Most of us view war as a sometimes necessary evil, but an evil to be avoided if possible. The sad reality is we need armed forces to protect our security and preserve our freedoms. Surprisingly, military enterprise sometimes invents things that benefit civilian society in amazing ways.
Radar made a significant difference that helped turn the tide in our favor during World War II. Yet anyone who travels by plane enjoys the benefits of radar. It is fair to say thousands of lives have been saved because of it. It is much, much safer to fly in a commercial plane than to ride in an auto.
Mentalfloss.com suggests a number of other military inventions that benefit us civilians. For example, the Internet was a military creation. Yet most of us depend upon the Internet on a daily basis.
We recently visited our son and daughter-in-law in St. Louis. How did we find our way? Through a military invention, the GPS. I also printed up a set of back-up directions via the Internet from MapQuest, thus depending upon both technologies.
Could you imagine life without duct tape? Some postulate the universe is held together with it. According to mentalfloss.com, “In 1942, duct tape was invented for the military as a way to seal ammunition cases so that water couldn’t get in. Soldiers during WWII quickly realized that it worked well for fixing army gear, too.”
Computers were also developed for military use; the first one (with vacuum tubes) was engineered by our military during the Second World War. Did you warm up a cup of coffee in your microwave today? The microwave was also a military invention, a side-effect of radar.
Wikipedia lists the jet as yet another military invention that has benefited us civilians, replacing the much-slower propeller planes. Even digital photography was — at first — a military application.