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Men, Machines, and War

Edited by Ronald Haycock & Keith Neilson
Subjects History, Military History
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Paperback : 9781554584833, 240 pages, November 1988


Using examples from the last two centuries, this collection of essays discusses the close links between technology and war. In the opening essay, distinguished historian William H. McNeill demonstrates the extent to which military technology has often led to differentiations among people, both within and between societies. The other studies examine various aspects of weapons technology, drawing on the history of the armed forces of Britain, Prussia, and Australia, among others. Some of these illustrate how the adoption of new weaponry frequently depended as much on national pride and party politics as it did on the purely technical merits of the weapons involved; that financial considerations became increasingly primary in technological developments in British army after World War I; and that decisions made prior to 1939 about the aviation technology to be developed for military purposes largely determined what kind of the RAF was able to fight.

The chapter by Dr. G. R. Lindsay, the Chief of the Operational Research and Analysis Establishment at the Department of National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, makes the case that, with nuclear weapons added to the scene, the impact of technology on international security has never been as great as at present, and that the competition of nations seeking the technological edge in weaponry threatens to destabilize the precarious balance that has existed since 1945.