Military equipments of 19th century


Imperialism has helped countries to build better technology, increase trade, and has helped to build powerful militaries. During 19th century America played an important role in the development of military technologies. Militarism led to the World War I.

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European History

Research Paper:

Military equipments of 19th century

military technology world war



Thesis statement: Military competition between Western countries led to political and military disagreements between European countries.

Body Paragraph:

1) Imperialism has helped countries to build better technology, increase trade, and has helped to build large and powerful militaries.

2) During 19th century America played an important role in the development of new military technologies.

3) Militarism led to the World War I.


To conclude, 19th century was a time of military inventions. A lot of significant technologies such as warships, new types of machine guns were discovered. They were in a great demand during 20th century.

Before the industrial age, military technology changed slowly, and revolutionary changes were rare. The norm for nearly all of history up to the middle of the 19th century was a pace of technological innovation so slow that the continuity of weapons systems was more visible than their transformation. For example, the galleys used by the Ottomans and the Christians during their Mediterranean wars as late as the sixteenth century were quite similar to those used by the Greeks against Xerxes in 480 BC.( Buzan) From around the middle of the nineteenth century, by which time the industrial revolution was really beginning to roll, a new norm of frequent change asserted itself. That norm still prevails. The middle nineteenth century is a major historical boundary in the relationship between technology and strategy. The revolution in technology was quantitative in two senses: first, the number and frequency of changes were large, and second, the ability to produce huge numbers of new items increased dramatically. It was qualitative in the sense that each new innovation either improved an old capability substantially, like the machine gun, or opened up a capability never before possessed, like the warship. Military competition between Western countries led to political and military disagreements between European countries.

19th-20th century was a period of Imperialism. European's wanted a self-reliant way of living and gained control of smaller countries and regions to spread influence throughout the world. Imperialism has helped countries to build better technology, increase trade, and has helped to build large and powerful militaries. The main goal and the result of imperialism was the creation of colonies politically submissive and economically profitable to their European metropoles.(Headrick) Imperialism, although a process of accumulation and acquisition of land, resources, labor, and profit, is supported by an ideology that suggests that certain people and certain territories require domination, assistance, “civilization.” Search for new markets for European manufactured goods, seek of raw materials, exploration of cheap and profitable labor and land made imperialism possible. But all those things people could receive through colonies where military technology played an enormous role. It made colonies more able. The modern, armored, steam powered warship first introduced by British people was the symbol of imperialism. If a great power by definition, possessed colonies it protected them by building a modern fleet. Great Britain had always relied on her Royal Navy and by the 1890s many countries decided to follow the British example and invest in a fleet of steelbattleships. The German Emperor William II envied British world power, which he believed rested on her navy. He determined that Germany must have its fleet as well, that it is a young and growing Empire and must have a powerful fleet to protect that commerce and its interests and interests in even the most distant seas. Even though first warship was invented in 19th century, for the first time it was exercised during the World War I. In 1837 Johann von Dreyse invented the first breech loading firearm, the needle-gun. It was adopted by the Prussian army in 1841.(Lambert) Over the following decades the breech loading rifle was refined and improved. Breech loading guns greatly increased the rate of fire. The British army began to use breech loading guns in 1865. The range of guns was improved by rifling. Some guns had been rifled for centuries but it only became commonplace in the 19th century. In the late 19th century rifles were improved further by the introduction of magazines, which greatly increased the rate of fire.

During 19th century America played an important role in the development of new military technologies. Due to the Civil War in America (1861-1865) several new military equipments were discovered. Civil War was a frightful and unforgettable time in the life of Americans, the war against slavery between North and South parts of America led to the development of new weapons. Gatling gun is a type of machine gun which was a product of the Civil War. On November 4, 1862, Dr. Richard J. Gatling introduced the first really practical and successful machine gun; a six-barreled weapon capable of firing a phenomenal 200 rounds per minute. He sincerely believed that his invention would end war by making it unthinkable to use due to the horrific carnage possible by his weapons. The Gatling gun was a hand-driven, crank-operated, multi-barrel, machine gun. The first machine gun with reliable loading, the Gatling gun had the ability to fire sustained multiple bursts. In 1864 Dr. Gatling sent out flyers to Union generals and politicians in which he stated the moral and mechanical values of his gun.

It is confidently believed that no body of troops could be made to withstand the fire of such a death-dealing weapon, for the reason that men will not fight on such terms of inequality, or when there is no chance of victory .... The great object to be attained, and which every patriot should have at heart, is to crush the rebellion, and to do so, with the greatest possible savings of life and treasure. How can this be done? Only in one way - by crushing the military power of the rebellious states - and the same means of accomplishing that result is to strengthen our armies; and the way to do that, is to arm our soldiers with this gun.” (Hoffman)

During World War I machine gun was a fairly primitive device when general war began in August 1914. Due to new discoveries of weapons in the late 19th beginning of 20th century America became one of the most powerful and economically highest countries. Its GDP increased ten times during the World War I, considering America suffered a little comparing with other countries. Considering the point that America was a British colony, it supplied Britain with its military technologies. Moreover, America being almost outside of the World War I gave to many countries money for credits, thus increasing its economy. A lot of military equipments were introduced in 19th century, but were not practiced. First World War was a good chance to use new weapons; as a result militarism became one of the main causes of outbreak of World War I.

Militarism also built up the tension and fear among the Great Powers of Europe. Britain at the time was the largest empire in the world, and it also had the largest navy. As a result, Kaiser William II hated Britain for having a stronger navy than his. He increased the German navy and built many warships. Britain responded by building more ships and increasing its navy too. This started a race for building more and better warships and it created tension and competition between two nations. All conflicts in Europe resulted in the building up of the nation's army and navy.(Hong Kong Association of History Educators) Such race only could end in war. Moreover, militarism put too much of power into the hands of the General Staff of every country. That was not conductive to the maintenance of peace. It also ruined machinery control international relations. Although the two Hague conferences in 1899 and 1907 tried to slow down the armament race among the powers, especially between Germany and Britain, they failed because militarism in Germany was very popular. German refusal for cooperation contributed to the failure of these two conferences. After these two unsuccessful attempts, the powers lost their confidence in any international machinery to rebuild a new balance of power. On the contrary, they further increased their military ability. By 1914, all of the Powers spent a great preparation of their budgets on military purposes and had a large standing army as well as millions of trained reserves among the civilian population. The above military preparation for war was so successful that the powers' confidence and ability to settle disputes or scramble for more national interests by war was strengthened. As a result, militarism increased international crisis and tension. For example: the two Moroccan Crises in Africa in 1908 and 1911 were partly a result of Germany, France, and Britain militarism. Kaiser William II dared openly challenged France in Morocco mainly because of the naval expansion in 1899 and 1900, and army. Indeed, Germany's Black Panther in the 3rd Moroccan Crisis further challenged British naval Power. Militarism contributed to the outbreak of conflicts in Balkan too. In 1914 Austria dared to declare war on Serbia a...