Military History/Book


Hi, is there a book that talks about technologies that we are using on our daily lives that are derived from the military? (ie. internet, computer, GPS, etc.)


I don't know of a book, but there are articles:


This is not a recent trend, man and governments have always put a lot of effort into military technology.  As far back as Leonardo Di Vinci who was hired to invent technologies for military use.  Even as far back as roman time.

Some inventions pioneered by or for the militay:

Canned food  by the French (in glass) to feed Napoleon's Grand Armee. Later perfected by the Brits by using cans.  Other perserved foods such as freeze drying also had military applications.

The Aeroplane, before WWI the aeroplane was a curiosity, money and brain power infused into aeronautics in WWI led to rapid development in the interwar years and within a mere 50 years we went from paper and wire planes to putting men in space.

Plastic surgery and medicine.  Most if not all medical advances in epidemiology and plastic surgery and surgery were in response to war time needs.  Treatments for malaria, and prevention against typhus both scourges and mass killers during wartime of soldiers and civilians alike were found in response to miltary necessity.  Scrub Typhus (called that because the infection is caused by the host scratching and rubbing the feces of the typhus bearing lice into a break in the skin as a result of the itching.  The feces contains the typhus microorganism.  Typhus is believe to be the killer of more of Napoleons troop during his invasion of Russia than actual combat.  They have found mass graves in Eastern Russia and Poland indicating the scale of the deaths among his troops.

Plastic surgery techniques came about by the horrific wounds inflicted by modern weapons in WWI.

Minaturization, of not only electronics but also electric motors.  Small high torque electric motors were invented to power the gun turrets on American bombers in WWII.  These found many applications in industry after the war as well as products.  The miniaturization of electronics particularly the transistor led to many civilian products.

Small hand held two way radios were invented by the military and found their way into civilian use.

GPS and the Internet more recently were invented by the military and found popular use in civilian life.

GPS was designed for military use and had an encoded error in the signal that only units possessing a special chip could decode and give the correct coordinates.  During the Gulf War I  this was turned off, since there were not enough military chip equiped units for all our troops.  During this period civilian use exploded and companies lobbied congress who funded the system to prevent the military from reintroducing the error into the signal.  Thus was borne the GPS industry from ONstar to your cell phone GPS to your car GPS.  I often wonder what happens in the next big war when our opponent has smart weapons that use GPS and our military turns the error back on.  You might not find your car GPS give accurate directions!

The roman legions built roads for military use and found they increased civilian trade and commerce.

Mtalurgy was an early invention of the militaries to forge weapons that then found civilian uses.

In our own history, Eli Whitney got a grant from Congress to make innerchangeable parts for weapons, muskets.  He used the profits from this to invent the cotton gin which revolutionized the textile industry of the south.

Thermal Imaging for weapons guidance led to thermal sensors for improving heating and cooling efficiency of homes and businesses.

Satellite imagery, starting with aerial photography and radar images, led to the remote sensing industry where the technology is used for forest and crop inventory, city planning, environmental monitoring, and weather forecasting and mapping.

Helicopters  were made for and perfected by the military and are now used in a host of civilian applications.

Computers used during WWII were huge mechanical analog devices with a host of knobs and dials requireing many men to work.  They were used to target the large guns on battleships by making the triangulation calculations necessary.  On either side of the large gun turrets are prism range finders that reflect an image of the target to each of the viewer's eyes, two images, they adjust the image to overlap to form one image.  The distance between the prisms is known, an forms the base of the triangle.  Once the two images overlap they have the second and third sides of the triangle and the angles formed with the base and can do the calculations to determine the length of the sides and the perpendicular from the tip to the base...the range to target.  This was done with the large mechanical computer.  These same analog mechanical computers were used for other purposes such as the nationa census.  Eventually digital computers were invented to do this work quicker and the computer as we know it today was born.  It just took the work of others to minaturize it, and as with most inventions, it was a lot of small steps by many people and not just one great leap forward.  Remember how large portable phones used to be?  A small flip phone was only seen on Star Trek and still needed a tuner  Now we have phones smaller than anything seen on Star Trek and capable of doing almost everything their phones and Spocks Triquarter could do in the size of a small note pad.

Military History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Keith H. Patton


I can answer questions pertaining to weapons and tactics, personalities, battles, and strategies in european and U.S. history.


I was a history major, and had done extensive research in the subject area. I have designed and tested numerous computer games for various
historical periods.

B.A History M.S. Science
I have had the opportunity to live abroad and walk numerous battlefields both in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

©2016 All rights reserved.