Weapons in WWI
New weaponry and interventions can ultimately decide who will win a war. In World War I there were many new weapons introduced into the battle scene. These new weapons were more efficient in destroying and more powerful which made the death count rise dramatically. The new weaponry in World War I helped contribute to it being one of the bloodiest wars know to man at that time.
One key weapon that played a part in eventually bringing the United states into the war was the submarine, also called U-boats. This submarine was able to moved underwater and attack ships without being spotted. A major problem with these ships that it broke international law. For the reason that when the Germans would attack a neutral ship they would not warn the ship like they were supposed to. If the Germans had warned there enemies they would easily be destroyed because the ships were so fragile and slow moving. The U-boat was used as a tool to force embargo. The other countries did not want to risk traveling the high seas with the submarines out there ready to strike, so trade was put to a stop in certain areas. While the U-boat enforced embargo was proving to be an effective weapon, it also seemed that it would bring America into the war against Germany (Bowes 595).
Some weapons had even been around awhile, but were not used effectively in large-scale combat. For example, the machine gun, in the form of the Gatling Gun or Maxim Gun, was actually invented during the American Civil War, but did not see widespread use until World War I. Chemical weapons were used on a massive scale in World War I. Mustard gas and chlorine gas were two of the more frequently used weapons.Chlorine is an asphyxiating gas that causes acute bronchitis with gradual suffocation and, “those who initially survived a considerable dose generally died from pneumonia.” The effects were so horrible that they have been mostly controlled since then. Mustard gas produces a large amount of casualties that require extensive medical treatment. Initially some soldiers did not realize that they had been gassed with mustard because the effects were not apparent for up to twelve hours after exposure. There has been sporadic use of chemical weapons, but not on the scale of World War I( “Weapons in World War I”).
Armored vehicles and tanks also came into use during World War I. The British had more than three thousand of them by the end of the war. The Germans had a few, but not nearly enough. The tanks enabled the Allies to break out of the trench warfare, and, combined with the food blockade, break the Germans. The airplane came into use as a war weapon during World War I. There were airplanes that could drop bombs and attack both ground and air forces. At first, the pilots did not shoot at each other. The pilots then took shots at each other with pistols, but it was very difficult to shot a pistol and fly the plane at the same time. Then the planes began to carry mounted machine guns, but the planes propeller sometimes got in the way. A man named, Fokker, invented a way to shoot through the propeller, which was very important since the pilot could aim by pointing his airplane. Many young officers on both sides saw the importance of aircraft and much work was done on this all over the world. Bombers were built during the war, but were limited by engine performance. As better engines were developed, more weight could be carried(Danzer, 555).
World War I had introduced to the world an arsenal of new weapons. Some were used at sea, some in the air, and some on the ground. They all changed the way war was fought in that era. These weapons lead to greater destructions and higher death counts because they were so powerful.The new weapons invented in World War I changed the face of war, and the way people fought war it for years to come.
Bowes, John S. The Americas :A History. Illinois: McDougal, Littell & Comapany, 1992.
Danzer, Gerald A. The Americans. Illinois: McDougal, Littell & Comapany, 1998.
“Weapons in World War I” Compton’s Online Encyclopedia. Online. America Online. 4 Dec 2000