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Advancements in American technology During World War Two.

By: Period: 5

During World War 2 the United States made many technological improvements that changed the outcome of the war dramatically. The rate at which new inventions and advances in technology greatly improved the chances of the United States during the war. The scientists and engineers that were developing these technological masterpieces worked at a feverish rate to stay in the lead with the technological superiority. The United States were pioneers in fields such as radar, bombsights and small arms manufacturing. These key fields are why the United States had the upper hand in the war. The United States had the technological advantage over the enemy because of the improvements in technology during World War 2. Many technological advances were made during World War 2. Some of these technological advances were much more important that others. Radar was one of the most important inventions of the war. Without radar the war might have ended much differently. Before the war many people used radio waves to detect objects but the range and effectiveness was limited . During the war American scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. started to experiment with making radar a more efficient and user friendly technology.(1) Radar technology works by transmitting strong, short pulses of radio energy into the air in a specific direction using what is called a directional antenna. When these pulses hit an object like a ship, or aircraft they bounce off the object and back to the antenna. These signals are then converted into an electric signal and shown on screen where they can be viewed by an operator. It can also be used day and night and in all weather conditions. (2) This means that you can see enemy planes and ships before they are visible to the naked eye. This makes radar a viable solution to the problem of early warning devices being ineffective. Radar could be mounted to planes, ships and even carried in the backs of trucks. This meant that the

technology was highly mobile and effective everywhere in the world making it one of the most important technological advancements for the Americans during World War 2. The improvements in planes led to much more effective bombing. New and improved bomb sights made it easier for the crew of the plane to deliver their bombs with new found accuracy and devastation. Before these sights were invented, bombs were dropped by hand and had no means of aiming it. The World War 2 bombsight determines, in real time, both the range and the course of the plane so as to calculate the proper moment for releasing a bomb. The sight must also compensate for air resistance, which will cause the bomb to trail behind the plane, and cross winds, which will make it drift downwind to the side of the plane's path. The bomb sight is also calibrated to the type of bomb so that factors such as weight and ballistics are also accounted for. (3) with the addition of bomb sights to planes arsenals, the us military started to create heavy bombers like the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-29 Superfortress. These World War 2 bombers were equipped with these sights and were extremely effective. The planes could hit a moving train from 32,000 feet. (4) Small arms were also being made cheaper, faster and more deadly. The United States main battle rifle was the M1 Garand. This rifle was in many peoples eyes the perfect rifle in the history of the world. General George s. Patton stated, It [the M1 Garand] is the greatest battle implement ever devised. He said this for good reason too. The rifle fired the massive 30-06 cartridge and had an effective range of 500 yards.(5) The rifle was also semi-automatic making it instantly superior to the German Mauser and Japanese Arisaka rifles which were both bolt action. The M1 Garand changed the tide of the war because you could get 8 rounds downrange

before the enemy had the chance to get one round off and cycle hid gun to the next round. The American troops loved the rifle and many kept theirs after the war because the gun was so good. Nuclear power is one of the most mysterious and powerful sources of energy in the world. During the war the Manhattan Project was created to build a nuclear bomb. The project started because scientists from Germany fled the Nazi regime and came to America to warn the United Stated about the dangers of the technology in the Axis hands. (6) Once scientists such as Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi told President Roosevelt about the Axis scientific technology, he created the Manhattan Project. The project was small at first but it grew over time to a well funded ($2 Billion) and well staffed (120,000) project. By the summer of 1945 the project was ready to test the first nuclear device codenamed Gadget.(7) The project was a success and word reached Roosevelt. The worlds had entered the nuclear age. At the end of World War 2 the United States dropped little Boy, a 16 KT bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. This catastrophic event was followed by another. Little Boys brother Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki 3 days later. Fat Man was much more technologically advanced that little boy and yielded a 21KT blast. Harry S. Truman said sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe, the force from which the sun draws its powers has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East. We have spent 2 billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history and won.