There can be no doubt that science has made possible the stupendous destruction and havoc that are brought by modern wars. Countless weapons of destruction invented by science were employed in the Second World War for massacring and slaughtering humanity.
Science is an angel in peace but a devil in wartime. Science has brought happiness and comfort to mankind but the same science has issued death-warrant of mankind. As Bertrand Russell opines:
“Science–the scientists–the community
Their inter-relationship would
Create or mar world peace.”
We are living in the age of science. Science has revolutionized the art and technique of war. Modern war is two-thirds the technique’s job, and it is the only one-third job of the jawans.
Modern war is the scientific war and it is quite different from the ancient war Modern war is the war of machines and not of men. In the past, the war was decided on the battlefields but today it is decided in the laboratories. In days of yore, victory went to the side that a possessed strongest and bravest jawans. But today the thing is different and the side that possesses the superior and latest war weapons is crowned with success. Bravery and physical strength have their importance in ancient time only. Today in the scientific war it is brain and not brawn which matters. A weak and cowardly jawan can kill hundreds of persons in the twinkling of an eye.
Today an army without scientific armaments cannot exist for a moment in the war. The discovery of atomic energy has stepped up the pace of nations’ armaments race and made modern warfare more destructive and global.
Science is today undoubtedly the handmaid of destruction and annihilation. It is because of the use of scientific armaments that the people in the Second World War had to bear heavy losses, Scientific wars of today involve civilians as well as the armed forces. In old times, the soldiers fought on the fronts and the civilians carried on their normal business. But in a scientific war, the front lines run through the factories and laboratories. Today even innocent population is bombarded for the purpose of weakening the home front.
Science is at its peak today. Scientists have made astonishing discoveries. It is pertinent to recall the inventions of various engines of destruction in a continuous succession. The 303 rifle is an innocent weapon nowadays. There are more effective pistols, automatic rifles, and recoilless guns to make short work of the enemy. Then there are armored cars, tanks, and huge cannon. Tanks are battering down fortresses. Anti-aircraft guns are also astonishing inventions. In the recent Indo-Pak war; and Arab-Israeli conflict, each side used Patton tanks, anti-aircraft guns and what not.
Science has to be met with science. Tanks will be stopped not by strong men but by anti-tank-guns. The enemy aircraft which. bombards the enemy’s army and population will be driven away by the firing of anti-aircraft guns. Then there are bombs of various types. Hand grenades are the most elementary things. There are still more deadly weapons in the armory of science. Rockets and missiles may fitly be described as flying bombs. The U.S.A. and U.S.S.R had Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. These have nuclear warheads and can hit targets across, the oceans thousands of miles away. Washington can hit Moscow and vice versa with the help of these pilotless missiles. No place in the world is secure these days. Is this not due to science?
But science has opened a new era in the history of the war by its discovery of atomic energy and its inventions of the atom bomb. During the Second World War, the two atom bombs thrown over Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed thousands of persons in the twinkling of an eye. After the Hiroshima raid, the Tokyo Radio reported. The atom bomb literally spread to death all living things, human and animal. “The dead were burned beyond recognition and the authorities were unable to check the civilian casualties.” Many people who thought that they had escaped found later that their hair was falling off and they suffered from one or other defect owing to the explosion of an atom bomb. Each bomb was the equivalent of 20,000 tons of T.N.T.
An atom bomb having proved insufficient to finish mankind the scientists of America invented yet another deadly weapon for the annihilation of mankind. America was the first to explore the Hydrogen Bomb. The Hydrogen Bomb likewise claims to produce unimaginable heat when its components break and split, producing about 1000 time-greater devastation than the Atom Bomb. In a news item in the newspaper “The Tribune, it was stated, “A hydrogen bomb the most widely debated possible future weapon might produce soaring heat reaching out hundreds of miles. In other words, the destructive power of Hydrogen Bomb will level down almost everything in an area of more than 300 thousands square miles. The death and destruction that such bombs can produce will thus be hundreds at times more extensive and severer than the now comparatively obsolete weapons, which were used to force capitulation on the Japanese and other Axis powers.” Can Hydrogen Bomb ensure peace? In every age whenever a new and deadly weapon came to be used, it proved only a motive force for another war.
Propaganda is another chief weapon of the scientific war. During the war each side boasts of its victory and wrong information is given. Each side criticizes bitterly the other side in the press and on the air. That is why people are advised not to read the enemy’s newspapers and not to listen to their broadcasts. Hitler threatened with death his countrymen who would pick up and read any newspaper dropped by the British airplanes.
Parachutes are another marvelous weapon of today’s war. Each of the warring countries wants to create chaos, and confusion in the other in order to weaken the home front. To achieve this aim, they drop their paratroopers on the soil of the enemy country. The paratroopers mix poison in the water tanks and do such other mean things. During the Indo-Pak war India dropped many paratroopers.
Modern war is more disciplined and more completely concentrated. The result, therefore, is that defeat is more serious more disorganizing, more demoralizing to the general population. An army without science is an army without life. It is due to science that we owe our fear of complete annihilation of the world. . There is another type of scientific warfare which is more dangerous and more harmful to a nation against which it is being waged than any other, It is known as the cold war, in which no material weapons are used for the physical destruction of man and material. It is the war of propaganda and blaming each other. There is a cold war between Russia and America–the Communists and the Capitalists.There is a cold war between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. There is a cold war between Arabs and Israelis’ over the ownership of the Suez Canal. Similarly, many other nations are engaged in a cold war. Its weapon is spreading fear of the threat of war among the people. It causes unrest and confusion in the minds of the people. The effort is to make such people compel their governments to spend more money on defense purposes, resulting in the collapse of the internal economy and so causing dissatisfaction among the people.
Science helps modern war to become global. Science has annihilated time and space by inventing swift means of communication. For this reason, the war which breaks out between any two countries is likely to be spread and involve the other nations as well. It is on account of science and its inventions that war in these, times has a tendency to spread to areas other than those directly involved in the conflict.
The story has not come to an end here. Science has progressed so much that there is the possibility of biological warfare which means dropping of bombs filled with bacteria which would spread disease, poison the soil, and the crops, this possibility may turn out to be more destructive than that of nuclear weapons.
Scientists, however, cannot be wholly absolved from responsibility for the destruction wrought by modern warfare. The scientists should make a solemn pledge that they shall not invent such weapons as can cause the annihilation of life and material. As Bertrand Russell rightly opines.
Let the scientists of the world especially nuclear and space scientists of the world start an international club with a solid aim, of neutralizing scientific outlook of the world. Let them proclaim solemnly and make a solemn pledge, come what may, they shall not continue to prostitute science-the noblest and most beloved gift of God. They should further swear that under no circumstances shall they make any invention that might lead to the slaughter of mankind. They should know that the real aim of science has always been to promote social progress and to struggle for bringing about a harmonious relationship between man and man. Thus the progress of the human mind in harnessing the potential mysteries of Nature has all along been the greatest force in the WORLD OF SCIENCE.