In today�s world war plays a very important role in people�s lives. Some of these wars date as far back as the Roman Empire and Alexander the Great, while others are just being born and brought to the doorstep of the world. In 1939 this world was introduced to World War II. Although this war was based in Europe, it would touch the lives of people in every continent across the world, and have a massive impact on governments and civilians alike. It was also during this time that many advancements were emerging into the world. The United States of America made many technological advancements to their weaponry, armed forces, and the types of warfare crucial to the allied victory in World War II.
The advancements to weaponry in America during the 1930�s to 1940�s greatly influenced the tides of battle for the allies. The firearms of the time were becoming faster, increased accuracy, and more lethal. The M-1 Carbine was the standard semi-automatic rifle for all American troops and was later fitted to be fully automatic. The bazooka, invented in 1941 by American scientists, was first used in the invasion of North Africa in war and proved to be excellent anti-tank warfare. It was also during this time that bullets were upgraded from the pinfire type to the rimfire type. The rimfire type proved to be more precise and damaging because of its finer texture and cartridge case. Miscellaneous advancements include chemical agent weapons (i.e. nerve gas, mustard gas), flame-throwers, improved hand grenades, and other minor adjustments to firearms in general. The Americans during World War II also improved upon vehicles. On land the use of M-60 and M-1 main battle tanks were common. These tanks were often outfitted with a 105-mm gun, a 120-mm gun, or two to four 0.50 caliber machine guns. Also, the use of assault vehicles, armored transports, and tracked vehicles became more involved as technology grew. In the air many advancements were made as well. �The United States Airforce grew to its top strength during World War II� (World War II 10). Aircraft used by the Americans include the P-51 Mustang long-range fighter, bombers such as the B-17, B-24 Liberator, the B-25, and the B-29 (Enola Gay). It was these aircraft that coordinated air attacks, firebombing, the atomic bombing, and ground support that was crucial in gaining the upperhand. The sea was also the target of advancements. �The Navy had the most powerful fleet ever. It had 3,400,000 men and women and 2,500 ships, including 24 battleships, 35 aircraft carriers, 77 escort carriers, 92 cruisers, 501 destroyers, 406 destroyer escorts, and 262 submarines� (Ziemke 4). As one can see by the numbers the United States Navy was the world�s finest and would not be rivaled. Another form of weaponry greatly advanced was firepower. These advancements include anti-aircraft weapons of 20-mm, 37-mm, 40-mm, 90-mm, 3-in, and 5-in, rockets with proximity fuses, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, non-nuclear bombs such as firebombs, and of course the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
The United States Armed Forces in general was one of the world�s best and is still today. Much advancement was made to the different divisions during World War II. The Army expanded from 190,000 men in 1939 to about 8,270,000 in 1945, just six years. The Selective Service Act required citizens from 21 to 35 years old to register for a year of military service, later the age was lowered to 18. The army also became more centralized and the hierarchy of rank and power was reorganized and distributed as to control its vast new expanse of men and women. �It was during this time that the Army took part in the greatest amphibious attack in history that added a new dimension to warfare in the landing in Normandy, France, in 1944� (Tobias 93). The United States Navy also saw advancements. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii the Navy made a quick recovery by salvaging sunk ships and repairing the many devastated ships. By the end of the war the United States Navy had secured its supremacy in the oceans across the globe. Similar changes from the army were also seen in the navy as it also became centralized and the hierarchy reorganized. The airforce, a major factor to the allied victory was also expanded. With its new aircraft the airforce was able to transport by helicopter or plane in a coordinated attack, survey areas, and take on the crucial task of bombing axis nations. Although the airforce is combined with individual airforces from the army and navy, it alone was larger than many of the other allied or axis powers and was a major key in coordinating army movement and naval support. Some other important armed forces employed during World War II were the Special Forces. This was a division of the army, navy, or airforce that was composed of units of specially selected men to perform specialized or covert objectives of the more dangerous nature.
With World War II came many new and improved forms of warfare. �The importance of guerilla warfare, amphibious warfare, mountain warfare, winter warfare, and sheer firepower was demonstrated on all fronts during World War II� (Hart 29). With improved equipment, know how, and communications, the ability to plan, organize, and carry out military actions were made much more complex, but logical. These new types of warfare took everything into consideration from topography to emotional reactions of the enemy. In doing this attacks were made at the enemies geographical and emotional weak points. Examples of these can be seen in every major military action during the war. The Normandy invasion, the largest amphibious attack ever organized took advantage of the northern shorelines of France to break through German lines. On the other hand, the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan was not just to take out military bases, but to strike fear and hopelessness into the hearts and minds of the Japanese people. In this way it is easy for one to see just how much the types of warfare have advanced since the First World War.
�From 1939 to 1945 the world was engaged in World War II, and although the economic, political, and social costs were phenomenal, some of the most important advancements in warfare were made� (Bishop 109) It is clearly seen that the technological advancements in weaponry, armed forces, and types of warfare were one of the determining factors crucial to the allied victory during World War II. No one can change the past, nor can they predict the future, and even though war is horrific, it will no doubtly occur again and again, repeating history as it comes along.
Bishop, Denis, and Chris Ellis. Military Transport of World War II: Including Post-War Vehicles. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc, 1975.
Hart, Gary, and William S. Lind. America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform. Fairfield, Pennsylvania: Adler &Adler, Publishers, Inc., 1986.
Tobias, Sheila, et al. What Kinds of Guns Are They Buying For Your Butter? New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1982.
�World War II.� World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book, Inc., 1997.
Ziemke, Earl F. �World War II.� Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation, 1997.