I’m not an advocate of war but, for better or worse, World War II was at least partly responsible for thrusting the world into the modern era. On December 6th 1941, America was a sleeping giant trying to get out of the Great Depression but, on December 7th of that year, America started down the path to war and ultimately into the modern era.
Rockets and Jets
Adolph Hitler pushed the aeronautical envelope as far as he possibly could during the war in an attempt to crush Great Britain. His engineers developed the jet powered airplane that never had the impact he wanted and Werner Von Braun developed the V1 and V2 rockets that would terrorize London. As it turned out, Von Braun was influential in developing the rocket systems that would eventually take America to the moon.
Enigma, Ultra and Modern Computing
British mathematician, Alan Turing, developed the decoder code named Ultra at Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park outside London. Turing’s work during the war is credited with giving the Allied Forces a distinct advantage and Turing would go on to help develop the first modern computers using some of his work at Bletchley Park as his inspiration.
The Atomic Bomb
For better or worse, Robert Oppenheimer developed the first atomic bomb during World War II and two of his bombs were dropped on Japan and credited to ending what might have been a drawn out war that could result in the death of many American troops. Though significantly reduced since the height of the Cold War, there are still thousands of Nuclear weapons around the world, according to Ploughshares.org.
The Cold War
After World War II America and the Soviet Union were at odds over the capitalistic lifestyle of the United States and the centrally controlled Communism of the Soviet Union. Up until the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, America and the Soviet Union came close to a nuclear confrontation over the Soviet’s trying to place nuclear missiles in Cuba just 90 miles from Florida. Tensions with Russia have eased somewhat, since the collapse of the Soviet Union but, as we see today, with Russia annexing its neighbor Crimea, tensions still linger just below the surface.