Early 20th century technology: The World Wars
Task 1: Put the verbs in brackets into the correct tense.
Technology of war, 1918–39 When World War I (1) ENDED, the experience of it seemed (2) TO VINDICATE the power of the defensive over the offensive. It (3) WAS WIDELY BELIEVED that a superiority in numbers of at least three to one (4) WAS REQUIRED for a successful offensive. Defensive concepts underlay the construction of the Maginot Line between France and Germany and of its lesser counterpart, the Siegfried Line, in the interwar years. Yet by 1918 both of the requirements for the supremacy of the offensive (5) WERE at hand: tanks and planes. The battles of Cambrai (1917) and Amiens (1918) (6) HAD PROVED that when tanks were used in masses, with surprise, and on firm and open terrain, it was possible to break through any trench system.
The Germans (7) LEARNED this crucial, though subtle, lesson from World War I. The Allies on the other hand felt that their victory (8) CONFIRMED their methods, weapons, and leadership, and in the interwar period the French and British armies were slow to introduce new weapons, methods, and doctrines. Consequently, in 1939 the British Army (9) DID NOT HAVEa single armoured division, and the French tanks (10) WERE DISTRIBUTED in small packets throughout the infantry divisions. The Germans, by contrast, (11) BEGAN to develop large tank formations on an effective basis after their rearmament program began in 1935.
In the air, the technology of war (12) HAD ALSO CHANGED radically between 1918 and 1939. Military aircraft had increased in size, speed, and range, and for operations at sea, aircraft carriers (13) WERE DEVELOPED that were capable of accompanying the fastest surface ships. Among the new types of planes developed was the dive bomber, a plane (14) DESIGNED for accurate low-altitude bombing of enemy strong points as part of the tank-plane-infantry combination. Fast low-wing monoplane fighters were developed in all countries; these aircraft were essentially flying platforms for eight to 12 machine guns installed in the wings. Light and medium bombers were also developed that (15) COULD BE USED for the strategic bombardment of cities and military strongpoints. The threat of bomber attacks on both military and civilian targets (16) LED directly to the development of radar in England. Radar (17) MADE it possible to determine the location, the distance, and the height and speed of a distant aircraft no matter what the weather (18) WAS. By December 1938 there were five radar stations established on the coast of England, and 15 additional stations (19) WERE INSTALLED. So, when war came in September 1939, Great Britain had a warning chain of radar stations that could tell when hostile planes
(20) WERE APPROACHING.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/648813/World-War-II/53534/Technology-of-war-1918-39 Task 2: Complete each paragraph in the article below by choosing the appropriate missing sentence from the following list. There is one sentence too many.
By constructing complex pieces of electronic equipment that had to be small, rugged, and reliable, radar engineering also set the foundations for modern electronics, especially television.
The science of nutrition expanded greatly during WWII.
For all the role of science, mathematics, and new inventions in earlier wars, no war had as profound an effect on the technologies of our current lives as World War II (1939-45).
The military later found other uses for radar.
The German U-boats used in the Battle of Atlantic were a result of several ground-breaking inventions.
World War II also saw plenty of disturbing uses of math and science.
We can point to numerous new inventions and scientific principles that emerged during this war.
We’re all familiar with the Atomic Bomb, two of which were dropped on Japan to end the Pacific war in 1945.
The entire technology of radar, which is the ability to use radio waves to detect objects at a distance, was barely invented at the start of the war but became highly developed in just a few years.
World War II also saw advances in medical technology.
The Science and Technology of World War II By Dr. David Mindell, provided by The National Museum of World War II 1 (c) For all the role of science, mathematics, and new inventions in earlier wars, no war had as profound an effect on the technologies of our current lives as World War II (1939-45). And no war was as profoundly affected by science, math, and technology than WWII.
2 (a) We can point to numerous new inventions and scientific principles that emerged during this war. These include advances in rocketry, pioneered by Nazi Germany. The V-1 or “buzz bomb” was an automatic aircraft (today known as a “cruise missile”) and the V-2 was a “ballistic missile” that flew into space before falling down on its target (both were rained on London during 1944-45, killing thousands of civilians). The “rocket team” that developed these weapons for Germany were brought to the United States after World War II, settled in Huntsville, Alabama, under their leader Wernher von Braun, and then helped to build the rockets that sent American astronauts into space and to the moon. Electronic computers were developed by the British for breaking the Nazi “Enigma” codes, and by the Americans for calculating ballistics and other battlefield equations. Numerous small “computers”—from hand-held calculating tables made out of cardboard, to mechanical trajectory calculators, to some of the earliest electronic digital computers, could be found in everything from soldiers’ pockets to large command and control centers. Early control centers aboard ships and aircraft pioneered the networked, interactive computing that is so central to our lives today.
