History

For the first time in history, new military technology outstretched the battlefield tactics used by leaders on both sides of the battlefield during World War I. This new technology increased the cost of the war and encouraged leaders on both sides to be indecisive and create a stalemate; some could even say this was the root cause of the development of the trench warfare that World War I is so famous for. However, the foundation for this new military technology of World War I occurred many years before the fatal bullet even left the chamber, killing the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. New political alliances, the second industrial revolution and the progressive era all contributed to the wide spread of these new military revolutions in technology throughout the world. This new technology would increase the effectiveness of killing to a new level, never before seen by common soldier or the experience officer, in a war to end all wars.
One could argue that the relationships Germany maintained and didn??™t maintain in the decades before World War I created the need for new military revolutions and most of Europe was preparing for war anyways, thus a root cause for new military technology development. Let me explain, Germany realized they had problems with their western neighbor France and the French knew they had a bitter relationship with their eastern counterpart in Germany. The Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871 didn??™t help matters when the French not only lost the war but lost portions of their country in Alsace and Lorraine, this did not sit well with the French and the French would not forget. Germany??™s Chancellor Bismarck quickly formed an alliance between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary and when the French moved into Tunisia, Bismarck added Italy to the alliance in 1882. However, trust within this new alliance began to fade as Russia and Austria-Hungary started developing conflicts over the situation in the Balkans in 1887, but Bismarck repaired the damage to his alliances allowing both powers to stay neutral if the other was at war. Then in 1890 Bismarck was replaced by the new German Emperor Wilhelm and the alliance with Russia was dissolved. France saw its chance and built an alliance with Russia and also sought after the British to remind them of how poor their relationship was with Germany, thus the Triple Entente alliance was born as well as the strained international relations already being played out in the eastern half of the world. Now it was only a matter of time before a great war between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance would occur. Thus, the costly military buildup had begun??¦.
One could argue the second industrial revolution, which created the development of the tank, the machine gun, the increased effectiveness of the submarine, larger caliber artillery and the infamous ???mustard??? gas all made World War 1 more expensive and encouraged leaders on both sides to make decisions that would provide little gain on the battlefield and encourage leaders to be hesitant. From the readings, everyone seems to be in an agreement that the war was a stalemate and both sides and needed to use new weapons at their disposal to tilt the war in their favor. The development and effectiveness of the machine gun some would say was the direct reason for the trench warfare of World War I, as the trenches provided shelter. The tank was another high cost development used to break the stalemate, only to have minimal impact on the battlefield because of the mechanical failures, lack of maneuverability in the mud and the thin skinned shell. Also, remember this was a very new development with no battlefield tests; leaders really didn??™t know how to use it and were hesitant to because of its limited impact.
The Progressive Era was known for its political activism and its social reform and might be a long herringbone away to why World War 1 was so costly and had an indecisive character. However, let??™s take a look and see if we can bridge the connection a little bit better. One could have a strong argument that the Progressive Era was known for its development in the sciences, technologies and in education, correct These developments might have aided in blocking each side from gaining a foothold while trying to break the stalemate of World War 1. For example, as mentioned above, mustard gas provided a harsh deadly alternative for leaders to use in the stalemate of the early part of the war on dealing with the trench warfare. So scientists develop a better gas mask to counter the edge or advantage the mustard gas might have provide to one side or the other, thus providing a continued stalemate. Another example of how science and technologies kept the cost high and the leaders on the ground unable to be more decisive was the development and use of artillery. As mention earlier, the machine gun sent both armies to the trenches and these trenches became more and more fortified as the war continued. Current artillery of the time was used so much to no avail that it exceeded the supply of ammunition available and a new type, more expensive, larger caliber artillery was needed with more explosive shells to break the gridlock.
In conclusion, the cost of World War I can not be measured in just monetary terms; the cost has to be measured in the enormous causalities the new military technology produced, and the lack of the ability of leaders on both sides to take advantage of knowing how to use it effectively. The new political alliances, the second industrial revolution and the progressive era all lead up to what would be forever known as the ???Great War??? or ???the war to end all wars??? Unfortunately, this Great War would be the foundation for a second world war with even more technology and developments all with the ability to kill your fellow man on the battlefield.

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