In This Review

The Invisible Weapon: Telecommunications and International Politics, 1851-1945
The Invisible Weapon: Telecommunications and International Politics, 1851-1945
By Daniel R. Headrick
Oxford University Press, 1991, 289 pp

A fascinating study of the relationship between the ability to communicate and the balance of power. British control of cables before World War I gave that country an enormous intelligence and communications advantage over its competitors-a boon not lost on British planners, who early in the twentieth century considered cable communications an important element of imperial strategy. Other countries paid heed as well, with Germany fielding mobile radios as early as 1904. The latter parts of the book, which deal chiefly with communications intelligence in World War II, break little new ground, but overall this is a rare and welcome contribution to the underdeveloped literature on technology and international relations.