Weapons of Mass Destruction Before Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

(Rebehn M.) Another example from the 1700's of the use of bacterial agent in war was in the conflict between Russia and Sweden in 1710. There are reports that the Russians used the bodies of plague victim to create an epidemic among the enemy. (HISTORY of BIOLOGICAL WARFARE)

There is also the infamous incident in American history of the intentional infection of the native Indians with smallpox. "An English general, Sir Jeffery Amherst, surreptitiously provided the Indians loyal to the French with blankets infected with smallpox virus. The resulting epidemic decimated the Indians." (HISTORY of BIOLOGICAL WARFARE)

2.3. The modern technological era and weapons of mass destruction.

With the advent of the modern industrial age there was a rapid development of technology. This was also to lead to the equally rapid growth in the development of even more and more destructive and indiscriminate weapons of destruction. The most well-known and widely documented is the first truly modern use of chemicals and other weapons of mass destruction in the First World War. With the development of chemical techniques and technologies the biological weapons could now be synthetically and more easily produced in large quantities, which resulted in more accessible and devastating weapons of mass destruction.

In the First World War there is for example documented proof that "...German agents inoculated horses and cattle with glanders disease in the United States before they were shipped to France." (HISTORY of BIOLOGICAL WARFARE)

However the true nature and awesome power of chemicals was seen in the use of mustard gas as a weapon by both sides in the war. " in 1915 the Germans used mustard gases at the village of Langemarck." (Rebehn M.)

Both France and Britain also used this devastating gas in the war and it is estimated that by 1918, "...one in every four artillery shells fired contained gas of one type or another." (Rebehn M.)

Furthermore, the German's used chlorine gas as well. "As a result of one chlorine gas attack, five thousand persons were killed and about ten thousand were injured. The Germans ejected chlorine from 5730 balloons containing about 168 tons of chlorine within the 5 to 8-minute duration of the attack." (Weapons of mass destruction) it should, also be noted that chemical were not the only instruments of mass destruction that this war was to initiate. It was also the first are war tot extensively use aircraft and mass bombing as a weapon of terror, as well as the firs time that tanks were used.

The Second World War was to accelerate the relationship between technology and weapons of mass destruction. There is little doubt that the popular notion and concept of weapons of mass destruction took hold of the public consciousnesses during World War Two after the use of the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945). (Weapons of mass destruction) the lethal destructive potential of the weapons of mass destruction and humanities arsenal of weapons was increased in 1949 when the a-bomb was created in the U.S.S.R. (Weapons of mass destruction)

3. Conclusion

There is an obvious and easily identifiable link between the development of human technology and the increase in weapons of mass destruction. In each age in human history maximum use has been made technology that is at the disposal of that time to create the most lethal weapons possible. While the term "weapons of mass destruction' is one which has only emerged recently in history, there has been a continuous development of these weapons since ancient times.

One of the issues and the central controversies that surround these weapons is that they target people indiscriminately and they often aim to inflict destruction on the entire population and not just on the opposing enemy's soldieries. The second characteristic that is often seen in historical accounts is the ability of these weapons to create psychological terror. As this paper has attempted to show, the earlier forms of these weapons were limited by the technologies of the time and their destructive capabilities were generally comparatively mild compared to the large and super-destructive weapons created by modern technology. However, history has also shown that technology is not always the main determinant in the amount of destructive power of these weapons. The spread of bubonic plague across Europe is one example of this fact. Another is the way that "low-tech" weapons which do not necessarily use all the high-end technologies of the time, can be horribly effective. A case in point is the use of box-cutters and hijacking aircraft in the terrorist attack on New York in 2001. In the final analysis it is not necessarily technology that makes weapons of mass destruction so dangerous but rather aims and intensions of human beings who use these weapons.


HISTORY of BIOLOGICAL WARFARE. Retrieved 17 February, 2007, at http://www.gulfwarvets.com/biowar.htm

History of Epidemics and Plagues (2001) Retrieved 17 February, 2007, at http://uhavax.hartford.edu/bugl/histepi.htm

Johnson T.J. A History of Biological Warfare from 300 B.C.E. To the Present.

Retrieved 17 February, 2007, at http://www.aarc.org/resources/biological/history.asp

Origin of the Phrase Weapons of Mass Destruction. Retrieved 17 February, 2007, at http://www.cnsnews.com/facts/2006/facts2006215.asp

Rebehn M. The Long History of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Retrieved 17 February, 2007, at http://www.opendemocracy.net/theme_9-wmd/article_964.jsp

Weapons of mass destruction. Retrieved 17 February, 2007, at http://www.answers.com/topic/weapons-of-mass-destruction

Who coined the term "weapons of mass destruction"? Retrieved 17 February, 2007, at http://ask.yahoo.com/20040106.html

WMD: They're History. Retrieved 17 February, 2007, at http://ancienthistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.msnbc.com/news/972460.asp

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