I recently found myself thinking about the changes that have occurred during my lifetime, not the personal changes though there’s been quite a few of those, but the big ones, those that have changed mankind. The industrial revolution had that effect on civilization, nothing was ever the same after that. The changes that I’m thinking about are on that scale, world changing events that have all happened during in my lifetime. It’s unbelievable that the world could change so dramatically in such a relatively short period. The photograph above couldn’t exist before WW2.
So how about WW2 for starters, I lived through it and was affected by it. When I say ‘world changing’ I mean exactly that, there was an English invention that was promptly given to the Americans, who described it as “the most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores” it was the resonant cavity magnetron, The forerunner of radar.
Consider the aircraft of the WW1 – 1930’s era, fabric bi-planes, and then consider the Lancasters, Spitfires, Hurricanes, Messerschmitts and B-17 Flying Fortress’s of a decade later, an unbelievable aviation evolution!
Then consider the evolution of the jet engine, it happened simultaneously in Germany and England during WW2, Frank Whittle developed the jet engines that were used by the RAF in WW2 in the Gloster Meteors that I flew in. In Germany the Messerschmidt Me 263 outflew anything the allies had but by then it was too late. But they were also experimenting with rocket propulsion, in the Messerschmidt 263 and the V2. Similar liquid fueled rocket research was happening in the US, USSR and Germany simultaneously but Germany had a definite lead, it all was confiscated by the US in 1946, spoils of war.
The Manhatten project led to the atomic bomb which was being developed in the later stages of WW2.
The confiscated V2’s led to a total research program being established in White Sands New Mexico which in turn evolved into the US space program, ICBM’s, [of course with nuclear warheads] NASA, Moon shots et al.
But beyond the ability to launch rockets into space it led to a whole new previously unimaginable world; Space stations, communications satellites, navigation satellites weather satellites, research satellites, and espionage satellites. Plus the Hubble space telescope and man on the moon.There’s currently over a thousand satellites circling the earth!
All of which of course have given us GPS, cell phones, smartphone, satellite phones, satellite TV and accurate mapping.
And then there’s computers and the internet. The computer also evolved from WW2 as a result of the German Enigma coding machine with it’s unbreakable codes, it’s widely believed that Alan Turing at Bletchley Park was responsible for breaking the codes by creating a primitive computer and look what that started.
And now there’s CERN and soon we’ll all know how it all began.
Christ, what a lifetime!
Did I miss anything apart from recording tape, digital audio, LP’s, CD’s, mp3’s, VHS, DVD, lasers, barcodes and digital cameras. Google, Wiki, social websites, and of course the total pop music revolution that began after WW2 and continues today?