WWI and Interwar Military Innovations

Sentence Outline

How did World War I influence interwar military innovation? Discuss the implications of your answer for today’s military professional?

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  1. Thesis: WWI influenced interwar military innovations by fostering the availability of tactical air support, prompting the need for using machine guns, and fueling the emergence of tanks.
  2. The deployment of airplanes in combat was an innovative interwar idea that offered the required tactical air backup
  1. According to Parker, the use of planes for investigative purposes triggered the need for advancements
  2. As Murray and Millett reveals, Germany made considerable strides towards developing interwar military innovations
  1. The need for enhancing the reliability of firearms called for the creation of heavy-caliber machine guns during WWI and beyond.
  1. According to Parker, the British also invented a high-quality device known as the Vickers gun.
  2. Clausewitz asserts that Germans developed sharpshooter attachments towards the end of WWI.
  1. Highly capable tanks could withstand ambush from rifles, machine guns, and other artillery compared to cavalry.
  1. According to Paret, tanks were identified as superior defensive equipment.
  2. As Murray and Millett reveal, the innovation of tanks prompted the deployment of different technologies, including the use of a tracked wheel system, powerful farming machine engines, and shipyards’ heavy armored plating.
  1. Counter Argument: Warfare necessities are not the sole factors that triggered interwar military innovations.
  1. Murray and Millett assert that industrial developments during the WWI period facilitated the creation of innovative military equipment.
  2. Developments in aviation engineering made it possible to manufacture stable airplanes that could maneuver swiftly and attack enemies.
  1. Implications for Today’s Military Professionals: Military professionals in contemporary settings should possess obligatory skills required to handle interwar innovations based on WWI experiences.
  1. Conclusion: The most outstanding military innovations emerging from the war period include fighter planes, machine guns, and tanks.
  1. Developments in other industries facilitated the mentioned advancements.
  2. Future military professionals will need to possess advanced skills to handle complex machines.

Introduction

World War I brought about several interwar military innovations that still influence professionals in the field today. Some of the notable forms of interwar martial modernism that emerged from WWI include the sophistication of fighter planes, the development of tanks, and the invention of machine guns.1 It is crucial to point out that these advanced and practical ideas appeared at a time when pressure had intensified because of the looming World War I. Hence, it suffices to assert that WWI triggered considerable extents of transformations and inventions that led to the development of new warfare paraphernalia. This paper argues that although WWI influenced interwar military innovations by fostering the availability of tactical air support, prompting the need for using machine guns, and fueling the emergence of tanks, lessons gained from the deadly experience of individuals who directly participated in the war require today’s military professionals to acquire hands-on knowledge regarding the operation of particular artillery.

Analysis

Tactical Air Support

Amid the development of the Kitty Hawk by the Wright brothers over a decade before WWI, the deployment of airplanes in combat was an innovative interwar idea that offered the required tactical air backup. Aerial combat was a new area of warfare during World War I. According to Parker, during this time, although inter-plane combat had not gained popularity before WWI, the use of planes for investigative purposes triggered the need for advancements.2 However, airplanes along with airships and balloons were utilized for inspecting the day-to-day movements made by enemies. The primitive nature of the early planes limited their capability of performing advanced military functions, thereby calling for an innovative plan that prompted warring sides to consider deploying tools that could foster tactical air support in the future.

The need to carry and mount weapons on planes called for the development of mono and biplane fighters. The new planes had the capability of holding machine guns and heavy bombs while at the same time maintaining stable maneuverability. According to Murray and Millett, Germany is one of the countries that made considerable strides towards developing interwar military innovations.3 Anthony Fokker, a German engineer, made considerable contributions to the development of fighter planes by designing better weapons that could be mounted on sophisticated planes. The significant application of tactical air support in WWII denoted the extent to which interwar military innovations shaped modern approaches to warfare.

Machine Guns

The need for enhancing the reliability of firearms called for the creation of heavy-caliber machine guns during WWI and beyond. Machine guns had not gained recognition before World War I. In most cases, military forces used primitive versions of the machine gun that required operation from a hand crank. Nonetheless, as Parker reveals, towards the end of WWI in 1918, the introduction of a way of automating machine guns bolstered their functionality and efficiency during combat.4 Notably, such advanced war gadgets had the capability of facilitating the release of at least 600 rounds per minute. According to Parker, the British also invented a high-quality device known as the Vickers gun that required six soldiers to handle on a battlefield.5 This tool gained a considerable reputation because of its reliability.

