Technologies and Weapons used in World War 2

The field of technologies, sciences and their accomplishments had a tremendous and persistent effect on life during World War 2. 

After 1945, memorable images from the war consequently affected all parts of society – from economic principles to laws and to the geopolitical situation of countries themselves. 

The same can be said about World War 1 as well. 

Subsequently, technologies created during the time of World War 2 to win the war developed fresh applications within industrial uses. 

For over decades after World War 2, they became staples of every home of the Americans. The medical inventions and developments made during the war were made available to civilians, resulting in a better and healthier society. 

Furthermore, developments in warfare technology also led to the advancement of progressively powerful weapons.

This circumstance simultaneously maintained disputes amongst the powerful countries while fundamentally altering people’s lives. 

Suffice to say, the technological and scientific settlements of the war was a quintuple sword, ushering in a modern lifestyle for postoperative U.S citizens and initiating Cold War tensions.

Nevertheless, World War 2 resulted in the innovations of one of the greatest atomic bombs in history.

The U.S.A unleashed the 1st nuclear weapons on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in August 1945, killing approximately around 110,000 and 210,000 people. 

Although the bomb resulted in a terrible impact, as aforementioned, several other nonlethal advancements in technology and medicine around the time of the war have dramatically transformed the globe.  

Similarly, some were ideas that were to be implemented until the British or the U.S Governments supported these efforts to aid the Allied armies. 

Here are some technological and weapons developments that sprang during World War 2. 

Who had the best technology in World War 2?

By the end of World War 2, the Allies were the ones who had the best technology and military. The Germans, Italians, and the Japanese didn’t have significantly superior technology except in a few areas. 
However, the Germans and Japanese were already ready for war, and the Allies were the ones who had to catch up. 

What was the deadliest weapon of World War 2?

The Atom Bomb (Fat Man and Little Boy) is perhaps the most well-remembered weapon from World War 2. The effects of these bombs lasted several decades after their use and the end of the WW2. 

Penicillin

Alexander Fleming in his Laboratory at St Mary's Hospital London
Alexander Fleming in his laboratory at St Mary’s Hospital London

Initially, minor cuts and scratches could result in fatal infections until the use of Penicillin began in the United States.

Penicillin was developed around 1928 by Alexander Fleming, a Scottish chemist. However, the U.S started mass-producing it in the form of a medicinal therapy only during World War 2.

Making this medicinal therapy for the army and soldiers was one of the most prioritized developments by the United States War Department. The development of Penicillin was also advertised on a poster as the initiation of a race to fight against death.

Army surgeons were astounded by the drug’s ability to alleviate agony and enhance survival rates. Likewise, Penicillin made the work of the doctors and nurses easier in terms of caring for army troops and soldiers on the battlefield easier. 

Penicillin was regarded as a crucial factor in the war effort by the U.S. With its help, the country was able to prepare for the landings on D-Day and prepared around 2.3 million pills for the Allies’ troops. 

Citizens also got access to the Penicillin father the war was over.

Men and women worked together to experiment with deep tank fermentation, eventually establishing the process required for the large production of penicillin. 

In 1944, scientists manufactured 2.3 million penicillin pills in preparation for the Normandy invasion, raising public awareness of this “wonder medication.” 

As the war progressed, advertisements touting the benefits of penicillin promoted the antibiotic as a miracle medication responsible for saving millions of lives. 

From World War 2 to present, penicillin has been an effective treatment method for bacterial illness.

Electronic Computers

Grace Murray Hopper at the UNIVAC I console
Grace Murray Hopper at the UNIVAC I console

The word Computer around 1940s meant a person, especially a woman, who did sophisticated computations by hand. 

The U.S, in the time of World War 2, created new technologies and machines to calculate ballistic trajectories. Furthermore, the ones who had previously done the calculations by hand were hired to program these computers.

Likewise, Jean Jennings Bartik and Frances Elizabeth Holberton were among some programmers working on the ENIAC machine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jean Bartik spearheaded the creation of the storage and memory of the computer. Similarly, Holberton built the first ever software applications. 

Furthermore, Lt. Grace Hopper, later known as a rear admiral in the United States Navy, coded the Mark I machine, in World War 2, at Harvard University. 

Additionally, she invented the very 1st programming language of the computer.

The other inventors included Alan Turing of the United Kingdom, who invented the Bombe – the electro-mechanical contraption that assisted in breaking the cryptography of the German mystery. 

The Bombe, while not strictly a “computer,” was a predecessor to the Colossus machines, a sequence of electronic computers that belonged to the Britishers. 

In World War 2, Elsie Booker and Dorothy Du Boisson also decrypted the encrypted messages using the German Lorenz’s encryption with the Colossus Machine’s help. 

See also  Top 10 Interesting Facts about Hitler

Radar

Nakajima J1N night fighter with FD-2 nose radar
Nakajima J1N night fighter with FD-2 nose radar

Sir Robert Watson-Watt, a British physicist, developed the first operational radar system in 1935. Within 4 years, around 1939, England came up with numerous radar stations across its east and south coasts. 

The 1940s significantly advanced radar technologies with the invention of the Rad Lab, originally named the Radiation Laboratory of MIT. Rad lab’s primary purpose was to bring along electromagnetic radiation as a technical weapon rather than a detection technique.

