The Invisible Weapon

The Invisible Weapon : Telecommunications and International Politics, 1851-1945

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Telecommunication is, and always has been, a political technology, as the timely flow of information is a vital instrument of power. This book examines the political history of telecommunications between 1851, the year the first telegraph cable linked France and Britain, and the end of World War II. Headrick argues that telecommunication gives people options, not orders. During periods of peace, cables and radio were, as many had predicted, instruments of peace; in times of tension, they became instruments of politics, tools for rival interests, and weapons of war. the book illuminates the political aspects of information technology: the speed of telegraphy, which could diffuse conflicts in far-flung empires, but which also hastened the deterioration of diplomacy on the brink of the First World War; the broad coverage of radio, which increased public knowledge and public pressure on governments, and consequently the political interest in controlling news; and the security of telecommunications, which made communications strategy, communications intelligence, and cryptography decisive tools during the two World more

Product details

  • Hardback | 300 pages
  • 157.48 x 218.44 x 30.48mm | 544.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 4 maps, 2 figures, 12 tables
  • 0195062736
  • 9780195062731

Review quote

'This is a fascinating study of the impact of one particular ingredient of the nineteenth-century scientific and technological revolution which is still transforming our modern world. It will be of interest both to general readers and to students of modern warfare, colonialism, diplomacy and international relations.' Ruth Henig, University of Lancaster, European History Quarterlyshow more

Back cover copy

Telecommunications and International Politics 1851-1945.Headrick examines the political history of telecommunications from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of World War II, and illustrates how this technology gave nations a new instrument for international more

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