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MAKING THE MODERN WORLD
Stories about the lives we've made

Tour 3: Conflict in the modern world

1760s1998

Conflict has played an important role in making the modern world. Technology has revolutionised the way in which wars are fought, and war has been the crucible for new and increasingly devastating technologies. Here we will look at conflict and consider how it has forged our relationship with technology.


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Richard Arkwright's controversial cotton spinning innovations brought him into conflict with licensing laws.

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From the seventeenth century onwards Britain's expanding imperial trade network provided a ready market for new technologies.

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James Watt proved the viability of the steam engine to the world. But he faced a stiff courtroom battle to assert his invention's' primacy.

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James Watt and Matthew Boulton resorted to dirty tricks in their competition with rival engineer Matthew Murray.

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The machine gun epitomised the industrialised slaughter of the First World War - engineered machine efficiency against vulnerable flesh and bone.

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Allied interception of encoded Nazi communications proved to be a war-winning breakthrough.

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The rapid replacement of equipment lost during battle versus the need to slow down production to incorporate the latest technical developments was a difficult balance for both Allied and Axis forces.

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The V2 rocket was developed by Nazi Germany as a hoped-for decisive weapon to gain victory over the Allies.

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An attempt to delay the deployment of the V2 rocket developed by Nazi Germany.

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Nuclear weapons fuelled confrontation between rival superpowers, and became the subject of widespread international protest.

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Controversy continues to this day over who first understood the structure of DNA.

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Protest groups have helped individuals influence industries and governments during many environmental controversies.

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