Their original thought was to throw a beam of electromagnetic radiation at an aircraft to see if it would roast the pilot to death.

However, this idea did not work, but they still got all the bounce-back they could get.

They reasoned that electromagnetic radiation could be employed in the same way sound radiation was used in sonar. As a result, they began developing radar. 

Radar assisted the Allies in detecting ships and aircraft of the enemy. Eventually, it was discovered to have various non-military applications, including directing civilian vessels and seeing significant weather phenomena such as hurricanes.

Blood Plasma Transfusion

Private Roy W. Humphrey getting blood plasma in Sicily, August 1943
Private Roy W. Humphrey getting blood plasma in Sicily, August 1943

During World War 2, a surgeon in the United States named Charles Drew standardized the manufacturing of blood plasma for medicinal use. 

They invented this whole technique by delivering two antiseptic jars. One had water in it, and another had freeze-dried blood plasma.

Plasma, as opposed to whole blood, can be given to everyone regardless of blood type. This is what makes it simpler to provide on the battlegrounds. 

Jet Engines

The Gloster Meteor, first British jet fighter to achieve combat operation
The Gloster Meteor, the first British jet fighter to achieve combat operation

In 1930, Frank Whittle, an English engineer in the Royal Air Force, received the first patent for a jet engine. However, Germany was the first country to fly a jet engine plane. 

German engineers were flying test their jet engine designs on August 27, 1939, just a few days before Germany invaded Poland. Both Germany and Japan had been preparing for World War 2 for nearly a decade.

The British government began developing planes based on Whittle’s designs when the war broke out. On May 15, 1941, the first Allied plane to use jet propulsion got to the skies. 

Jet jets were quicker than propeller planes, but they used more fuel and were more challenging to fly. 

Though they did not affect the war (they were still in the early stages of research), jet engines would subsequently change military and civilian transportation.

Flu Vaccines

Jhonas Salk giving Polio vaccine to school children
Jhonas Salk giving Polio vaccine to school children

The 1918 and 1919 influenza epidemics significantly impacted World War 1. They motivated the United States military to create the first flu vaccine.

Scientists began isolating flu viruses in the 1930s, and the United States Army helped fund the development of a vaccine against them in the 1940s.

In 1945, the United States approved the first flu vaccination for military use. Likewise, in 1946, it was licensed for civilian use. 

Jonas Salk, the American scientist who later developed the polio vaccine, was one of the project’s key researchers. 

See also  Top 10 Most Powerful Countries in World War 2

The Cavity Magnetron

9.375 GHz 20 kW magnetron assembly for airport radar in 1947
9.375 GHz 20 kW magnetron assembly for airport radar in 1947

A cavity magnetron is a tiny, palm-sized gadget that one cannot ignore. This gadget aided in the victory of World War 2 and forever altered the way Americans prepared and enjoyed food. 

The device’s name, the cavity magnetron, may not be as well-known as what it produces: microwaves. 

During World War 2, the capacity to produce shorter, or micro, wavelengths using a cavity magnetron improved prewar radar technology. 

It resulted in higher precision across longer distances. After the war, cavity magnetrons took residence away from warplanes and aircraft carriers, becoming a popular fixture in American households. 

After the war, Percy Spencer, an American engineer and expert in radar tube design who helped create radar for battle, looked to commercialize the technology. 

According to popular belief, Spencer noticed when a candy bar he carried in his pocket melted while standing in front of an active radar set. 

Spencer began experimenting with various foods, including popcorn, which paved the way for commercial microwave manufacture. 

Commercial microwaves, which used this military technology, became increasingly available by the 1970s and 1980s, transforming how Americans prepared food in ways that continue today. 

The simplicity with which microwaves can heat meals has made this technology an anticipated component in the twenty-first century American home.

Aeronautics

An image of B-29 bomber, the only aircraft to use nuclear weapon
An image of a B-29 bomber, the only aircraft to use a nuclear weapon

Preceding World War 2, the nuclear arms race fueled a fearful fact that made them believe that one of the states would acquire hegemony on both Earth and space. The race to take over space sparked a new government-funded aeronautics program in the mid-20th century. 

In 1957, after victoriously launching the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1, the U.S reacted four months later with the launch of its spacecraft, Juno 1.

After a year, in 1957, NASA was given a project by the United States Congress to supervise all the projects that were involved in sending humans to space. 

The race for Space between two powerhouses- the Soviet Union and the United States, culminated on July 20, 1969, with Apollo 11 crew’s landing on the moon’s surface. 

Likewise, every element of society was altered by the Cold War. But the arms race for nuclear and the Race of Space persist as crucial factors of technology and science that powered World War 2.

Conclusion

World War 2 scientific and engineering achievements forever altered people’s way of thinking and conversing with new technologies in everyday life.

The advancement and sophistication of military-grade weapons spawned new applications and new conflicts throughout the war. 

World War 2 enabled the development of various items that were commercialized, breakthroughs in the medical field, and new forms of scientific investigation. 

Today, World War 2 historical legacy influences almost every facet of life – from utilizing personal computers to viewing the weather forecast to going to the doctor. 

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