Weapons of mass destruction





Title:Weapons
Description: weapons of mass destructi
Body:
War has been a driving factor in human existence since the dawn of time, it has always been with us. War has influenced science as well, it has forced the development of weapons, from the first bone clubs which let man rise to the top of the food chain, to the complex and highly destructive weapons of today. This century has seen the most development in the technology of warfare since the combination of sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter resulted in gunpowder. For the first time in history weapons of mass destruction have been developed and used in a limited fashion. Limited only due to the initial crudeness of the weapon and lack of effective delivery systems. This is now changing, as more and more nations develop them, it is now only a matter of time before they are used in a total warfare situation. Weapons of mass destruction have three categories; the oldest being biological weapons; followed by chemical weapons, which were first used in the beginning of the century; and the newest being nuclear weapons. More and more of the worlds nations have either already developed or are capable of developing weapons of mass destruction, and with the fall of the Soviet Union the threat of theft of these weapons has increased exponentially. One factor that has always hampered the use of weapons of mass destruction is the lack of availability of effective delivery systems for them, in recent years such systems have dramatically improved in range, accuracy, and efficiency. The future will not be limited to the current weapons of mass destruction, as more are added the threat of their widespread use increases as well.
Weapons of mass destruction are generally known to be any weapon who\'s destructive capabilities are far greater than conventional explosives or firearms. Since their power is vastly superior than conventional weapons, and their method of achieving their power often different than conventional weapons, the manner in which they are delivered to the target area must also be different than conventional weapons. The first recorded use a chemical weapon in a war was in 600 BC. When Solon, the legislator of the Athenians, contaminated the River Pleisthenes with hellebores (skunk cabbage) to give the defenders of Kirrha violent diarrhea leading to their defeat (Nicholas). Chemical weapon use peaked during the first World War, when mustard gas was a devastatingly effective battlefield weapon being thrown into a targeted area with artillery shells and grenades. This method of delivery however is quite problematic, for it to work, the offensive force must be in relatively close quarters to the enemy. This can lead to a counterattack or preemptive strike, and then factors such as the weather must be taken into consideration when using many chemical weapons, if it is a rainy or foggy day, the chemical agent will not spread effectively, and if the winds change, its possible that the attack could backfire on the assaulting force. The first recorded uses of biological weapons were during the medieval times, when cadavers were catapulted over castle and fortress walls, or placed in streams that supplied the victims population. Disease would soon spread unchecked amongst the targeted population (Nicholas). Again, the method of delivery was inefficient, because of problems such as; the assaulting force infecting itself with disease, and again the proximity to the enemy. Today, biological weapons are transported in canisters that hold the virii and germs, rather than in corpses, and the capabilities of current biological weapons are incredible, from the amount of time it takes to spread, to the length of time it takes for the disease to run its course and complete the task it was designed to. Chemical and biological weapons have not been used in any major conflict since the first World War. One reason for this is the horrifying brutality and efficiency of such weapons, another reason, is the lack of satisfactory delivery system. This began to change during the second World War, when the German military were effectively using V1 and V2 missiles to carry conventional explosives, during World War II further steps were taken with the V3, a missile that was in the early stages of development at the end of the