Mid Term Exam
February 22, 2000 6:00pm - 7:50pm


Professor A. M. Saperstein
HIS 2510/PCS 2020/PS 2440/PHY 2020 Technology and National Security

This closed book exam is worth 200 points, half for I.D.'s, and half for
essays.  You may choose 10 of the 20 I.D.'s given (10 points each) and
two of the five essays (50 points each).  There is also an "extra
credit" essay worth 20 points.

Write clearly, concisely and backup your arguments and statements.
(Your opinions are valuable, but I want to see their foundations).  Be
as complete and specific as possible.

Name:___________________________             ID:___________________
(Please print last, first, middle)

Your Signature:__________________________________

I.  I.D.: Identify, describe and give the significance of any 10 of the

1.  critical mass - The mass of fissile material at which the rate of neutron loss through the surface of the material just equals the rate of neutron production in the interia. For masses greater than the critical mass, an explosive chain reaction becomes possible. Thus, to create a nuclear fission explosion you must quickly assemble a super-critical mass from sub-critical components.
2.  tritium - A radio-active isotope of hydrogen, containing two neutrons and one proton.  Fusing it with deuterium "drives" the fusion bomb.  The fast neutron resulting from this fusion are also used to make the core fission reaction more efficient as well as to release further fission energy from the non-fissile tamper-container.
3.  binding energy curve - The plot of "nuclear binding energy per nucleon" versus the number of nucleons in the nucleus.  It has a mid-range maximum in the vicinity of iron, decreasing for nuclei both heavier and lighter.  It thus indicates that lighter nuclei are meta-stable against fusion, heavier nuclei meta-stable against fission.
4.  torpedo - A self-propelled, underwater explosive device,  launched from submarines, ships, or aircraft, against target ships or submarines.  A given amount of explosive produces much more damage to a ship's hull when exploded underwater than above water; thus explosive torpedos are much more dangerous than explosive shells, even to armored ships.  The possibility of torpedo attack made major warships vulnurable to much smaller enemies, thus making improbable the old naval dream combat of a "slugging it out" between the battleship prides of the various navies.
5. isotope - Chemical elements are distinguished by the number of protons in their nucleus but a given element may have differing numbers of neutrons; these different nuclear structures are referred to as "isotopes" of the same chemical element..  Thus a given bunch of atoms may all have the same chemical structure and behavior but consist of nuclei having different nuclear structures and behavior.  Ordinary chemical methods will not suffice to separate different isotopes of the same element yet it may be necessary to separate them so as to make use of their different nuclear properties, e.g., fissionability or radioactivity.  Hence very difficult physical means of separation must be utilized.
6.  lithium deuteride - A solid chemical combination of the six-nucleon isotope of lithium and the two- nucleon isotope of hydrogen.  In the presence of neutrons and gamma rays, it produced tritons and deuterons which then fused, leading to helium, neutrons, and a great deal of energy.  It made a practical, compact, fusion weapon possible since without it, the fusion fuels were either gases or refrigerated liquids.
7.  half-life - The time interval over which half of any intial collection of radioactive nuclei decays into their product nuclei.  The "any" implies that radioactivity is an inherent, statistical property of the nuclei.  The production of long half-life element in a nuclear explosion means that the detonation will continue to be dangerous, via radioactivity, long after, and far away from, the explosion.
8.  needle gun - Breech-loading, percussion-cap firing, rifle introduced into the Prussian army in mid-nineteenth century.  It enabled Prussian infantry to fire more rapidly, and safely, from prone positions, giving them great advantages over the muzzle-loading, standing, soldiers of their opponent's conventional armies.
9.  cross bow - A short, metal, bow, pulled by a windless, released by a trigger, and firing a short metal "bolt" with tremendous penetrating power at short range. Though more difficult to manufacture than an "ordinary bow", and slower to use, it required much less training and practice from its users to be deadly.  It deprived the armored knight of his initial great advantages over the foot soldier, thus contributing to the fall of feudalism.
