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VIII. The Importance of Energy in the First and Second World Wars

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009

W. G. Jensen
Affiliation:
National Coal Board

Extract

Modern technical and scientific development has altered war from a contest between men into a combat between machines. Even the development of firearms did not bring about a change of this magnitude, since firearms went into combat propelled by animal energy (of man and beast). This change-over occurred first at sea when steam engines started to propel ships of war. In days of sail at sea a great deal depended on the purely human factor of seamanship. With the introduction of ships moved by machinery all came depend on the quality and power of this machinery. Drake, De Ruyter Nelson, with all their skill or experience, could have done nothing against steam man-of-war. On land this development took longer. Throughout nineteenth century railways carried men and beasts to the scene of combat and brought them their supplies, but on the battlefield men and horses carried the weapons of war into battle. The invention of the petroleum-driven internal combustion engine changed all that. For the first time man commanded the power necessary to propel engines freely over land and in the air, an invention which had already occupied the imagination of Leonardo da Vinci and appeared in the prophetic writings of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1968

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References

1 Fontaine, A., L'Industrie française pendant la guerre (Oxford, 1925), pp. 40–2 and 46.Google Scholar

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20 The size of the Afrika Korps was limited by the fuel and transport factor.

21 Birkenfeld, W., Der Synthetische Treibstoff 1933–1945 (Gottingen, 1964), p. 157.Google Scholar

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25 Ibid. pp. 53 64, and 99.

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35 Birkenfeld, , op. cit. p. 125.Google Scholar

36 Ibid. pp. 140 and 172.

37 Birkenfeld, , op. cit. p. 153.Google Scholar

38 Ibid. p. 154.

39 Ibid. p. 156.

40 Birkenfeld, op. cit. p. 224.

41 Ibid. p. 209.

42 For Dr Wallis' tactics concerning energy in the second World War (and the official reaction to it) see The Sunday Times of 19 January 1964.

43 Klein, , op. cit. p. 233.Google Scholar

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