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HIST365/STS203: History of Technology

Unit 8: World War and Superpowers   Since your introduction to the Scientific Revolution (Unit 5), you have witnessed a powerful synthesis of industrialization, nationalism, social Darwinism, and imperialism. In this unit, you will learn about the two world wars that marked the end of unbounded faith in these developments and the beginning of a more critical approach to technological progress.
 
This unit presents World War I as a showcase of cutting-edge technologies and applied sciences of the period – metallurgical, chemical, and medical. It explains the profound cultural consequences of this war and how disenchantment in technological progress fueled anti-Western sentiment in Russia, which contributed to the Soviet takeover. In addition, you will learn about the dangerous competition between the United States and the Soviet Union that followed World War II. This period had great implications for the history of technology, especially in nuclear weaponry and space exploration. Also in this unit, you will take a close look at World War II technologies such as the atomic bomb, which in turn sparked the Cold War.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 11 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 4.25 hours ☐    Subunit 8.1.1: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 8.1.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 8.1.3: 0.75 hours
 

☐    Subunit 8.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3: 3 hours   
     
☐    Subunit 8.4: 1.75 hours

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- identify major technologies of WWI; - identify chemical weapons used in WWI; - compare and contrast technologies of WWI and WWII; - explain the cultural consequences of Total War; - define the Sharashka phenomenon in Soviet history; - explain how to enrich uranium; - identify physicists involved in the Manhattan Project; and - explain the ideological significance of technologies during the Cold War.

8.1 The Great War   8.1.1 Lesson Lost: Monitor vs. Virginia   - Reading: U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command: “Action between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, 9 March 1862” Link: U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command: “Action between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, 9 March 1862” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this short account of a Civil War stalemate for a “lesson lost” to the industrial nations later involved in World War I. Be sure to enjoy the images of these early warships.
 
Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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8.1.2 Industry, Technology, and War   - Reading: BBC History: Dr. Stephen Badsey’s “The Western Front and the Birth of Total War” Link: BBC History: Dr. Stephen Badsey’s “The Western Front and the Birth of Total War” (HTML)
                                           
Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the text for an overview of World War One and how industrialization and progressive technology both fueled the war and brought it to stalemate in the trenches. Only the introduction of tanks and airplanes effectively broke that stalemate on the ground.
 
Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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  • Reading: National Center for Biotechnology Information: American Journal of Public Health: Gerald J. Fitzgerald’s “Chemical Warfare and Medical Response during World War I” Link: National Center for Biotechnology Information: American Journal of Public Health: ** Gerald J. Fitzgerald’s “Chemical Warfare and Medical Response during World War I” (HTML or PDF)
     
    Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the entire article for a close look at the destructive ends toward which applied science (subunit 7.4) was directed in the Great War. To access the PDF file, click on the PDF link under “Formats.” Notice how all major nations became involved in the development of chemical agents. Also, note the appearance of the gas mask and the (largely failed) attempt to ban chemical weapons.
     
    Reading and note-taking should take approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
     
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8.1.3 Heroism Dead: Shell Shock   - Reading: BBC: Professor Joanna Bourke’s “Shell Shock during World War One” Link: BBC: Professor Joanna Bourke’s “Shell Shock during World War One” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Industrial warfare had severe psychological consequences for millions of soldiers. Read this piece on the diagnosis and cure for so-called “shell shock” when psychiatry was still in its infancy.
 
Reading and note-taking should take approximately 45 minutes.
 
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8.2 Soviet Industrialization   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: “Joseph Stalin: Industrialization of the Country, 1928” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook“Joseph Stalin: Industrialization of the Country, 1928” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above, and read the brief primary reading from Stalin on the subject of industrialization. Notice how he recognizes the industrial might of his enemies, especially Germany. Stalin explains the need for a planned top-down economic boost – his Five Year Plan.
 
Studying this reading should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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  • Reading: Russian History Blog: Asif Siddiqi’s “The Sharashka Phenomenon” Link: Russian History Blog: Asif Siddiqi’s “The Sharashka Phenomenon” (HTML)
                         
    Instructions: Read this account of the highly ambiguous position that scientists and engineers occupied in Stalinist Russia. One the one hand, Stalin labeled educated professionals as “bourgeois” and elitist and imprisoned thousands of them under fabricated pretenses; on the other hand, he wished to industrialize and militarize the nation, forcing many scientists and engineers to work in labor camps (Gulags).
     
    Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
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8.3 World War II   8.3.1 The Military-Industrial-University Complex   - Reading: President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Farewell Address, 1961” Link: President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Farewell Address, 1961” (HTML)
                     
Instructions: Read this transcript of President Eisenhower’s farewell address, which discusses the union between industry and the military that had formed during WWII. Pay close attention to section IV, in which he warns against military interests having too strong an influence over university research. He certainly had the Manhattan Project in mind.  
 
Reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
 
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8.3.2 The Manhattan Project   - Web Media: YouTube: University of California Television’s “The Moment in Time: The Manhattan Project” Link: University of California Television’s “The Moment in Time: The Manhattan Project” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above, and watch this documentary of the Manhattan Project based on interviews with the actual physicists involved, including Robert Oppenheimer. Take notes on nuclear fission, the work at Los Alamos, the Trinity Test, and the bombings of Japan.
 
Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
 
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  • Reading: E-World: Glenn Elert’s version of “Albert Einstein’s Letters to Franklin Delano Roosevelt” Link: E-World: Glenn Elert’s version of “Albert Einstein's Letters to Franklin Delano Roosevelt” (HTML)
                                               
    Instructions: Read Einstein’s first and fourth letters to Roosevelt. Notice his concern that research into the destructive potential of uranium had advanced in Germany, and his fervent call that the U.S. government begin an atomic program and forge closer ties with the scientific community. The result was the Manhattan Project.
     
    Reading and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
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8.4 The Cold War   8.4.1 Aeronautics and the Space Race   - Reading: Wings over Kansas/Chance Communications: Pamela Feltus’ “Aerospace Power and the Cold War” Link: Wings over Kansas/Chance Communications: Pamela Feltus’ “Aerospace Power and the Cold War” (HTML)

 Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this short account
of how the competition between the United States and Soviet Union
determined advances in aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft
technology.  

 Reading and note-taking should take approximately 45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.4.2 The Nuclear Stockpile   - Reading: Federation of American Scientists: Lawrence Korb’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction: the U.S. Experience” Link: Federation of American Scientists: Lawrence Korb’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction: The U.S. Experience” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above, and read this piece on a most troubling legacy of the Cold War: the massive stockpile of nuclear warheads still in existence in both the Soviet Union and United States as well as nuclear proliferation.

 Reading and note-taking should take approximately 45 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.4.3 The “Kitchen Debate” (Khrushchev/Nixon)   - Web Media: YouTube: AmpexDataSystems’ “The Kitchen Debate, Part II” Link: YouTube: AmpexDataSystems’ “The Kitchen Debate, Part II” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above, and view this entire video. In 1959, President Nixon and Premier Khrushchev met in Moscow to discuss the industrial accomplishments of their respective nations, including kitchen and household appliances. In the exchange, notice the tension between these two men, and how communications technology had political and ideological significance.
 
Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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Unit 8 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Assessment” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Assessment” (HTML)

 Instructions: Complete the linked assessment.  
    
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