The need to facilitate swift movement during WWI also called for the innovation of machine guns. For this reason, according to Clausewitz, Germans developed sharpshooter attachments towards the end of WWI as a way of improving the functionality and the portability of machine guns.6 The introduction of these tools also prompted the British to come up with the barrage fire technique that fostered the tactical firing of machine guns in battlegrounds. Therefore, machine guns also influenced the change of mass destruction tactics by enhancing the aspect of movement on the ground in addition to attaching the artillery on fighter planes.7

Tanks

The ineffectiveness of cavalry in the early years of WWI called for the adoption of highly capable tanks that could withstand ambush from rifles, machine guns, and other artillery compared to cavalry. According to Paret, tanks were identified as superior defensive equipment that armed forces required to foster their chances of victory during the war.8 The need for such an advancement influenced politicians and British inventors to consider developing advanced tanks to bolster their military superiority. As Murray and Millett reveal, the innovation of tanks prompted the deployment of different technologies, including the use of a tracked wheel system, powerful farming machine engines, and shipyards’ heavy armored plating.9 The combination of the various technologies pioneered the emergence of armored tanks that was utilized for the first time in 1916. During World War I, they failed to perform perfectly, a situation that called for further advancements. Nonetheless, in the later years, such tanks became common warfare features along with fighter planes.

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Counter Argument

Although warfare necessities are associated with advanced weapons that were deployed during World War I, they are not the sole factors that triggered interwar military innovations. In particular, scholars such as Murray and Millett assert that industrial developments during the WWI period facilitated the creation of innovative military equipment.10 Such business advancements required professionals who could handle various machines to acquire appropriate skills. In this case, having the required expertise to operate the available industrial killing machines would help in overcoming or surviving the impact of combat. For instance, developments in aviation engineering made it possible to manufacture stable airplanes that could maneuver swiftly and attack enemies. Furthermore, the continued development and advancement of firearms made it possible to produce heavy-caliber weapons such as the Vickers gun. Therefore, interwar military innovations did not only emanate from warfare necessities but also advancements made in different industries.

Implications for Today’s Military Professionals

Military professionals in contemporary settings should possess obligatory skills required to handle interwar innovations based on WWI experiences. As a result, there is a need for military experts to specialize in the operation of military aircraft since many modern armed forces use fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. Similarly, according to Paret, contemporary military professionals have to undergo intensive training on how to operate other artillery, including machine guns, sophisticated rifles, and tanks.11 For this reason, with such expertise, specialist armed forces stand a better chance of emerging victorious during combat. Additionally, exceptional skills are required to handle modern tanks since they apply special attack and defense mechanisms.12 Therefore, interwar military innovations have considerably transformed the way military professionals approach combat in contemporary times.

Conclusion

WWI triggered the development of an array of interwar military innovations. The most outstanding military innovations emerging from the war period include fighter planes, machine guns, and tanks. In addition to warfare necessities calling for the interwar military innovations during the First World War, developments in other industries facilitated the mentioned advancements. Today, specialization is common in contemporary military forces, thanks to WWI interwar martial innovations. Hence, this argument is important because future military professionals will need to possess advanced skills to handle machines whose level of complexity is expected to be significantly high.

Bibliography

Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. Edited and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976.

Murray, Williamson, and Allan Millett. Military Innovation in the Interwar Period. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Paret, Peter, ed. Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.

Parker, Geoffrey, ed. The Cambridge History of Warfare. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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Parker, Geoffrey, ed. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Footnotes

  1. Williamson Murray and Allan Millett, Military Innovation in the Interwar Period (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 79.
  2. Geoffrey Parker, ed., The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 121.
  3. Murray and Millett, Military Innovation, 79.
  4. Geoffrey Parker, ed., The Cambridge History of Warfare (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 132.
  5. Parker, Cambridge, 132.
  6. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, eds. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), 121.
  7. Clausewitz, On War, 122.
  8. Peter Paret, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), 69.
  9. Murray and Millett, Military Innovation, 68.
  10. Murray and Millett, Military Innovation, 72.
  11. Paret, Makers of Modern Strategy, 71.
  12. Paret, Makers of Modern Strategy, 71.
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