The year 1916 opened with no prospect of victory for any of the participants in the Great War—or even the sign of an ending—despite millions of casualties on all sides. The belligerents had co-opted large segments of industrial and scientific capacity and shifted significant portions of their populations away from peacetime industries into military service. Those in charge desperately sought to find some way of gaining an advantage, of any kind, over their opponents. One possible road to victory lay through the invention or adoption of some kind of technology to gain even a small measure of dominance, if not in the trenches in northern France and Belgium, then in the open oceans that were so vital to the trade that supplied the vast appetite of wartime production. These slides from Scientific American issues in 1916 give us a snapshot of that struggle.

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