Article ID: CBB234387698

“In War or in Peace:” the Technological Promise of Science Following the First World War (2017)


Following World War One, powerful groups in society substantially raised their expectations of the natural sciences. Scientific research became a promise for transformations in technology, and consequently in the economy and society. While this expectation was not completely new, before the war the potential benefits of scientific research to answer practical technological problems had been fiercely contested. During the war, scientists were mobilized to military related research only gradually due to a combination of technological challenges and the efforts of science advocates. The significant success of much military research convinced many erstwhile skeptics that science and research could be of practical value for technology and society, as well as the military. Science promised technological and economic growth, but the promise entailed also a threat from its inappropriate use, and from its use by one’s competitors. The threat of competition was especially strong at the international level. Policy makers emphasized that investment in science is crucial for “the economic struggles of peace-time.” The promise and threat alike led to an increase in science funding, and the establishment of special governmental, military, and commercial institutions for the fostering of science and its application to technology. Scientists themselves also altered their view of their disciplines.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Laurent Mazliak; Rossana Tazzioli; (2021)
Mathematical Communities in the Reconstruction After the Great War 1918–1928: Trajectories and Institutions (/isis/citation/CBB875170225/)

Book Kolchinskii, E. I.; Beyrau, Dietrich; Laius, Iu. A.; (2007)
Nauka, tekhnika i obshchestvo Rossii i Germanii vo vremia Pervoi mirovoi voiny (/isis/citation/CBB001024517/)

Article Fangerau, Heiner; (2009)
From Mephistopheles to Isaiah: Jacques Loeb, Technical Biology and War (/isis/citation/CBB000953540/)

Article Nurit Kirsh; (2022)
The foundations of Israel’s ongoing love affair with science (/isis/citation/CBB771219222/)

Chapter Filiberto Agostini; (2020)
Università e Grande Guerra fra pratica medica, scienze e diritto. Spunti di riflessione (/isis/citation/CBB034640205/)

Book Peter Ayres; (2020)
Women and the Natural Sciences in Edwardian Britain: In Search of Fellowship (/isis/citation/CBB785418051/)

Chapter Maciej Górny; (2020)
The War of Professors in Polish Academia (/isis/citation/CBB947079248/)

Chapter Piero Del Negro; (2020)
La Grande Guerra nelle relazioni dei rettori dell'Università di Padova (/isis/citation/CBB204264172/)

Chapter Joanna Sondel-Cedarmas; (2020)
L'attività socio-politica dei docenti dell'Università Jagellonica durante la Prima guerra mondiale (/isis/citation/CBB436628631/)

Chapter Christof Aichner; (2020)
Le Università austriache e la Grande Guerra. Storiografia e memoria (/isis/citation/CBB028193759/)

Chapter Federico Roggero; (2020)
Leggi per gestire una Grande Guerra. Tra Italia ed Inghilterra (/isis/citation/CBB668766720/)

Book Filiberto Agostini; (2020)
Università E Grande Guerra In Europa. Medicina Scienze E Diritto (/isis/citation/CBB012551012/)

Chapter Ettore Calzolari; Renata Galzio; (2021)
Gli ufficiali medici della Croce Rossa Italiana caduti per fatto d'armi nel corso della Grande Guerra 1915-1918 (/isis/citation/CBB702234157/)

Chapter Fabio Fabbricatore; (2021)
I mezzi di trasporto della Croce Rossa Italiana nella Grande Guerra (/isis/citation/CBB522756685/)

Chapter Thomas Archibald; Della Dumbaugh; Deborah Kent; (2014)
A Mobilized Community: Mathematicians in the United States during the First World War (/isis/citation/CBB097098227/)

Authors & Contributors
Agostini, Filiberto
Aubin, David
Sondel-Cedarmas, Joanna
Hlade, Josef
Fabbricatore, Fabio
Górny, Maciej
Social Studies of Science
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Franco Angeli
Silvio Zamorani Editore
Springer Nature
Presses de l'École Normale Supérieure
Firenze University Press
Science and war; science and the military
World War I
Science and society
Science and politics
Universities and colleges
Academic freedom
Meynert, Theodor
Loeb, Jacques
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
United Kingdom
Padua (Italy)
Red Cross Societies
École Polytechnique, Paris

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment