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World War 2 More Beneficial To Humanity Than Not?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:50 pm

Before anyone points it out, World War II had a huge impact on the people involved. Millions of people were murdered brutally and that can never be forgotten. Please consider this as more of an academic brainstorm than anything else, I certainly don’t mean to belittle the things that happened or cause offence.

With that over, read on for my topic.

Without WW2 we wouldn’t have had such a huge advance in aviation, flying boats would have reigned supreme for much longer due to the lack of long runways. The jet engine wouldn’t have been developed as quickly which means no fast cheap aviation travel.

Without WW2 there would have been no Manhattan project, as the nuclear bomb wasn’t needed. No nuclear weapons means no ICBMs as there was no need to lob small conventional bombs halfway around the world. No ICBMs means no space race, as the military need for large rockets wouldn’t have existed, and all space based research would have been relegated to civilian agencies. NASA wouldn’t have been funded to the same extent because there would have been no rival to beat. No space race means no satellites, severely limiting global communications and other things.

No WW2 means no urgent need to decode military encryption (enigma) which means computers would have been set back a great deal as they weren’t needed. RADAR and similar radio based technological advancements wouldn’t have occurred which would leave long distance communications to telephone lines.

The Internet wouldn’t have been created when it did, both because of the lack of computers and the lack of requirement for it militarily.

Medical advances in antibiotics and other treatments wouldn’t have happened as quickly, as there was no need for them on the battlefield.

The US would have remained within its isolationist policy, negating the advances it has given other countries since. The British Empire would have lasted longer, perhaps to this day. No WW2 means no military build-up in Europe, which also means no Soviet occupation of a lot of Eastern Europe which, combined with the US isolationist policy, means no cold war, or at most a vastly reduced one.

A lot of 20th century development occurred because of governmental funding due to war. Where would we be without it? A lot of the above things would have probably happened anyway eventually, but how much later than they actually did?

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RE: World War 2 More Beneficial To Humanity Than Not?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:14 pm

My thought is that you just making history very easy.
Some technologies wouldn't have been developed that quickly but eventually.
I think you're going a bit too far. In a war technology develops quicker, sure.
Funding is a big deal there.
But you're almost saying that nothing of that would have ever been invented withot WW2 and that is not true.
Think about great inventions which were invented much later without a state of war everywhere.

There is one problem with airbus. Though their products are engineering marvels they lack passion, completely.
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RE: World War 2 More Beneficial To Humanity Than Not?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:56 pm

War-especially a huge, cataclysmic one ,can often be an engine for changes in society far beyond the fighting. World War II is a prime example of that.

Yes, all those changes you speak of ended up benefitting humanity, but it cannot be said the war benefitted humanity in general. And who's to say the changes still would not have taken places in short order anyway.

There is no way, looking back 60 years, and saying with certainty that the advances we made because of the war would not have taken place, or would have taken a lot longer to occur. That's conjecture only, although it does make for good conversation.
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RE: World War 2 More Beneficial To Humanity Than Not?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:27 pm

It's certainly an interesting conundrum. UPenn developed that computer with Sperry (Univac?) in order to more accurately and speedily calculate artillery trajectories for range cards, and Pearl Harbor forced our navy to focus on aircraft carriers rather than battlewagons which took our r&d in new directions with an incredible impetus that would not have been there otherwise.

We probably would have developed much of what we currently have, but it would have happened much more slowly, and many things that are dangerous and risky, would not have happened at all without competition of some kind.

Look at what happened to NASA once the space race was over. It languished.

INteresting thought, but in the end it's an exercise in alternate history and what-ifs. The lesson to be learned is that most great advancements in this world came about because someone was competing with someone else and they wanted to win so they took risks and lived dangerously.

Perhaps the bean counters operating in safety should remember that on occasion.
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RE: World War 2 More Beneficial To Humanity Than Not?

Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:00 pm

You have to remember that the world had been quite happy with what they had before the war. I'm sure they did okay without digital watches and mobile phones etc. You don't miss what you don't know.

Having said that, even in the 21st century we can't get far from a war or some sort of conflict. I'm fairly sure that there would have been some other war that would have led to the development of the things we have today. Things may not have developped so fast but are we really better off with some of the things we take for granted today?

Probably not.
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RE: World War 2 More Beneficial To Humanity Than Not?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 1:09 am

Some of the technological advances we take for granted, particularly in aviation, happened (or their development started) before WW2 -- variable pitch propellors, slats, retractable undercarriage etc. and that includes the jet engine and the rocket engine. The war speeded them up considerably, but I don't think we'd still be motoring across the country in DC-7s without the war.

You can pick almost any cataclysmic event and speculate on what would have happened if the event didn't occur; WW2 may not even be the most dramatic example of that. For instance, apply the same argument to WW1; the American Revolution; the US Civil War; the Russo-Japanese war; the Russian Revolution. Or how about the Battle of Hastings?
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RE: World War 2 More Beneficial To Humanity Than Not?

Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:23 am

I like airplanes, but I think that the speedy development of variable pitch propellers, jet turbines, etc. are more than eclipsed by the death, upheaval, and political enslavement of tens of millions of people the world over. All the material things advanced by WWII don't begin to make up for the utter calamity of this war and its aftermath.

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