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Impact of the Wright Brother's Discovery

Info: 3265 words (13 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in History

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Assess whether the impact of the Wright brother’s discovery of flight has affected the world


Indeed the Wright’s discovery of flight in 1903 has powerfully impacted the world in many areas, as it has impacted mostly negatively but there were also positive aspects to it. This is due to the fact of its unethical uses and its contribution to air pollution. These problems are a result of the Wright Brothers creating a revolutionary invention along with future problems at the same time. Furthermore, despite these negative impacts, there are also positive impacts. These include the introduction of easier transportation and the accessibility for cultural exchange. Consequently, by witnessing these effects today, the discovery of flight is ultimately a negative creation for this world.

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Initially, shortly after the Wright brothers’ power of discovering flight in 1903, their invention was used by the authority for purposes the brothers hadn’t intended for the aeroplane. The plane was intended to carry passengers around the world.[1] However, 11 years after the Wright brothers built their first functional aircraft, WW1 started, where the use of planes was abused for aircraft bombers mounted with weapons to attack other aircraft. The death toll of WW1 could have decreased if flying wasn’t discovered as ‘Almost as many Camel pilots were killed in accidents as those who died in combat’.[2] As a result, if the Wright brothers hadn’t invented the plane, the amount of people who died in aerial warfare wouldn’t have doubled to be added to the WW1 death toll. Also, by the Wright brothers’ ability of developing the aeroplane, not only were they used in WW1, but they were also used in WW2 in a more extreme practice by the Japanese and eventually by the US for 2 huge bombings in Japan which caused a greater impact than WW1. During WW2, 2800 Japanese kamikaze pilots were deployed killing 4900 other sailors with them.[3] Towards the end of the war, the US used 2 planes, B-29 bomber, to detonate 2 atomic bombs over 2 Japanese cities.[4] Hence, if aeroplanes weren’t invented, the B-29 bombers wouldn’t have been invented as well and thus wouldn’t have detonated the bombs. This shows the vast amount of people aeroplanes killed thus demonstrating aeroplanes’ negative impact towards the world.

However on the other hand, although the plane was used in an unethical way shortly after it was invented, after both wars, the plane was finally used for its initial purpose; to transport people around the world. Subsequently, it was easier to get from place to place. This is evident as nowadays, to get from one place to another, it would take a few hours whereas travelling by any other transport would take longer than the plane. For example in Australia, if a person from Sydney needed to get to Perth, flying would be significantly quicker as it would take a few hours other than a few days in a car. This also factors in the cost of the plane ticket but the cost would be only slightly higher because travelling by car would need multiple stops for accommodation and fuel. However, comparing the time it takes between the plane and car, the plane trip is quicker than the car.[5] According to a historian Richard Ned Lebow, professor of international political theory, says, “one important consequence of both world wars greatly accelerated science and technology. During these world wars, if militaries around the world didn’t use aeroplanes, safe and efficient airline travels we see today would have been delayed several decades”.[6] Therefore, the discovery of flight has impacted the world positively in a way of making transportation easier.

Furthermore, the Wright brothers invented the plane as well as a contributor to future crises which could eventually cause Earth to become uninhabitable for humans. As a result, the Wright brothers had the power to create the plane which releases greenhouse gases that would affect the environment negatively. Ever since 1903, each time the plane that was running, it was always emitting heat gases into the atmosphere, destroying the ozone bit by bit. This is evident as a European study predicts a 43% rise in greenhouse gases from planes within two decades, due to increased air traffic.[7] Since technology is developing every day, planes are developing which means more greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. For example, a round-trip between New York and California emits 20% of the carbon dioxide a single car does in one whole year so flying is one of many reasons why the planet is warming up extremely in short amounts of time.[8] In future years, there would be an increase in aircraft in the world and sooner or later, the Earth will reach a limit where vegetation in the world can’t get rid of the gases and all life on Earth would perish. This is why the Wright brothers invention of the plane is going to limit Earth’s survival. If the plane wasn’t invented, the world would have at least a few more decades to figure out a solution and eliminate all greenhouse gases from Earth. This is because 20,000 planes are currently fit to fly and if they were non-existent, a significant amount of greenhouse gases from planes today would be reduced each year.[9] This shows that the Wright brother’s invention could lead Earth to its demise.

