Max Weber a German sociologist believed the most crucial information management was record keeping and centralization. After the Civil War the US was paying more than 2 million pensions, none of the individuals had identification other than a birth certificate, there was no centralization, or even typewriters to assist in record keeping. How could the US government realistically keep track of what was getting paid and to whom? How to verify whether a person was who they say they were? After the Civil War, Montegomery Miegs was put in charge of the Pension division, where he commissioned a new building, “The National Building Museum”, to house the workers he would need to hire to streamline the system.
Prior to WWII the US Army would reduce in size after war, because of the thought “standing armies are dangerous”. The shift however after WWII is that a standing army should be a permanent fixture in the US. President Eisenhower in his farewell speech recognized the changing military landscape. Besides military personnel and weaponery, large expenditures were made towards “computing”.Many technological advances stem from war. During the 1950’s analog computers were used to calculate missile trajectories. The analog computers needed 7-8 men to operate and feed it information. These computers were used to help fight global communism.
In the 1930’s Vannevar Bush created a differential analyzer, an analog computer. During the war it was used non-stop in the MIT Radiation lab (http://museum.mit.edu/150/22). Vannever Bush theorized that men need a device to store and categorize their books, personal papers, and records that can be accessed with expediency, he named it the “memex”. The “memex” would help supplement a man’s memory and allow him to better use the information at his disposal. Unlike Carr, Bush believed the memory worked by creating networks and associations, in a non-linear fashion. Bush wondered why if there was a “better option” for people to use why would they not use it? Bush was fortunate to live in a changing age, analog computers to the “electronics revolution”.
The invention of ENIAC one of the first electrical computers was contained in multiple rooms it was so large. It operated using a thermionic/ vacuum tubes. The downside to these tubes were their size, fragility, power requirements and the heat generated. During their time these were magnificent machines that took up large amounts of space but nowadays computers that fit in our bags and on our tabletops are more powerful.
What facilitated this post war change? Was it the realization a country needed a standing army to advance technology to helpfacilitate safety? Was it purely to prevent the global spread of communism?