How the World Has Changed Since World War I

Over the past year, I’ve been reading books inspired by the centenary of World War I, a war with horrific casualties painful to contemplate. What helps in comprehending the scale of the slaughter is a book by one of Bill Gates’ favorite authors, the Canadian academic Vaclav Smil, “Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact.”

Smil leads the reader through the invention and development of electricity, oil production and distribution, the automobile, steelmaking, the telephone, the airplane and the production of synthetic ammonia — to his mind the most important because without it agriculture couldn’t feed the world’s 6 billion people.

  • tom_billesley

    The Haber-Bosch process for synthesis of ammonia was the solution to the blockade that cut off Germany’s supply of saltpeter from Chile. The need to produce explosives led to an agricultural boon. Sort of “swords into ploughshares”.

  • mauser 98

    US Civil War was first mechanized war. trenches,trains,telegraph, rapid fire weapons
    South had no chance…. the power of industry

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      Slave based economies are inherently inferior.
      Slaves cost a lot in upkeep.
      And their presence discourages innovation.

      • mauser 98

        innovation made slaves obsolete

        • dance…dancetotheradio

          And no one recalls that The Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln wanted to send them all back to Africa.

          • mauser 98

            Robert E Lee was totally against slavery

            Abe despised blacks

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Here is the biggest change since the Great War. On its eve, Europe was the standard bearer of civilization, with scientific and cultural achievements unmatched in history. That all went downhill starting with Flanders fields and continuing through World War II to the present day. The continent has been punch drunk for the last century and is now sliding helplessly into dhimmitude.