Technology plays a key role in how the military wages war. Over the years, any change in technology led to a change on how nations conducted war between themselves. Traditionally, any change in technology affected not only the manner in which the military conducted warfare, but it also affected the social dynamics of those nations. During the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars, the military relied heavily on gunpowder and this made winning the wars non-decisive. However, technological advancements made the American civil war more lethal and had a decisive win as compared to the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars.
The Napoleonic Wars/French Revolution lacked decisiveness. During these Wars, the prevalent technology was gunpowder and this meant that combat was only at close range since the bayonets used could not fire a long distance. This meant that it was easy for an army to retreat once they sensed that their rivals had stronger artillery. This meant that there was lack of decisiveness in these wars and as such, there was need to come up with advanced means that could revolutionize warfare. While in the past, warfare had depended on artillery strength, new technology led to a change in the ways in the capturing and killing of the enemy. During the Napoleonic Wars/French Revolution, the military only went to war on occasions when it was inevitable to do so. However, this changed drastically during the American civil war as wars were planned well in advance regardless of whether they were necessary or not.
Instead of merely mobilizing large armies to go to war, the military invested more on technology to win wars. The shift from military numbers to technology meant that research and development played a center stage in any war. Instead of merely recruiting people to go for war, military commanders devoted their time on developing ways that would ensure that they killed as many people as possible. This shift in technological advancement explains the difference in the number of casualties during the American civil war as compared to the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars. During the Napoleonic Wars, combat was always instantaneous but during the American civil war, the military took time to plan each combat carefully thus leading to more decisive wins. This meant that winning war depended on the number of people killed during any particular combat as opposed to the past where winning was dependent on who would surrender first. Due to the great focus put in organizing the wars, any military attack during the American civil war was lethal and mostly achieved its focus. This means that planning was a tool of war stronger than even the tools used in the past. Through effective planning, the military achieved more success than at any other time in history. This explains why despite the high number of soldiers marshaled during the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars, the element of decisiveness was still missing.
Even though the change in technology led to decisiveness in wars, it brought a strain into the society. In the past, the military only needed to develop on what their rivals had in order to win any war. However, this changed significantly during the American civil war and in subsequent wars as more focus was put in planning the war than on the war itself. The effect that this increased concentration on the planning process other than the war is an increase in military budgets. During the American civil war, the military consumed a large section of government budgets as there was need to develop not only superior weapons but better war tactics as well. This increase in budgets led to the diversion of money that would traditionally go to funding development projects. This addition in military spending also led to an increase in taxation thus putting a strain on the citizens. The practice of allocating large sums of money to the military has continued to the modern day where military spending keeps on increasing each passing year.
Even though there was a range of new technologies available for use during the American civil war as there are today, the costs associated with their usage prevented their full utilization. At times, the costs needed to modernize the army are so huge to a point that they discourage the military from using them. A clear example of this is the 1856 case where Russia needed a lot of money to modernize its army to a point that it had to sell Alaska to the Americans. Despite this attempt at modernization, Russia was still outclassed by the European powers in terms of technological advancement and hence the reason why it lost in the Ottoman atrocities. The attempt to modernize armies has led to the reorganization of communities as it happened in Alaska but most importantly, it has led to significant increase in the cost of war. As it was during the American civil war, the need to win wars decisively is at the center of all military operations and informs every attempt to reform the military. This is necessitated by the need to win every war decisively.
New technology plays a key role on how the military does warfare. During the Napoleonic Wars/French Revolution, the military relied heavily on gunfire during wars and hence a low success rate in winning those wars. This strategy however changed significantly during the American civil war where the military placed focus on planning the war other than the war itself and hence the greater decisiveness in winning the war. Over the years, every military formation focuses on developing military technologies instead of building the size of its armies. This change in focus has led to an increased spending in the military, as well as decisiveness in warfare.
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