Lastly, in contrast to the Wright brother’s invention going to destroy all life on life, cultural exchange with the use of aeroplanes allows individuals to enjoy life through cultural exchange. Air travel allows tourists to travel to parts of the world that allow them to experience how other countries behave and can draw differences between where they come from. As a result of an opportunity for air travel, cultural exchange is presented when people migrate to other countries to better their lifestyles through the use of planes. Without planes, those who want or need to migrate would have to go on boats and the time boats take to travel is always unpredictable thus delaying cultural exchange around the world. For example in Australia, more asylum seekers are coming to Australia by planes than boats, which allows for cultural exchange because of the invention of the plane.[10] This means that the development of air travel has allowed asylum seekers to access other countries others thus exchanging their culture in Australia. Air travel allows the importance of cultural exchange to be practised as stereotypes of different cultures can be debunked as tourists see other point of views. There is a stereotype about Pakistanis being terrorists but unless they have met a Pakastani citizen, they can’t make a critical judgement about them.[11] Without planes, stereotypes about different countries and cultures would be held on longer or even for the rest of an individual’s life as they would most likely not travel to another country. Therefore, planes help with the exchange of cultures around the world.

Consequently, although there are many negative and positive impacts of aeroplanes, the negative impacts of the aeroplanes towards the world outweigh the positive impacts of aeroplanes. This is because of the unethical uses of the plane and the greenhouse gases it produces. Therefore, the Wright Brothers discovery of flight impacted the world negatively.


Frost, S 16 August 2012, ‘Pros & Cons of Air Travel’, USA TODAY, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://traveltips.usatoday.com/pros-cons-air-travel-105581.html>.

In this website, the  information I got out of it was the pros and cons of air travel which include, time, convenience, airport hassles and cost. The website told me the advantages of taking a plane to other states or countries than a car.

History.com Editors 18 November 2009, ‘Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’, History, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/bombing-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki>.

In this website, the information I got out of it was the location of the two bombs dropped the two cities in Japan towards the end of WW2. It provides the death count of when the bombs hit Japan and the US’ reason for detonating the bombs.

Hutchens, G and Martin, S 18 February 2019, ‘More asylum seekers come to Australia by plane than boat’, The West Australian, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://thewest.com.au/politics/federal-politics/more-asylum-seekers-come-to-australia-by-plane-than-boat-ng-b881108447z>.

This is a recent Australian news article on the internet about the events of recent asylum seeker activities. I learnt the present method of how asylum seekers are coming to Australia nowadays; by aeroplanes.

Laliberte M 19 November 2018, ‘Here’s How Many Planes Are in the Sky Right Now’, Reader’s Digest, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://www.rd.com/advice/travel/how-many-planes-are-in-the-sky/>.

In this news article, it tells me about the amount of planes that are actively running. This links to the point I am making about how much greenhouse gases a single plane makes and in the article, it tells your that bout 20 000 planes are actively running. This shows that a lot of greenhouse gases are being released due to the amount of planes in the world.

Myers, C 15 November 2016,  ‘11 Fascinating Details About the Lives of Kamikaze Pilots’, Ranker, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-kamikaze-pilots/christopher-myers>.

This website provides the statistics of the kamikaze pilots which include the amount of pilots deployed and how many people they killed along with them. It also provides facts about being a kamikaze pilot but I didn’t need it as it didn’t link to my point.

Nelsen, A 29 January 2016, ‘Air pollution from Europe’s planes set to rise by nearly half’, The Guardian, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/29/air-pollution-from-europes-planes-set-to-rise-by-nearly-half>. 

This article is about European planes which predicts the rise in planes along with the amount of greenhouse gases it will emit upon the world. It provides statistics of how much the increase in plane traffic will also increase the amount of greenhouse gases.

Niiler, E 25 June 2014, ‘What If World War I Never Happened?’, Seeker, viewed 18 July 2018, <https://www.seeker.com/what-if-world-war-i-never-happened-1768742022.html>.

In this website, the information inside while I reading this it about the scenario that ‘what if WW1 didn’t happen’. The consequences of the WW1 not happening included if the world would not be as it is now as WW1 boosted the technology of the world. Technology that would have been delayed includes flight only carrying a few people at a time and having safe flight travels.