10.  Dreadnaught - Put together in one British Imperial package all of the advances in naval propusion, armor, gunnary, and tactics of the late 19th-century.  Made all of the other European naval powers (and would-be powers) very nervous; just as they were "catching up" to the British, the British "leaped ahead".  So the 20th century started with renewed competition for 19th century naval  weapons.  Every body put almost all of their eggs into the old basket, were completely unprepared for the real 20th century naval wars.
11.  LaGlorie - French armored steam warship of mid-19th century, their attempt to leap-frog over British naval dominance.  Made the British leap back, increasing their support of, and reliance upon, Briish heavy industry.
12.  command technology - Instead of the military waiting to see what civilian engineers and entrepeneurs will come up with that may have military applications, the military determines what it wants - or dreams about, then goes out to "persuade" civil industry to create and supply it.  Result is much more rapid arms innovation, much closer ties between military and industry, much less critical control of military by civilians.
13.  Adm. Mahan - American naval theorist and teacher.  Wrote seminal book, incorporating past and present practices and results of British naval imperialism; book then became the Bible for other nations, and the British, trying to emmulate or continue British successes.  Helped contribute to naval arms races since everybody trying to do same thing.
14.  Siege of Sevastopol - Battle in Crimean War, on Russian territory, very far away from British and French sources of supply, which the Russians lost.  Lesson to all was need for efficient supply lines - land and sea: build up merchant marine and/or railroads.
15.  Gen. Alfred von Schlieffen - Planner on Imperial German General Staff.  Created plan whereby Germany would attempt to quickly knock France out of any Franco-German war by over-running a neutral Belgium, invading France in back of its German frontier fortifications.  Worked in WWII, almost worked in WWI.  By violating neutral Belium in WWI, it helped turn the world, previously neutral, against Germany, enhanced the success of the British naval blockade of Germany, contributed greatly to the economic collapse of German civil society and thus to the loss of the war by the German military in spite of them not being defeated on the battlefield.
16.  rifling - Spiral grooves, cut in the gun barrel, which forced the bullet to spin on its way out of the gun, upon being fired.  Spiralling bullet had a great deal of stability, hence accuracy, over long ranges compared to non-spiralling musket ball.  Made it hard to load gun from muzzle, thus increased demand for breech loading weaponms.
17.  Maurice of Orange - Dutch aristocrat and soldier, in time of wars of Dutch rebellion against Spain.  Intensively drilled and trained his soldiers so that they could obey commands, load, and fire their weapons, quickly and efficiently, even under hostile fire.  Set the standards for all future Western armies.
18.  stirrup - Foot brace hanging from two sides of saddle into which both of rider's feet were inserted.  made it possible for rider to stabilize himself, even at high speeds, without the use of his hands, thus leaving them free to use weapons - sword, lance, bow, shield.  Made it possible for mounted warrior to dominate over foot soldiers, thus contrbuting to rise of feudal society.
19.  William Armstrong - British industrialist; manufacturer and seller of steel cannon, ships, and other weapons. Contributed to 19th century military-industrial complex, military-technological revolution, and arms races via alternatively selling to foreign and domestic customers.
20.  machine gun - Fired hundreds of rifle bullets per minute, replacing the efforts of many soldiers by just two.  Filled the air with bullets, making old-fashioned heroic infantry and cavalry charges stupidly suicidal.  Turned fluid movement war into static trench war and made enormous demands upon supply lines to furnish all of the bullets .

II.  Essays: Answer any two of the following.  In all of your answers
try to emphasize the technological aspects.  Write clearly, completely,
and concisely, backing up all your assertions with appropriate material
from course readings, films, or discussions.

