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Essay on “Science and Modern Warfare” Complete English Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Science and Modern Warfare

The twenty-first century is the age of science and war. Every effort is being made to turn it into an era of abiding peace but even the best efforts seem to be doomed to failure as third war is looming large before the eyes of the world. Two world wars have used science for the purpose of the utmost destruction. Never was it truer than now that knowledge is power and power always corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Modern science is a tremendous power and yoked to the chariots of war, it is bound to annihilate life on earth. It is a very intriguing question whether advancing science is the cause of world devastating wars or wars are the cause of advancement of science.

The history of wars in the world has led some people to believe that war is an instrument of civilisation. It helps to advance civilisation by destroying the older and underdeveloped forms of civilisation, making place for newer and more advanced forms of civilisation. Bertrand Russell believed that war is an essential element of western civilisation. From western history he showed that the Greek civilisation advanced over the primitive forms of civilisation through the art of war. The Greek philosophers believed that knowledge is power and power is meant to advance civilisation. The Greek civilisation, in its turn, was superseded by the Roman civilisation which was based on the idea of military imperialism. In fact, the fabric of modern civilisation is a mixture of Greek and Roman civilisations. The development of science, of course, had led to the modern conditions.

Until the discovery of gunpowder, the sword and the arrow were the chief weapons of war. Warfare was a grim and bloody affair, yet it was confined within limits. It had its own ethics also. After the discovery of gunpowder, warfare became a crude, complicated and cruel affair. With the help of the gunpowder it was possible to continue fighting even at night and over long distances. Still war had its frontiers and was strictly limited to fighting forces in the field. In the hands of Napoleon, war became almost an exact science and warfare pretty scientific. He introduced the elements of swiftness and surprise in the art of war and so warfare became a very grim affair. In the twentieth century the discoveries and inventions of science have made warfare an extremely grim and inhuman business.

In the First World War, the invention of aeroplane shattered the concept of the front and the borders of war. The aeroplanes were used to bomb military targets in the enemy territories. And often undefended towns were not spared. Gases were used, especially mustard gas, which simply boiled men to death, or deformed them beyond recognition or turned them mad and made them mental wrecks. Bacteriological warfare, introduced by the Germans, killed innocent population altogether unawares, in thousands, by causing epidemics. Termite was used in bombs dropped on the civilian population, causing a great scare and havoc.

The Second World War beat all the previous records of death and destruction. The terrible bombing of London and other British cities by German aircraft using rocket bombs, fired from the bases on the coast of Holland, brought untold misery and havoc. The British and American aircrafts, also in their turn, carried on an equally indiscriminate and ruthless bombing of German cities. At the climax came the dropping of two atom bombs in Japan, which reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to a rubble in no time.

The world has not fortunately witnessed an atomic war in the real sense. The use of two atom bombs in Japan was an isolated event. Modern wars, even without the use of atom bombs, cause incalculable destruction and misery and millions of deaths. That would be either way, depending on in which direction the wind blew. If the wind blew in the South-East direction, they would be mostly in Russia although they would extend into Japan and perhaps down into Philippines, etc. If the wind blew the other way, they would extend well back into the Western Europe.

The blood-curdling prospects of atomic warfare has awakened the conscience of a large section of thinking people. Even scientists have begun to realise that the abject surrender of scientific methods and all resources of science to the will of politicians is worse than colouring the motives of science with humanity, spirituality and morality. After all science has its significance for the human race only if it continues to exist on earth. If humanity itself is vaporised by science, obviously it would mean death of science too. They are, therefore, beginning to realise that science is for man, ought to be for man and not against him. The great part which India is playing in international affairs is to put atoms-for-peace on the map of humanity.

However, if science meant for man’s, happiness and joy is employed by man for his own death and destruction, who can help him? It is certainly not the fault of science if we go on multiplying the engines of death and destruction. Again, if science has invented ingenious methods of death it has not been slow to invent effective means of counteracting them. Thus, against gas, there is the gas-mask; against tank, the anti-tank gun; against submarines, depth charges and against aerial bombing, anti-aircraft guns. It is said that the US scientists have even made weapons to tame the fury of the nuclear bomb. It is not the beastly science, which is responsible for war,  it is the beast in man. Alfred Nobel had invented dynamite to help workers in mines and to construct roads in hilly countries, but not to blow up men and their property. In holding science guilty for the havocs of modern war, we thus do a great injustice to science.

 In this atomic era, war has become useless as an instrument of resolving differences between nations, because the atom bomb has obliterated the formerly valid distinction between combatants and non-combatants, front and rear, victor and the vanquished. The institution of war has been turned into a kind of mass murder. Therefore, we must work for the development of a “world community” in which war will be taboo and violence a rejected creed. And nothing short of a “spiritual reconstruction” can help us in achieving this object.


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