There are many who speak as though science was responsible for war as though in the absence of scientific knowledge, war would not have been waged so disastrously. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Man fought fiercely with fists and cudgels and swords and axes when they had not mastered the technique of science.

War is unavoidable because of the aggressive energy or pugnacious spirit of man. What science has done is to change the nature or front of warfare. The poet of the Mahabharata wrote of weapons that rained action from the clouds that made men unconscious, that carried fire and ruin to distant enemies, Science has actualized these dreams of the poet.

The modern man has studied the chemical and physical prop­erties of matter and he has then applied these principles to the manufacture of deadly or lethal weapons.

The invention of motorized vehicles was a revolutionary step. Formerly men went to battle on foot or on horseback or on elephants. Now they go in armored cars. In order to make these cars operate on all kinds of terrains, tanks were invented. This resulted in the creation of various kinds of high explosives and remote controllers, (RDX) that could smash the tanks. With continuous firing with smoke­screens, frontal attack is rendered almost suicidal. This necessitated fighting from behind trenches, dugouts and pill-boxes. Thus, the whole process of fighting was revolutionized. Hand to hand fights or duels such as are described in the Mahabharata or the Iliad have thus become things of the past.


By inventing the aircraft, science has introduced a new factor in modern war. Explosives are now rained down from above. A new dimension has been added to modern warfare with the introduction of missiles, ground-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles were largely used in the Gulf War of 1991, to crush Iraq’s war machinery. In future, such missiles would carry the atom bomb to deliver the devastating attack.

Thus, science has now become the handmaid of warlords. Modern warfare is nothing but science dehumanised and misapplied, so to say, on a gigantic scale. An atomic holocaust will involve more men dead and wounded than all the diseases could kill since the beginning of civilization. It is seen that superiority in armaments is the deciding factor in a modern war. Each side now makes it a point to prevent the manufacture of these weapons by the other side. So USA is putting pressure on India after, the nuclear test explosion at Pokhran (1998), for signing the CTBT.

Science has aided naval war by the invention of submarines and magnetic mines and aircraft carriers, which make free passage of ships across the dangerous seas. And then the scientists have invented aeroplanes operated and directed by wireless. That soon mechanical robots will replace soldiers on the battlefield is not so fantastic as it once seemed. Already Russia has set about reducing her land forces as an anachronism in the Atomic Age. Others will soon follow her example.

The last Great War was brought to an end by two atom bombs that practically wiped out of existence of two Japanese cities—Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now we hear of deadlier weapons—the hydrogen bomb and the G-gas. Nations are vying with one another in inventing weapons of destruction, even biologial weapon of germs are being made in Pentagan, Iraq etc and the common man looks on with shuddering helplessness.


But war does certainly stimulate the all-round progress of science. New and swifter processes of manufacture are discovered. Machines of the greatest power and efficiency are invented. This has led to the manufacture of synthetic products on a large-scale.

Synthetic rubber and artificial silk are manufactured in huge quantities; sugar is extracted from starch, oil for engines from coal. Along with the use of plastic, impetus is given by war to the science of medicine. The last Great War put operative surgery on a new footing. The human body is being treated as if it were a machine with spare parts, available for replacements. New medicines and modes of treatment of singular efficiency have been discovered.

Penicillin, the antibiotic (wonder drug) was discovered in course of the last war. With other forms of sulfur drugs, medical science has proved to be a very great blessing for mankind. Transplantation of human heart, kidney and other organs has opened up new vistas for surgery.

War stimulates researches into the problem of food and nutrition, to prevent shortage of food. Rapid development of food-crop, the development of synthetic food and drug bring new prospects for mankind. Synthetic chemical foods are also coming out.


There is, no doubt, that in the hands of thoughtless men, science has become a menace to humanity. The remedy against this is a world organization (like UNO) to control the use of atomic and other similar weapons of mass destruction.

Many wrongly believe that scientific progress in peace must be less vigorous than in war time. According to them, this is bound to be so because in normal times, there is not the same sense of urgency as and when a country is at war and things go on a war footing. The tempo of scientific research is quickened because it multiplies profits in wartime. But war is never a permanent solution to any major problem of man. War or no war science will have a phenomenal march out of the inner urge of the scientist.