1. Why did France do so badly in the France-Prussian war compared with
the Napoleonic wars?
Points to be made:
Napoleanic wars - the entire French nation, enthusiastically in arms under experienced, professional leaders: a nation in arms, versus small, aristocratic armies with no popular support; sucessor and continuation of dominent military innovators of Europe vs conservative governments and classes; a leader in industrial revolution vs primarily agrarian ruling classes; a revolutionary spirit which gained support in the underclasses of many of the nations opposed to France.
Franco-Prussian war - France had small, professional army, led by aristocrats, Prussia had large reserves led by military professional;  Prussia had full-time planning staff which had been thinking about, and preparing entire society for, war for long time; Prussia had new, growing industry supplying new weapons while France had conservative industry and weapons; Prussians realized that new weapons required intensive training which they did whereas France seemed to think that troops would figure out how to use new weapons after war started.

2. How did democracy further or hinder European arms races?
Points to be made: At beginning, non-aristocratic classes had votes but paid no taxes which didn't hinder their voting for pro-military adventure governments, especially since a possible war - in which few were expected to get hurt - added excitement to tedious urban and rural lives. Given the growing populations, non-agricultural jobs were necessary but in short supply; military adventure was seen as a source of good jobs for voting workers as well as profits for the owners. Popular education led to nationalistic indoctrination -the growth of patriotism and the idea that others were different, envious, and eager to steal whatever political and economic gains the people had made.  Ruling classes had not been hostile to their opponent countries - they fought for honor and "interests"; thus it was easy and quick to turn them on to a conflict, just as easy to turn them off.  The new voting classes may have had to be "educated" to becoming interested in a particular war, but once committed, they were much harder to turn off - they made much more "passionate enemies'.

3. Why were European navies socially and technology more advanced than
the armies?
Navies had always had more "technological" requirements than armies: it required technology to move around at sea whereas people had always known how to walk on land.  Fighting as sea was still more different from that on land, requiring still more technical knowledge and skill.  Also, ships could be made big enough to carry and use new and bigger weaponry whereas land military technology was limited by human and horse capability and thus was inherently technologically conservative until the advent of the gasoline motor in the 20th century.  The ruling classes were primarily agrarian based and not technologically motivated - they "owned" the land, their serfs farmed it (and thus applied whatever technology was required).  They were used to dominating people, not the physical environment - hence when they left their estates, they went to the army, not the navy.  So, to a large extent, the navy received the innovative, socially mobile commercial classes, the army got the stick-in -the-mud aristocrats..

4. The Prussian General Staff had a "railroad department". Why? What did
it accomplish? How? Was it unique?
They recognized that they had potential "enemies" on all sides and that they couldn't match them with standing armies.  They had to have large reserves which had to be moved quickly from their civil life in the country's interior to the borders when they were mobilyzed.  Furthermore, their numbers were still relatively small and so they had to be rushed from temporarily overwhelming concentrations on one border to concentrations on another border.  There was no time, or allowance for the break in military discipline required, for foraging for food; all had to be supplied from the countries interior.  Finally, the new weapons required  a great deal of ammunition and replenishment.  For these reasons, effective transportation was the key to any possible Prussian military success.  They could not depend upon the market-dominated civilian development of railroads; rails and train schedules had to be determined by military requirements with civil society adapting to them as best as it could.  Instead of railroads going where the people were, the people went where the rqailroads were.  The results were a military power successful beyond what might have been expected by the size and resources of the country.  It won many wars, thus acquiring size and resources.  Other nations watched,  eventually learned, and duplicated the system to varying degree. Certainly, by WWI, France had an equally efficient railroad system, which saved it.

