Issue n. 5 (2022): Science, Technology, and Close Encounters in War

The fifth Issue of the Close Encounters in War Journal addresses the topic “Science, Technology, and Close Encounters in War”. The interconnection among these three fields of human experience has always been strong and controversially fruitful. Since prehistoric flint-headed arrows and spears evolved from hunting tools into weapons, all the different peoples introduced technological innovations that changed the face of warfare. Hittites fought on charts; the Greek infantry consisted of heavy-armoured hoplites; Roman legionnaires fought with the deadly iron gladius and invented innovative war machines and techniques to besiege enemy cities and fortify their positions; and Frank horsemen used the stirrup to ride stably, thus giving birth to modern cavalry. In medieval Japan, the Samurais fought with the katana, a sword that was a masterpiece of metallurgy and craftsmanship. During the sixteenth century, firearms appeared on European battlefields, which changed warfare forever (also inspiring Ludovico Ariosto’s contempt for such a non-heroic way of fighting). Although hand-to-hand weapons remained the first source of wounding until the early twentieth century, artillery gained an increasingly dominant role on the battlefield, especially during the Napoleonic campaigns in Europe (1803-1815) and the American Civil War (1861-1865), with significant psychological effects on the soldiers. The increase in firepower rocketed in twentieth-century wars, as the millions of shells of all calibres – including gas bombs – fired on the western front between 1914 and 1918 show. During the Second World War hundreds of thousands of tons of high-explosive were dropped on Europe and Japan and two atomic bombs destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This started the Cold War and the era of the “nuclear deterrent”, a new form of technological and strategic warfare that had profoundly imprinted our culture over the last seven decades.

The entire Issue n. 5 and the single contributions can be downloaded below:

Issue n. 5 (2022): Science, Technology, and Close Encounters in War

Introduction to Issue n. 5, by the Editors

Christian Kehrt: Science, Technology and War. An Interview with Prof. Christian Kehrt

Gianluca Cinelli: Fighting on Flying Machines. Wonders and Horrors of Aerial Warfare in Pilots’ Personal Narratives (1915-1918)

Olena Korzun: Researching – Surviving. Agricultural Experimentation in Ukraine under German Occupation during the Second World War

Lucie Genay: Conscience on Atomic Jobs. The Manufacturers of Nuclear War