Weekend Video | Blueprints of War

If you are interested in WWII and industrial design, then this will definitely be the best hour of your week. The program takes a close look at the design and engineering of the instruments of the Second World War like the Sten gun, the famous German Tiger tank (a “luxury item”) with its massive 88mm armament and the game changing Liberty Ships. The examination of the differences in design philosophy of the German armor and the Russian and American tanks is especially interesting. It can be summed up in one statement: “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

There’s also the interesting story of how Stalin, in the 1920s feeling the need to industrialize the Soviet Union, sent a team to Detroit to learn from the American automakers and then apply that mass production manufacturing knowledge back into Russia.

It’s a fascinating film — especially the Eames bit. Thanks to M. Coleman Horn for the tip.

Comments on “Weekend Video | Blueprints of War

    joelon April 21, 2012 @ 8:50 PM:

    This is the second post I’ve seen on this site about the military and the military industrial complex. I can understand the appreciation you have finely made, intelligently designed things. But this post, at least your write up, smacks me as a bit weird. Sure, these things – “the Sten gun, the famous German Tiger tank (a “luxury item”) with its massive 88mm armament and the game changing Liberty Ships ” – were intelligently engineered and well made. But they were also responsible for unimaginable horrors and the suffering of millions. Let’s not forget that.

    Dexon April 21, 2012 @ 11:42 PM:

    The military remains a huge part of our culture, like it or not: technology, sartorial influence, aesthetics. I’m not sure that because some notion of the MIC has appeared twice on this site makes it a disturbing pattern. Nor do I think the author is responsible for qualifying his posts in such a way to make sure that we don’t appreciate these designs or this culture without forgetting what, say, a tank or gun was made for.

    Sir Fopling Flutteron April 22, 2012 @ 3:57 AM:

    It’s part of a BBC series about industrial design.

    For those with an interest in some of the “behind the scenes” elements of warfare, the BBC is currently running a series about logistics in military history – and the key role played by transportation, comms, food, etc.

    Matt Bon April 22, 2012 @ 8:22 PM:

    Vimeo has a slightly higher res copy of the same show. Worth the watch. http://vimeo.com/13324095

    Patrickon April 22, 2012 @ 11:44 PM:

    @ Joel – don’t be a loser. These machines were a necessary evil that revolutionized production processes to the benefit of postwar society.

    randallon April 23, 2012 @ 9:31 AM:

    @ Patrick – Don’t be a dweeb. Necessary or not, ask yourself if it was worth the price paid?

    chrison April 23, 2012 @ 4:28 PM:

    If some of you can’t separate the appreciation for history and design from the atrocities of war, it’s a damn shame.

    David Wrighton April 23, 2012 @ 6:04 PM:

    As a footnote to the above, the Tiger was manufactured by M.A.N. who are a top 30 German company.So the next time you see an M.A.N. bus or truck, think of the design history of the company who put that vehicle you just saw on the road…

    Stephen Berginon April 23, 2012 @ 10:40 PM:

    I think this first-rate, an intelligent, urbane look at some primal designs, and the influence of war on peacetime right down to the white line in the road.

Comments are closed.