Once Europe had trembled under the tramp of French boots; twice Paris had fallen to a foe; three times France had succumbed to invasion. Before the World War II France, like Britain and Germany, led the way in nuclear science, building on the Curie family’s work. Frederic Joliot-Curie set up the first cyclotron or particle accelerator in Europe and with Lew Kowarski succeeded in creating a fission reaction in uranium early in 1939, soon after the discovery of the phenomenon.
By the end of World War II, it was becoming clear that the huge fleets of piston-engine propeller planes used in the conflict would soon be superseded by much faster jet aircraft. Nazi Germany and the United Kingdom had deployed jets in combat, and the United States and Japan were close to doing so when the war ended. Only the Soviet Union seemed to lag conspicuously behind.
While Ukraine renounced its own possession of nuclear weapons in 1994, many scientists and design bureaus in the country still have the know-how required to manufacture important components of strategic weapons.
The explosion of interest in the modern sporting rifle, as well as the natural pace of industry innovation, has driven the firearms industry to field semi-automatic rifles in an increasingly broad number of configurations. One of the latest innovations is a new generation of pistol-caliber rifles, which combines smaller pistol calibers with a rifle or carbine-length weapon.