3 (i) The entire technology of radar, which is the ability to use radio waves to detect objects at a distance, was barely invented at the start of the war but became highly developed in just a few years. By allowing people to “see” remotely, at very long distances, radar made the idea of “surprise attack” virtually obsolete and vastly enlarged the arena of modern warfare (today’s radars can see potential attackers from thousands of miles away). Radar allowed nations to track incoming air attacks, guided bombers to their targets, and directed anti-aircraft guns toward airplanes flying high above.
4 (a) By constructing complex pieces of electronic equipment that had to be small, rugged, and reliable, radar engineering also set the foundations for modern electronics, especially television. Radar signals could also be used for navigation, as a ship or airplane could measure its distance from several radar beacons to “triangulate” its position. A system for radar navigation, called LORAN (long-range navigation) was the precursor to today’s satellite-based GPS technology.
5 (d) The military later found other uses for radar. Meteorologists, for example, could track storms with this new technology—a crucial skill to have when planning major military operations like D-Day. When weapons designers discovered a way to place tiny radar sets onto artillery shells, the proximity fuse was invented. These new fuses would explode when they neared their targets. By the end of the war, proximity fuses had become a critical component in many anti-aircraft shells.
6 (j) World War II also saw advances in medical technology.Penicillin was not invented during the war, but it was first mass produced during the war, the key to making it available to millions of people (during World War II it was mostly used to treat the venereal diseases gonorrhea and syphilis, which had been the scourge of armies for thousands of years). While penicillin itself is still used today, it was also the precursor to the antibiotics that we take today to keep simple infections from becoming life-threatening illnesses. Medicines against tropical diseases like malaria also became critical for the United States to fight in tropical climates like the South Pacific. Pesticides like DDT played a critical role in killing mosquitoes. The science and technology of blood transfusions were also perfected during World War II, as was aviation medicine, which allowed people to fly safely at high altitudes for long periods. Studies of night vision, supplemental oxygen, even crash helmets and safety belts emerged from aviation medicine.
7 (b) The science of nutrition expanded greatly during WWII. In the United States, scientists worked to identify which vitamins and minerals were most essential to a healthy body and in what amounts. Studies were conducted to determine how many calories were burned doing various activities. Proper food preparation, storage and handling, and preservation became a top priority for the military. Soldiers’ rations were carefully formulated to supply the maximum amount of nutrition and energy, while providing for variety and taste. Meeting these challenges meant working first in the laboratory before working in the kitchen. The development of the D-ration provides a great example. The “D” ration was a high-calorie emergency ration that came in the form of a fortified chocolate bar. A three-portion package of these bars would provide a soldier with 1,800 calories of energy. Once the military settled on a chocolate bar for their emergency ration, scientists set about creating it, with the following requirements: it had to weigh 4 ounces, it had to be high in calories, it had to be able to withstand high temperatures, and it had to taste “a little better than a boiled potato.” This last requirement was imposed to keep soldiers from snacking on their emergency rations in non-emergency situations. By the end of the war, millions of these rations had been produced and delivered around the world, along with billions of other rations for the military.
8 (h) We’re all familiar with the Atomic Bomb, two of which were dropped on Japan to end the Pacific war in 1945. In a pioneering effort, the United States mobilized a massive cadre of scientists, engineers, and industrial plants. Two cities were selected to house processes integral to the bomb’s development. Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was surrounded by 59,000 acres of farmland and wilderness. The workers here separated out uranium for the bomb. In Hanford, Washington, the city was chosen for its 500,000 acres of isolated land bordering the Columbia River. Here workers created the new element plutonium. Atomic weapons are so complicated, in terms of the physics, and so difficult to build, in terms of the technology, that two different types of weapons were built, to increase the chances of getting at least one of them right. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a uranium-type bomb, and the one dropped on Nagasaki used plutonium.
9 (f) World War II also saw plenty of disturbing uses of math and science. The Nazi Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews and millions of other people “undesirable” to the German state were murdered, ranks as one of the foulest crimes in human history. Yet the perpetrators saw themselves as anything but primitive barbarians. Nazi race “science” purported to show “scientifically” the superiority of the white “Aryan” race over all other peoples, complete with measurements, classifications, men in white coats, and fancy-sounding scientific theories (later shown to be completely false). When the Nazis formally decided to systematically murder the entire Jewish population of Europe (at the Wannsee conference in 1942), they carried out their malevolent ideas by applying industrial methods borrowed from factories—everything from assembly-line-type organization of killing factories to IBM-punch-card machines keeping track of every last detail. “Mass destruction” instead of “mass production.” Even the medical profession, usually the best example of science and compassion in any culture, got into the act by carrying out horrific “experiments” on prisoners of war and civilians.