The First World War and Radio Development

Dean Juniper argues that war encouraged the development of radio technology, as of so much else.

War spurs innovation, and the First World War has, rightly, been pinpointed as a huge accelerator for technical modernity. Historians have mainly concentrated on transportation, with particular emphasis given to the motor car and aeroplane. Much less attention has been paid to communication, however, though during this period radio made a great leap forward, revolutionising warfare and also altering society irrevocably in the years of peace that followed.

The development of radio in Britain can be charted across the home front and the three services. Each had its particular needs and generated technical innovations. But all contributed to a general raising of radio awareness, the essential motor of postwar change.

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