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by ZweiBieren Media and War pens in a mug

Information And War

Why is amnesia more common in TV shows than in real life? Because the essence of drama is information disparity. Tragedy is when the characters know not their fates while others do.. Macbeth's witches tell him the future, but he does not understand. Comedy is when the audience knows less than the comedian. When he says, "Take my wife," the comedian knows he is going to say, "Please," but the audience is surprised.

The history of American wars can be viewed through an information lens. Major information distribution innovations had two effects that made war more likely. They increased wealth by enhancing productivity. And also made possible wider awareness of the distribution of that wealth. This awareness exacerbated any resentment. Leaders exploited this resentment to relocate power to their own hands.

revolutionary war newspapers, transatlantic info delays

After 1750, general news became accessible, and the newspapers show more and more interest in public affairs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_American_newspapers The New-England Courant is one of the oldest and the first truly independent American newspaper. It was founded in Boston on August 7, 1721 by James Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's older brother. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_England_Courant

civil war telegraph, railroads

"Dispatching trains by telegraph started in 1851, the same year Western Union began business. Western Union built its first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861, mainly along railroad rights-of-way." Mary Bellis, The History of the Electric Telegraph and Telegraphy, http://inventors.about.com/od/tstartinventions/a/telegraph.htm

world war I assembly line production communication: automobile

world war 2 commercial exploitation of technology from WWI radio

"On November 2, 1920, Westinghouse's KDKA-Pittsburgh broadcast the Harding-Cox election returns and began a daily schedule of radio programs."

korean war commercial exploitation of technology from WWII invasion due to lack of information: Kim believed US would not defend the south

vietnam war television; led to withdrawal

iraq/afghanistan internet

egyptian revolurion social media on internet

  • all american wars (http://americanhistory.about.com/library/timelines/bltimelineuswars.htm)
  • 1675-1676 King Philip's War New England Colonies vs. Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Nipmuck Indians
  • 1689-1697 King William's War The English Colonies vs. France
  • 1702-1713 Queen Anne's War War of Spanish Succession) The English Colonies vs. France
  • 1744-1748 King George's War (War of Austrian Succession) The French Colonies vs. Great Britain
  • 1756-1763 French and Indian War (Seven Years War) The French Colonies vs. Great Britain
  • 1759-1761 Cherokee War English Colonists vs. Cherokee Indians
  • 1775-1783 American Revolution English Colonists vs. Great Britain
  • 1798-1800 Franco-American Naval War United States vs. France
  • 1801-1805; 1815 Barbary Wars United States vs. Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli
  • 1812-1815 War of 1812 United States vs. Great Britain
  • 1813-1814 Creek War United States vs. Creek Indians
  • 1836 War of Texas Independence Texas vs. Mexico
  • 1846-1848 Mexican-American War United States vs. Mexico
  • 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War Union vs. Confederacy
  • 1898 Spanish-American War United States vs. Spain
  • 1914-1918 World War I Triple Alliance: Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary vs. Triple Entente: Britain, France, and Russia.
  • 1939-1945 World War II Germany, Italy, Japan vs. US, Great Britain, France, and Russia
  • 1950-1953 Korean War US (as part of the UN) and South Korea vs. North Korea and Communist China
  • 1960-1975 Vietnam War United States and South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
  • 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion United States vs. Cuba
  • 1983 Grenada United States Intervention
  • 1989 US Invasion of Panama United States vs. Panama
  • 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
  • 1995-1996 Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina United States as part of NATO
  • 2001-??? Invasion of Afghanistan US, etc. vs. the Taliban
  • 2003-2010 Invasion of Iraq United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq

reformation/renaissance 1450 - printing press / bible people could have their own bible priests no longer essential intercessors movable metal type - more durable

other metal inventions?

95 theses - 1517 Martin Luther

15th cetury agriculture mills freed women from grinding meal but long before renaissance wool was big - and looms

illustration of speed of information in 15th century http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noon_bell

During the Siege of Belgrade (the old Hungarian name: Nándorfehérvár) in 1456, Hungarian noblemen John Hunyadi (leader of the Hungarian royal army) and Mihály Szilágyi (Captain of the castle of Nándorfehérvár/ Belgrade) defended the city against the onslaught of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. The siege finished with a great glorious Christian victory. During the siege, Pope Callixtus III ordered the bells of every church to be rung every day at noon, as a call for believers to pray for the defenders of the city. However, in many countries (like England and Spanish Kingdoms), news of the victory arrived before the order, and the ringing of the church bells at noon thus transformed into a commemoration of the victory. The Pope didn't withdraw the order, and Catholic churches still ring the noon bell to this day.[1]

GDP per capita increase because plagues reduced population http://www2.historia.su.se/personal/pergunnar_siden/eauh_r1_siden.pdf

Most historians would probably agree on the overall impact of the plagues and agrarian crisis of the later Middle Ages. The decline in agrarian production was less severe than the decline of population, implying a GDP per capita increase. Due to shortage of labourers, real wages increased while land rents dropped, implying a redistribution of wealth from larger land owners to labourers and tenants. During the second half of the 15th century demographic growth returned, implying recovering land rents and declining real wages. As a result, GDP per capita stagnated until the industrial revolution in most European countries, except England and the Netherlands, according to a number of recent studies1.


The crisis of the Late Middle Ages refers to a series of events in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that brought centuries of European prosperity and growth to a halt.[1] Three major crises led to radical changes in all areas of society: demographic collapse, political instabilities and religious upheavals.[2]

A series of famines and plagues, beginning with the Great Famine of 1315–17 and especially the Black Death of 1348, reduced the population perhaps by half or more as the Medieval Warm Period came to a close and the first century of the Little Ice Age began. It took 150 years for the European population to regain the levels of 1300.[2]

. . .

between 1336 and 1525 there were no less than sixty phases of militant peasant unrest[6].


Famine and disease, and especially the Black Death, hit the towns as hard if not harder than they did the villages. If anything, sanitary conditions in the towns were even worse than in the countryside, and overcrowding contributed to the rapid spread of epidemics. Some cities (like Milan and Nuremberg) escaped the devastation of the Black Death, but in London and many other great cities as many as half of the population died of the disease. In France, the ravages of the Hundred Years' War added to the death toll. The huge costs of warfare and the collapse of agricultural production and trade took their toll on the urban economy as well. In the mid-1300s, France and England both refused to pay off loans made by the great urban banking houses of Italy, which led to financial crisis and collapse in Florence and Sienna. Banking failures disrupted the flow of capital to other merchant enterprises, and worsened the depression that gripped most of Europe's cities in the 1300s. Yet in the long run, towns and cities would rebound and even benefit from the effects of the crisis of the 1300s.


(5) Leon Trotsky, statement made to the Petrograd Soviet (24th October, 1917) On behalf of the Military Revolutionary Committee, I declare that the provisional government is no longer existent. Some ministers have been arrested. Others will be arrested in the course of a few days or hours. The revolutionary garrison, at the disposal of the Military-Revolutionary Committee, has dissolved the session of the Pre-Parliament. We have been on the watch here throughout the night and have followed the detachments of revolutionary soldiers and the workers' guards by telephone as they silently carried out their tasks. The citizen slept in peace, ignorant of the change from one power to another. Railway stations, the post-office, the telegraph, the Petrograd Telegraph Agency, the State Bank, have been occupied. The Winter Palace has not yet been taken, but its fate will be decided during the next few minutes.
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