Technology and Development in a Conflict Zone: War as a Prioritizing Tool

What we now refer to as “development” really began in a systematic way after World War II. The victors had a variety of pressures to address, the most fearsome being the threat of yet another emerging conflict involving new applications of science and technology and even more deadly weaponry. Moreover, the relationship between the economic and social devastation of World War I and the rise of a fanatical régime in Germany was regarded as self-evident. As a consequence, new approaches to prevent further conflict as well as to deter an emerging and aggressive Soviet Union were embraced as a new expression of, in the words of the time, the “Arsenal of the West”. This seminar explores the questions of how that war and development co-exist, why it is still going on even after the threat to which it was primarily directed is past, and whether different results can be expected in the future.