the role of technology in armed conflict in the twentieth century.
Role of Technology in Armed Conflicts
The Role of Technology in Armed Conflict in the 20th century
With the rapid advance in technology, the society has been influence in several ways that had never been witnessed before the 20th century. All aspects of human life have undergone transformation in one way or another. Today, even the art of war, conflict and conflict resolution between nations has taken a new course with the injection of modern machines and ideas based on the most current technological systems. Its effects are immense especially on the negative side and cannot be ignored by human nature. Armed conflicts have been experienced since the 18th century and still exist presently. As nations look for ways to deal with their adversaries, new ways of the art of war are invented and the result is a prolonged armed warfare that threatens human life and global stability.
This research is based on the current armed conflicts between nations and emerging issues like terrorism and how technology has been used to that effect. Further, it explores how the art of war has evolved wit technological advancements over the years right from the 18th and 19th centuries when the two phases of world war took place. The art of war has witnessed tremendous evolution in terms of ideas and weapons based on up to date technology systems. The results are prolonged conflicts that have deprived many nations of peace.
This research is significant in drawing the world’s attention to the huge negative aspects of modern warfare based on the dangers posed by the deployment of advanced weapons such as drones into war (Biddle, 2010). The world needs to come up with better legal frameworks that clearly define the legalities within which this weaponry can be applied, taking into account the international humanitarian law as well as universal human rights. This research is a huge stride towards eliminating human suffering and making the world a better place for all.
To further understand how technology has transformed the art of war a look at the various scholarly sources is key. Several researchers have written on how war has been fought over the past centuries. ( Cordesman and Wagner 1999) points out that nations have always used their past experience in the battlefield to develop new skills that include new weapons. The 1st world war was fought using simple weapons that included tanks invented by Britain, flame-throwers, grenades, poison gas and trench mortars among others. These weapons not only caused death during the war but also had residual effects on those who survived especially poison gases.
The timelines that have affected the way modern armed war is fought has largely drawn from technological advancements. Technology had evolved within the years separating the major war events in history making nations better equipped than before.During this period, new weapons have developed including sub-machine guns, rifles, machine guns, V2 rockets, anti-air craft guns and the infamous atomic bomb. These were largely advancements from the first world war. The world felt the intensity of the war more than it had in world war 1.The atomic bomb was one of those weapons that changed the art of war and whose effect is felt to date.
Since then, the world has witnessed steady advancements in the art of war (Metz and Kievit, 1994). The traditional weapons have been upgraded to meet the demands of the time. New weapons have been invented and even tested. Today, the world has to live with new weapons such as Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).These are designed to carry out remote attacks by allowing the attacker to attack from a point far away from where the impact is going to be felt. This were first invented and tested by the U.S and as a result, many countries across the world have followed suit.
In order to highlight the changes (Biddle, 2010) points out that in the present world, military training across nations has also advanced with technology. He argues that unlike the past, more emphasis is being put on technology and terms such as cyberspace. This is war fought on space whereby a nation seeks to gain advantage over her adversary by destroying computer systems and obtaining sensitive data and information that the latter intends to keep secret .Hi work also points out to the fact that cyberspace is common today and nations are changing from the ancient conventional spying techniques. Most nations argue that it is a normal strategy of ensuring security and stability of their citizens by simply knowing what your enemy thinks of you. This technique has heightened tensions among nations and is a brewing disaster that will drag the world into a conflict in the near future.
These advanced technologies have raised legal issues across the world (Nye and Owens, 1996) through their research however argue that new weapons and technology in war can be applied within a legal frame work agreed by both parties and without any contravention of International Humanitarian Law. It calls for proper legalization of this new art of war but how and when this can be applied remains a huge challenge to those involved.
The introduction of new technology into war has put the way nations interpret and apply the law and in particular the four fundamental parts of the International Humanitarian Law at stake largely due to the fact that any war is a violation of the fundamental human right of life (Watkin,2004) These include; The obligation by all parties to ensure the legality of weapons used is within acceptable limits, distinction of the targeted enemy to avoid attack on innocent civilians, proportionality of the weapons used to match the intensity of the war and precautions to be taken at all times.
The International Committee of the Red Cross through research and data collection discovered flaws in the application of technology in war and has been at the forefront in advocating for massive overhaul of the way technology is being applied in war. Special emphasis is being put on the need to stop killer robots and autonomous weapon systems due to the huge danger posed to human life. By embarking on consultations with stakeholders, ICRC intends to bring the world’s attention to the need to avert the application of certain technologies in warfare. As an integral member of civil society initiatives aimed at humanitarian disarmament, ICRC seeks to use its influence to show to the world the impending disaster caused by continued use of modern technology in war.
Technology has changed the world in a major way and its influence can be felt by all (Cordesman and Wagner, 1999). The impact has been both negative and positive but and it’s upon all nations to regulate the use of dangerous weapons in warfare. Through their research, they came to a conclusion that war can be avoided if the parties involved are willing so as to avert the dangers that come with war. One of the most common war in the world has been to counter terrorism. Terrorists have caused nations to look for better ways to deal with the vice as it has also evolved with technological advancements. The wars between nations should be seen as a danger to human life and avoided at all costs owing to the fact that it is human life that is at stake.
Janowitz, M. (1976). Military institutions and citizenship in western societies. Armed forces & society, 2(2), 185-204.Nye, J. S., & Owens, W. A. (1996). America’s information edge. FOREIGN AFFAIRS-NEW YORK-, 75, 20-36
Cordesman, A. H., & Wagner, A. R. (1999). The lessons of modern war, Volume IV: The Gulf war (Vol. 4). Westview Pr.
Watkin, K. (2004). Controlling the use of force: a role for human rights norms in contemporary armed conflict. American Journal of International Law, 1-34.
Metz, S., & Kievit, J. (1994). The Revolution in Military Affairs and Conflict Short of War. ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA.
Biddle, S. (2010). Military power: Explaining victory and defeat in modern battle. Princeton University