Schlossberg, T 27 July 2017, ‘Flying Is Bad For The Planet. You Can Help Make It Better’, New York TImes, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/climate/airplane-pollution-global-warming.html>.

This article told me about why travelling by plane is bad and what options you can use other than taking the plane but if not taking the plane can’t be helped, the article suggests ways to reduce the carbon dioxide emitted by planes. These include not flying at all or listening to the flight attendants.

Smith, B 6 September 2018, ‘Almost as many pilots died flying this World War I plane in training as in combat’, Smithsonian Insider, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://insider.si.edu/2018/09/two-aviation-treasures-bequeathed-to-the-smithsonian/>.

The information on this website is about the ace fighters from WW1. This tells me about the death toll of the ace fighters were almost as many as those in combat. It sows that planes were very hard to manovre during WW1

Tariq, A 2 April 2018, ‘Why Cultural Exchanges Are Important’, ProperGaanda, viewed 19 July 2019, <https://www.propergaanda.com/cultural-exchanges-important/>.

This website explains to me why the cultural exchange is important. This links to my response because the aeroplanes allow the opportunity for others around the world to experience cultural exchange when they travel to other countries.

Walker, J 15 August 2016, ‘The Next Step in Aviation: The Wright Brothers Carry the First Passenger 1908’, The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, viewed 18 July 2019, <https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/wright-brothers.html>.

This blog shows evidence that the Wright brothers’ initial intentions of the plane was to carry passengers around the world. I used this in my response to prove that the plane was used in unethical reasons and not to it initial purpose shortly after it was created.

[1] Joel Walker,‘The Next Step in Aviation: The Wright Brothers Carry the First Passenger 1908’ The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, (15 August, 2016), https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/wright-brothers.html, accessed 18 July 2019.

[2] Brendan L. Smith, ‘Almost as many pilots died flying this World War I plane in training as in combat’ Smithsonian Insider, (6 September, 2018), https://insider.si.edu/2018/09/two-aviation-treasures-bequeathed-to-the-smithsonian/, accessed 18 July 2019.

[3] Christopher Myers, ‘11 Fascinating Details About the Lives of Kamikaze Pilots’ Ranker, (15 November, 2016), https://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-kamikaze-pilots/christopher-myers, accessed 18 July 2019.

[4]History.com Editors, ‘Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ History, (18 November, 2009), https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/bombing-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki, accessed 18 July 2019

[5] Shelley Frost, ‘Pros & Cons of Air Travel’ USA TODAY, (16 August, 2012), https://traveltips.usatoday.com/pros-cons-air-travel-105581.html, accessed 18 July 2019.

[6] Eric Niiler, ‘What If World War I Never Happened?’ Seeker, (25 June, 2014), https://www.seeker.com/what-if-world-war-i-never-happened-1768742022.html, accessed 18 July 2019.

[7] Arthur Nelsen, ‘Air pollution from Europe’s planes set to rise by nearly half’ The Guardian, (29 January, 2016), https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/29/air-pollution-from-europes-planes-set-to-rise-by-nearly-half, accessed 18 July 2019.

[8] Tatiana Schlossberg, ‘Flying Is Bad For The Planet. You Can Help Make It Better’ New York TImes, (27 July, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/climate/airplane-pollution-global-warming.html, accessed 18 July 2019.

[9] Marissa Laliberte, ‘Here’s How Many Planes Are in the Sky Right Now’ Reader’s Digest, (19 November, 2018), https://www.rd.com/advice/travel/how-many-planes-are-in-the-sky/, accessed 18 July 2019.

[10] Gareth Hutchens and Sarah Martin, ‘More asylum seekers come to Australia by plane than boat’ The West Australian, (18 February, 2019), https://thewest.com.au/politics/federal-politics/more-asylum-seekers-come-to-australia-by-plane-than-boat-ng-b881108447z, accessed 18 July 2019.

[11] Ayesha Tariq, ‘Why Cultural Exchanges Are Important’ ProperGaanda, (2 April, 2018), https://www.propergaanda.com/cultural-exchanges-important/, accessed 19 July 2019.


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