thin wooden or canvas skin, they also had machine guns mounted to the plane. During WWI, the Dutch aircraft designer Anthony Fokker designed the Interrupter Gear. This turned airplanes in weapons instead of scouts, the gear was designed so that a machine gun would fire when propellers were out of the way. One of the most famous pilots from WWI was the Red Baron, he was a German fighter pilot who is considered to be “the deadliest flying ace of WWI’. Throughout his career he shot and killed 80 enemy pilots, while flying a Red Fokker Dr. Triplane. In WWII planes used metal skins which made them more resilient to gun fire, the planes in WWII were more streamlined and aerodynamic. Many different types of planes were designed in WWII for specific tasks, there were small, fast fighter planes which were designed for air to air combat. There were also large bombers which dropped huge bombs on enemy targets, certain planes were also designed to land and take off form aircraft carriers, and large transport planes used to deliver supplies and soldiers. Other important advances in aircraft include the 1st military helicopters and the 1st jet powered fighter planes. Aircraft Carriers were one of the biggest changes in naval technology in WWII, they had become the most important ships in the navy. They were able to launch air attacks from anywhere in the ocean.

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Although tanks were first used in WWI, it was during WWII that tanks had become a major military force. Hitler had utilized tanks in his fast-moving panzer divisions. They enabled him to quickly take over much of Europe using a tactic called “Blitzkrieg”, meaning “lightning war”. Some of the most famous tanks from WWII include the Germans Tiger tank, the Soviet Unions T-34 tank and the USA’S Sherman tank. Throughout WWI French tanks were the most involved, ahead of Britain and America. Germany was slow to adapt to the idea of tanks, Germanys presence of tanks in WWI was essentially non-existent. During WWI there were multiple methods of warfare, during WWII all these methods were more advanced. WWI was fought from the trenches and was supported by artillery, machine guns, infantry, assault tanks, poisonous gas and early airplanes, throughout WWI mobility was minimal. During WWII nuclear power was invented and missiles were used, submarines and tanks had also become heavily used. Modern concepts of covert and special operations were introduced, and encryption codes for secret communication became more complex. In WWII, in order to keep communications secret, both sides developed their own secret codes. This allowed people in the war to communicate with one other, without fear of messages being easily intercepted. The Germans used a machine called the Enigma Machine, this allowed them to code and decode their messages, this gave them an upper hand as the enemies were unable to gain valuable information. However, the Allied scientists were able to crack the code giving them advantages in battle.

WWII brought the invention of multiple new, deadly bombs, perhaps the greatest leap in technology during WWII was the atomic bomb. The Germans invented the long-range flying bomb called the V-2, the Allies developed the bouncing bomb that would bounce across water and explode once it hit a dam. Other specialized bombs include the bunker busters and cluster bombs. The atomic, and nuclear bombs are impressive weapons with immense power. These bombs use nuclear reactions as their source of explosive energy. Scientists had first advanced nuclear weapons technology during WWII. The atomic bombs have only ever been used twice in war, both times by the US against Japan. The bombs were dropped at the end of WWII on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Manhattan Project was the code named used for the American-led project to develop a functional atomic bomb during WWII. The Manhattan Project started as a response of fear that German scientists had been working on a weapon using nuclear technology since the 1930’s. By 1945, scientists had developed two distinct types of atomic bombs, a uranium-based bomb called “the Little Boy” and a plutonium-based bomb called “the Fat Man”. On the 6th of august, 1945, the US dropped its first atomic bomb “the little boy”, from a B-29 bomber plane, over the city of Hiroshima. The “Little Boy” exploded and killed 80,000 people instantly, tens of thousands of more people would soon die from radiation exposure. When the Japanese didn’t surrender immediately, the US dropped the second atomic bomb three days later on the city of Nagasaki. It is estimated that the “Fat Man” killed 40,000 people on impact. After viewing the devastating impacts of the atomic bombs, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito declared his country’s surrender on august 15th, this day would be known as V-J Day, this declaration of defeat ended WWII.

WWII was indefinitely more technologically advanced, for instance the invention of radar and the inventions of many new deadly types of bombs. The advancements in tanks, aircraft and the invention of enigma were all key factors in WWII. WWII brought multiple new deadly bombs, and perhaps the greatest leap in technology was the atomic bomb. In WWI the war was fought between countries for colonies, territory and resources, whereas WWII was fought for more or less political reasons and power. The number of causalities in WWI is estimated to be 10 million whereas the number of causalities in WWII is over 60 million people, due to the genocide of the Jewish people. Overall WWII was definitely a more technologically advanced war due to the above stated reasons.

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Comparisson of Technology in World War I and World War II. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from
“Comparisson of Technology in World War I and World War II.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022,
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Comparisson of Technology in World War I and World War II [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2023 Oct 3]. Available from:
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