Gunpowder Invention and Modern Warfare

Junior (College 3rd year) ・History ・Harvard ・4 Sources

Many ages have passed since the beginning of warfare. Despite the fact that fighting was taking place during the technological revolution, it had not yet reached its current level. The main weapons employed at that time were primitive weapons that did not endanger people or countries in a deadly way. This was a result of the weaponry industry's underdevelopment and a dearth of invention into more potent weapons than those that are used today. In essence, combat made less progress during this period. The development of gunpowder weapons was directly related to the need for modern combat. Warfare of the early modern period is associated with the start of the widespread use of gunpowder and the development of suitable weapons to use the explosive. The concept of powder was introduced by Michael Roberts in the 1950s.

Gunpowder is the first physical explosive and propellant to be invented in the warfare field industry. Before its invention, many incendiary and burning devices had been used in combat. The invention of the gunpowder is acknowledged to the experimentation by the Chinese in their pursuit of immortality. It was invented in the 9th century but became employed in warfare to its effect from the 12th century in weapons such as fire arrows, bombs, and fire lance before the appearance of the gun. Since then the usage of gunpowder widely spread to other nations such as the Korea, India and eventually Europe.

The evolution of guns led to the development of artillery during the 15th century. Firearms came to dominate the early modern warfare in Europe by the 17th century. The invention of gunpowder has significantly impacted the war field since then, and it is continually advancing with every passing decade. The most recognized advancement is the invention of smokeless gunpowder.

The specific aspects of powder that were first evident in its invention are the ability to create the effect from a distance. The design was based on the contextual facts that gunpowder would cause recognizable effect from quite a distance and therefore very suitable for warfare where there would be no close contact with the enemy. Moreover, its potential to move objects made it very attractive to military designing weapons. In that context, therefore, it implied that the technology of warfare could be advanced about distance attacks. This is because inventions could be made with the aim of launching attacks on enemies while at a distance. Therefore the ability of gunpowder to move objects and cause indirect effect was the most desired thing in the invention of the gunpowder. This combined with the inflammable ability of powder made the warfare technology a promising field. It dictated the devices yet to come down the war arena about attacks and destruction motives.

In addition to this, the invention of gunpowder pointed to the dominance that would come into the industry with regard to the warfare technology. This is about the quick, widespread use of gunpowder across other nations and the motive for this. The invention of the gunpowder spread rapidly from China to other countries such as Korea and the Europe where it was sure to be put into more modification and advancement to fit the warfare field. Therefore with the vast, the gunpowder invention spread across the world was a show of how the warfare technology field would change regarding the new designs to be made into the battlefield.

This has been proved by the numerous inventions that have been made. Since its invention, it has been the single dominant and influential aspect in warfare. It changed the way human beings wage war and reached the age of exploration possible about more search of more additions into the already produced gunpowder to make it more efficient for use and application in warfare. This has extended to the modern technology version and is set to continue long into the future. Therefore the invention of the gunpowder gave the warfare technology a breakthrough into designing more weapons that would have a wild streak to enemies in combat.

About its design, it has been particularly evident that its impact was deadly about the destruction it could cause. It's inflammable and smoke production ability was the most accurate evidence of its harmful effect. Its impact power too was intense and was known to tear down walls and reach the enemy. The violent impact evidenced gunpowder it was associated with as far as destruction were concerned. This showed that the usage of gunpowder in weapons would leave deadly results and casualties would always be related to gunpowder use in warfare.

However, since the time of invention, something had to change. The main change that had to be enacted on gunpowder was its smoke producing ability and moderation of its explosive intensity. Because sometimes attacks would be designed for certain specific areas, it was crucial that the impact of explosion by gunpowder be moderated such that measurable impact would be implied for a particular area. This was to avoid the effect on unplanned vicinities. Therefore the change on how the gunpowder exploded and its smoking character had to change. The change in the smoking characteristic was to make operations hideous and unrecognized about secret attacks and eliminations. This is because, without the production of smoke, attacks would be carried out without significant recognition due to the usual puff sound of the guns.

More into this is the destructive impact of gunpowder on what it was applied on. It's killing effect had to be changed for the sake of humanity. This had to be employed in specific alterations that included the invention of new bullets that would be propelled but would not cause immediate death on the victims of the attack. In that context, therefore, the change was mainly to modify and reduce the impact of attacks on human beings as well as property and prevent mass destruction on undesired property and areas. More into this is the inflammability of the gun power. This would avoid the eruption of fire were not intended and reduce the inflammation of other inflammable chemicals that would lead to mass destruction.

Eve following the changes that were enacted on gunpowder technology other changes were applied. These were basically to make the handling of gunpowder safer for both the people handling it and those it is likely to impact on. Therefore restrictions were put in place to control the usage of gunpowder about who was to take care of it, in what manner it was to be handled, its production and availability to the people. It specifically became available to certain people which were all aimed at achieving security for the community and the entire world about the numerous applications gunpowder was capable of being used in for the insecurity of the world.

In that context, therefore, the handling of powder became only available to military personnel and the related field. It was therefore made available not to everyone but to particular people who were to maintain law and order. Therefore demographically, the handling and availability of gunpowder were reduced to only specific individuals in the society who would be responsible and fit to handle. The aspect of its handling became controlled and measured about what position in the society one held. In that context, therefore, its military structures were moved to be only in the hands of the law enforcement personnel and its organizations very sensitively supervised. It was no longer available for use by anyone in the society as it had been after its instant invention.

Additionally, it was made a state dictatorship on what had to be done from the gunpowder. Production of firearms became a dictatorship of the federal government with passed laws to govern it. Therefore certain entities had to hold the responsibilities of producing gunpowder and other military accompaniments. In that context therefore not any organization was in a position to perform a production of powder and weapon accompaniment at their will. However, the changes that came to be also intensified research into the production of more crude weapons with the use of gunpowder. Therefore politicization of weaponry production led to the intensification of an investigation into the employment of gunpowder and more additives that made gunpowder more deadly for use in the world.

Military evolution significantly relates to the intensive research attached to the invention of gunpowder and the important application in numerous ways in the armed forces structure formulations. The politicization and ownership of weaponry production rights by the state government significantly influenced the revolution of the military section in many countries. This is due to the intensification of research into powerful weapons that would have recognizable dictates in the society and the overall world as far as warfare was concerned. Therefore its production is in the hands of the government through distinct entities ensured that advancement would be under-informed ground with numerous laboratory tests that would make its output be in the desired mode.

Its modification too contributed to a military revolution in the sense that it was purified to the most popular form that is used to date. With the adjustment in its impact and ability to be moderated to be less or extra destructive gave the military forces particularly in Europe the move that was desired in the military. They were therefore in a position to stage attacks with the aim to kill or spare captives to get information from them. In that context, therefore, the modification change would control and alter the impact of gunpowder employed weapons to be either more destructive of less damaging regarding the impact they had on their propulsion and usage. These changes substantially pointed for out an evolvement that would be realized for the military in the future. The possibility to employ gunpowder in many aspects in warfare and other issues I the military points out that more and more is still to be realized as far as military evolution is concerned. This is to say that the future of military advancement is assured of about what can still be made from what has already been made.


Andrade, Tonio. The Gunpowder Age: China, military innovation, and the rise of the West in world history. Princeton University Press, 2016.

Atzili, Boaz. Good fences, bad neighbors: Border fixity and international conflict. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Douhet, Giulio. The command of the air. University of Alabama Press, 2009.

Pomeranz, Kenneth. The great divergence: China, Europe, and the making of the modern world economy. Princeton University Press, 2009.

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