military research and science and war 3037

acceptable methods further testifies to the
power of obedience in shaping human action
(Blass 2000).
Milgram offers an important approach to
explaining the Holocaust by emphasizing the
bureaucratic nature of evil, which relegated
individuals to executioners of orders issued by a
legitimate authority. Sociologists have extended
this analysis and provided compelling accounts
of obedience as root causes of many horrific
crimes, ranging from the My Lai massacre to
Watergate (Hamilton & Kelman 1989). How
ever, it is arguably somewhat unclear to what
extent Milgrams findings can help explain the
occurrence of the Holocaust itself. Whereas
obedience kept the machinery of death running
with frightening efficiency, historians often cau
tion against ignoring the malice and sadism that
many of Hitlers executioners brought to the
task (see Blass 2004).
Milgrams dramatic experiments have left a
lasting impression beyond the social sciences.
They are the topic of various movies, including
the 1975 TV film The Tenth Level starring
William Shatner. Further, the 37 percent of
participants who did not obey were memoria
lized in a 1986 song by the rock musician
Peter Gabriel titled We Do What Were Told
(Milgrams 37).

SEE ALSO: Aggression; Asch Experiments;
Authority and Conformity; Experimental Meth
ods; Holocaust; Organizations; Social Networks;
Social Psychology; Zimbardo Prison Experiment


Blass, T. (Ed.) (2000) Obedience to Authority: Current
Perspectives on the Milgram Paradigm. Erlbaum,
Mahwah, NJ.
Blass, T. (2004) The Man Who Shocked the World:
The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram. Basic
Books, New York.
Hamilton, V. L. & Kelman, H. (1989) Crimes of
Obedience: Toward a Social Psychology of Authority
and Responsibility. Yale University Press, New
Milgram, S. (1963) Behavioral Study of Obedience.
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 69:
371 8.
Milgram, S. (1965) Some Conditions of Obedience
and Disobedience to Authority. Human Relations
18: 57 76.
Milgram, S. (1974) Obedience to Authority: An
Experimental View. Harper & Row, New York.

military research and
science and war

Brian Woods

The relationship between science, technology,
and war has a long history. Studies of catapults,
for example, have highlighted the important
role of science and technology in ancient
society and in ancient warfare. The rise of
advanced catapults not only attracted the inter
est and financial support of governments,
but also combined early studies of geometry,
physics, and technology, and led to the rise in
the visibility and status of the engineers that
worked on them. The medieval period also saw
advancements in arms and armor, artillery, for
tifications, and warships. Unlike the Roman
Empire, which had centralized its arms manu
facture, producing standardized weapons, it
seems that the medieval arms industry was
made up of a diverse array of artisans forging
personalized weapons.
A challenge to the independent artisans came
in eighteenth century France when state mili
tary engineers introduced technical drawings
and the tools of manufacturing tolerance to
affect standardization and the production of
interchangeable parts for weapons and other
military artifacts. Notwithstanding, science and
engineering in France remained a relatively
disorganized activity up until the Franco
Prussian war (18701). The French defeat and
the siege of Paris in 1870 had both an immedi
ate and a long term effect on science in France.
During the siege, a range of science and engi
neering societies came up with ideas for both
defense and survival. The Society of Civil
Engineers, for example, developed mobile ram
parts and the Paris Chemical Society was
involved in improvements to the manufacture
of explosives and cannon, developments in