During WWI, being able to communicate on the battle field was a matter of life and death. Many technological advances were made during the Great War, the telephone, telegraph, and radio being among them. The telephone was preferred because of the immediacy of communication. However, the telegraph could transmit messages over longer distances but took more time. A person using a telegraph would have to tap a message out in code using a machine called a Morse key. The message traveled to another operator who decoded the long and short taps into words, and then passed the message on. This was called a telegram. The landlines connecting these devices were also highly unreliable. Typically, the lines were vulnerable to enemy fire and communication would be lost immediately. It was also not too difficult for enemies to tap into each other lines to intercept messages. The military had to develop an elaborate network of lines in order to make this method work. The trial and error of these methods lead to the serious use of the radio during WWI. Advances in radio technology such as oscillators, amplifiers and the electron tube made reliable voice communication possible and wireless. Radio operators with portable transmitters, for instance, were able to warn soldiers of an attack of poisonous gas, giving them time to don their gas masks. Still, the technology had problems and was far from perfect. These developments during WWI paved the way for easier communication on the home front and for subsequent wars.
Post by Jackie Slanley