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The First Modern War

It is probable that economic conditions would have eventually brought about the same changes that war did, albeit more gently and gradually. The decisive factor in the Civil War was that the industrialized North was able to out-produce the agricultural South. The industrial factor was one of the most important determinants of the outcome of every major war that has occurred since the Civil War.

The American Civil War is widely regarded as the first modern war. The reason that it attained that distinction is because it was the first war in which the telegraph, railroads, torpedoes, submarines, ironclad ships, rifles and other new inventions came into play. There were also some aerial military activities during the American Civil War. Although other wars were fought throughout the world during this period, other nations did not implement the use of these new technologies in warfare to the extent that Americans did in the Civil War. In many cases, the Southern States were more innovative than the Union, probably to compensate for strategic disadvantages.

Today we think of the Civil War as the first modern war. Paradoxically, the cause of the war was the industrialization, and the cause of the industrialization was war. This theme underlies most subsequent large-scale modern wars and political revolutions.