World War 2 was one of the largest-scale wars in history and was also one of the bloodiest. But some good too came out of the war. You see, in a war, nations’ invent new technologies at a break neck speed to stay ahead of others in the war. One of the most notorious parties partaking in the war was the Nazi party, which had made some breakthroughs in technology on it’s part. In this article we look at the Nazi’s most influential inventions which were no doubt ahead of their time.
The Z series of computers
At a time when computers were extremely rare and when less than 50 of them existed in the world, the Nazis had invented the Z1 computer, to stay ahead of the curve. The Z1 was followed by the Z2, Z3 and finally the Z4.
The Z series of computers achieved many firsts. The Z1 was the world’s first freely programmable computer which used Boolean Logic and floating point numbers. The Z3 was the world’s first working programmable fully automatic computer. The Z4 was the world’s first commercial digital computer.
The Z series is often regarded as the first of and the root of modern computing.
Cryptography was used widely in World War 2 so that only the intended parties get the message and so that the message doesn’t fall in the wrong hands. The Nazis too had an encryption system, called the ‘Enigma Machine’. It was basically a machine which encrypted and decrypted Nazi messages in it’s own cipher. It was patented at the end of World War 1, in 1919 and was used extensively throughout the war.
Although many variations were used to make the key unique, the Enigma cipher was finally decoded in 1932 with the help of three Polish cryptologists. This was a huge discovery as it meant that Nazi communications and secrets could be read by the enemy and may be one of the reasons for the Nazi’s downfall.
Here is another technological innovation by the Nazis, one that impacts us to this day. The Plankalkül was a programming language used by the Nazis for engineering purposes and also for the task of commercialising the Z series of computers.
When translated, Plankalkül meant “Plan Calculus” in English.
Quantum computers, the latest revolution in the field of computing, will use the non-Von Neumann architecture, thus paying tribute to the old Nazi programming language. Silicon Neural Networks, The ever popular cellphone processors, etc use the Non-Von Neumann architecture.
Plankalkül may be considered as the root, as the origin of these products as it was the first product to deviate from the standard Von-Neumann architecture .
The Volksempfänger was a radio receiver developed by the Nazis to get radio out to the public. It was considered a necessary product so as to promote and publicize Nazi propaganda.
It was released at the lowest price possible, which was 76 German Reichsmark equivalent to 2 months of average salary.
It played a sizable role in the spread of radio and the acceptance of the new medium.
Yeah, that comes as a surprise, given that most of us think that 3D came in the the last decade or so. That’s not even remotely close.
According to Variety, the Nazis filmed the 1936 Olympics using a ‘sophisticated stereoscopic camera’. Yep, that means 3D.
It reportedly was a twin-camera Zeis Icon system which filmed all Olympic start event. It even started automatically, triggered by the starting gun shot, for god’s sake!
And how fast was it into merging the two camera streams to make them 3D? Just 7 minutes, which is almost TOO fast, considering the time it was developed in.
It was developed to make the Olympic final results more accurate as in Olympics, even a millisecond and every shred of detail counts.
Some 3D films from 1936 were discovered by Phillipe Mora. You can view more details here.
So, it is a shame to 3D that even after 78 years, it still hasn’t caught on. Real shame.
Although this isn’t strictly technology related, we still slipped it in, for kicks. Yes, in case you don’t know, the world famous fruit flavoured carbonated beverages were a product of the Nazis. This drink still exists and is famous. This was one of the most influential products that the Nazis had introduced. (You know, while speaking about inventions.)
In this article we only mentioned what major technological innovations Nazis had introduced . Nazis had also introduced many new deadly weapons, but we didn’t mention them in this article as we wanted to keep this strictly technology related.
It seems that the Nazis were way ahead of their time after all. If only they hadn’t done the massacres, they would have ruled over the world anyway with their innovations in technology and consumer products.
Nazi innovations still have an impact on us, even after these decades. Their inventions are still used today. Though they may be used for different purposes or may be modified much to suit people’s needs, they still are essentially the same inventions that Nazis introduced at their core.