On this day the inventor of one of the deadliest weapons in history – the machine gun – died. Richard Jordan Gatling invented a weapon that was named after him (the Gatling gun) and that soon became the fear and terror among soldiers around the world. Interestingly, Gatling was educated to become a physician and had a Ph.D. in medicine. The reason because of which he invented a machine gun is very unusual.
Namely, he noted that in the American Civil War more soldiers died from disease than from rifle bullets. By inventing the machine gun, he wanted to reduce the number of men in the armies, and thus the number of deaths on the battlefield, and show how meaningless war is. It is therefore a paradox that his motives for the invention of this weapon were actually humane.
He thought that, from now on, the wars would be fought by a small number of people with great firepower, and that the need for large armies in which many die from diseases would disappear. It is interesting that he made the machine gun on the basis of his earlier invention – a seed planter.