5. Describe completely the difference between fission and fusion type
nuclear weapons, giving full reasons for the difference.
Fission weapons depend upon the neutron-induced splitting of heavy nuclei, releasing energy and further neutrons which cause further fissions and thus an explosive chain reaction.  Since neutrons have no difficulty in penetrating to the nucleus, there is no requirement of high temperatures to initiate or carry out the explosion.  There is, however the need for a critical mass which must be assembled very rapidly so that it is not blown apart by the initial energy releases before most of the "fuel" is "consumed".  This rapid assembly is carried out via chemical explosives, either in a "gun-type" which assembles several smaller blocks into a single bigger one, or in an "implosion" type which compresses one sub-critical piece into a higher density super-critical one.  The need for a rapid and precise assembly of sub-critical mass blocks of fissile material into a super-critical mass means that there is a practical limit as to how much fissile material can be incorporated into a weapon, hence an upper limit to its explosive power.  Fusion weapons get their energy from the fusing together of light nuclei to create heavier ones while relesing energy.   There is no dependence upon neutrons (which would be lost in a sub-critical mass) to carry on the chain reaction; hence there is no relevant critical mass.  Thus there is no limit to the amount of fusionable material which can be incorporated into the weapon and no limit on its explosive power.  But, the positively charge nuclei don't normally get close enough to each other to fuse.  Hence very high temperatures are required, temperatures which - so far - have only been attainable via the use of fission explosions as a trigger.  Thus a fusion weapon is really a fission-fusion weapon, getting its "bang" from both physical processes.

6. What were the factors pushing the European powers into
"imperialism"?  Why were they so "successful"?
Growing population, limited land meant that people had to "move out".  Growing agricultural efficiency meant that these people could be fed even if they didn't farm.  The industrial revolution meant that these people could produce a surplus of industrial goods in the cities - but noone knew how to keep a society going by letting its workers utilyze their surplus production.  Hence they needed foreign markets - both for their goods and their "surplus" people.  It was much easier and more "profitable" to trade with other people if you governed them rather than having to bargain with them.  You could also more easily send your emmigrants to them if the were "yours".  Hence the push to colonize others, either by sea or by land.  Success depended upon the relatively higher state of discipline of the European societies and their armies, their advanced military technology and organization (due to their long history of wars), compared with their "victims", and their relatively greater production - both of trade goods and military ware.  Inadvertant biological warfare, in the form of diseases to which the Europeans had immunity and the colonial peoples did not, also further European success.

III.  Extra Credit (20 points)

1. Make up an appropriate essay question and then answer it with at
least two paragraphs.

April 27, 2000 / 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Professor A.M. Saperstein
HIS 251/ PHY 202/PS 2441 / PCS 202
Science, Technology and War


This closed book exam is worth 350 points. Write clearly and concisely in your "blue book", backup your arguments and statements with facts (give sources for facts and ideas). Be as complete and specific as possible.

I. Identify, describe, and give the significance of any fifteen of the following (10 points each for a total of 150 points).
3. infra-red
4. Just war theory
5. Committee on the Present Danger
6. Pershing II
8. ABM Treaty
9. MX
10. Baruch Plan
11. CTBT
12. Cuban Missile Crisis
13. ICBM gap
14. Brilliant pebbles
15. tripwire
16. Safeguard
17. massive retaliation
18. SIOP
19. NSC-68
20. overpressure
21. electromagnetic pulse
22. neutron
23. nuclear winter
24. fallout
25. plutonium
26. U-238
27. gamma ray
28. merchant ships capable of sailing the North Atlantic
29. Krupp
30. deuterium

II. Essay

Answer any four of the following (150 points each). In all of your answers, try to emphasize the scientific/technological aspects; write clearly, completely, and concisely backup your assertions with appropriate material from the course readings, films, or discussions.

1. Describe, carefully, how the effects of a nuclear explosive weapon differs from those of a conventional explosive weapon.

2. What is the relation of ASAT to arms central and the ABM issue? In light of this, should ASAT be banned or encouraged?

3. What is "verification" in the nuclear age, why is it important, and how might it be carried out?

4. What was the origin of MIRV and how did it lead to "favorable exchange ratios"? What was their significance?

5. What is the relation between "vertical proliferation" and "horizontal proliferation", should they be "controlled, what are the difficulties in controlling them, and how might these difficulties be overcame?

6. Describe completely the TRIAD, giving the advantages and disadvantages of each of its elements, how they came about, and the interplay between them.

7. What was SDI, what were its goals-actual and announced, how were they to be accomplished, and why was it objectionable to many (Who?)?

8. What is the relationship between SALT, ABM, INF, and START?

III. Extra credit (30 points)

Make up an appropriate essay question and answer it with at least two cogent paragraphs.