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History >> World War 2 for Kids

World War II

Technology

Technology played an important role in World War II. Major advances in weaponry, communications, and industry by both sides impacted the way the war was fought and, eventually, the outcome in the war.

Sherman Tank with soldiers walking
Sherman Tank
Source: National Archives
On the Ground

Tanks - Although tanks were first used in World War I, it was during World War II that tanks became a major military force. Hitler utilized tanks in his fast moving Panzer divisions. They enabled him to quickly take over much of Europe using a tactic called Blitzkrieg, meaning "lightning war." Some of the most famous tanks from World War II include Germany's Tiger tank, the Soviet Union's T-34 tank, and the United States' Sherman tank.

In the Air

Aircraft - The air force became one of the most important parts of the military during World War II. Whoever had control of the air, often won the battle on the ground. Different types of planes were developed for specific tasks. There were small, fast fighter planes designed for air-to-air combat, large bombers that could drop huge bombs on enemy targets, planes designed to land and take off from aircraft carriers, and large transport planes used to deliver supplies and soldiers. Other important advances in aircraft included the first military helicopters and the first jet-powered fighter planes.

WW2 Radar Tower
Radar Tower
Source: Imperial War Museum
Radar - Radar was a new technology developed right before the war. It used radio waves to detect enemy aircraft. The British were the first to employ radar and it helped them to fight off the Germans in the Battle of Britain.

In the Ocean

Aircraft Carrier - One of the biggest changes in naval technology in World War II was the use of the aircraft carrier. Aircraft carriers became the most important ships in the navy. They were able to launch air attacks from anywhere in the ocean.

Explosives

Bombs - World War II saw the invention of many new types of bombs. The Germans invented the long range flying bomb called the V-1 as well as a rocket bomb called the V-2. The Allies developed a bouncing bomb that would bounce across the water and explode once it hit a dam. Other specialized bombs included bunker busters and cluster bombs.

The Atom Bomb - Perhaps the largest leap in technology during World War II was the atom bomb. This bomb caused a massive explosion by using nuclear reactions. It was used by the United States to bomb the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Labeled photo of the German's Enigma Machine
The Enigma Machine
Photo by Karsten Sperling
Communications

Secret Codes - In order to keep communications secret, both sides developed their own secret codes. The Germans used a machine called the Enigma Machine to code and decode their messages. However, the Allied scientists were able to crack the code giving them an advantage in battle.

Propaganda

New technology was also used to disperse propaganda. Inventions like motion pictures, the radio, and the microphone were all used by governments to broadcast their messages to the people.

Interesting Facts about World War II Technology Activities

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Learn More about World War II:

Overview:
World War II Timeline
Allied Powers and Leaders
Axis Powers and Leaders
Causes of WW2
War in Europe
War in the Pacific
After the War

Battles:
Battle of Britain
Battle of the Atlantic
Pearl Harbor
Battle of Stalingrad
D-Day (Invasion of Normandy)
Battle of the Bulge
Battle of Berlin
Battle of Midway
Battle of Guadalcanal
Battle of Iwo Jima

Events:
The Holocaust
Japanese Internment Camps
Bataan Death March
Fireside Chats
Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Atomic Bomb)
War Crimes Trials
Recovery and the Marshall Plan
Leaders:
Winston Churchill
Charles de Gaulle
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Douglas MacArthur
George Patton
Adolf Hitler
Joseph Stalin
Benito Mussolini
Hirohito
Anne Frank
Eleanor Roosevelt

Other:
The US Home Front
Women of World War II
African Americans in WW2
Spies and Secret Agents
Aircraft
Aircraft Carriers
Technology
World War II Glossary and Terms

Works Cited

History >> World War 2 for Kids

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