Segments in this Video

First Arms Race (02:58)


With settlement came the need to protect property from other people. Hunting and farming tools became weapons. Spears and bows and arrows allowed the user to strike from a safer distance; the challenge became accuracy and range.

Battle of Megiddo (02:08)

In 1457 B.C., warlords threatened an Egyptian pharaoh's empire. He combined chariots with archers to increase speed and range, defeating his enemies with the new weapon.

Qin Crossbow (02:38)

China was in turmoil in 300 B.C. A Qin general redesigned the bow and arrow for greater range, accuracy, and use by untrained soldiers—inventing mass production in the process. Its success unified China.

Gunpowder (03:15)

In 1365, Mongol invaders ruled China. Imperial alchemists had discovered "fire medicine;" engineers found it could launch small stones from metal barrels at high speed. With it, the Chinese defeated horseback archers and regained independence.

Artillery (03:33)

Constantinople residents prepared for a siege by the Turks in 1453. Turkish cannons broke through thirteen feet thick city walls after 53 days—rendering them useless. After that, wars were waged at increasing distances and cities spread outward.

Discovering Penicillin (03:00)

In France in 1916, Dr. Alexander Fleming began researching how to limit bacteria and prevent unnecessary deaths among wounded soldiers. He found a mold that secreted an anti-bacterial substance—revolutionizing medicine and saving an estimated 200 million lives.

Atomic Bomb (03:29)

During World War II, American scientists developed a weapon threatening humanity's existence. It destroyed Hiroshima and forced Japan to surrender, yet nuclear weapons have prevented further world wars. View a summary of the arms race throughout human history. (Credits)

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Arms Race (Mankind Decoded)

Part of the Series : Mankind Decoded
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Humans began farming about 10,000 years ago. When crops failed, settlements faced a new threat—war. This documentary highlights innovations in humanity’s arms race, including converting agricultural tools into weapons; Egypt’s use of chariots and archers to increase speed and range; the Qin Dynasty crossbow; China’s guns and gunpowder innovations; and the Turkish use of artillery to destroy Constantinople. World War I inspired Alexander Fleming to discover penicillin, and the atomic bomb dropped on Japan during World War II was so destructive that it has not been used since—preventing nuclear warfare.

Length: 22 minutes

Item#: BVL130787

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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