War is often said to be the mother of invention. However does the statement actually hold water? Is there statistical evidence suggesting that the rate of inventions increase during wartime periods?
This idea has been a topic of significant speculation. For example, it is the topic of the book The Fruits of War: How Military Conflict Accelerates Technology which argues:
Since man first wielded a stick in anger, war and conflict have been prime movers in the progress of science and technology... Michael White demonstrates in this superbly wide-ranging and brilliant history of innovation, almost all major technological developments can be traced back to times of war.
A slightly more skeptical tone is adopted by the website ingenious.org.uk:
Some inventions, such as the bouncing bomb or napalm, are genuine wartime inventions, but many military breakthroughs, including tanks and radar, were already being developed before war broke out. Is war the mother of invention or a hothouse for innovations?
So is war a significant driver of technological invention or innovation?