Use of Biological Weapons Through History

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Biological weapons are often called the “Poor man’s atomic bomb” (Warfare Introduction). They are called this, because they are cheap and powerful. By definition, biological weapons are “any weapon usable in biological warfare” (WordNet Search-3.1). Another definition for biological weapons is “Biological weapons include any organism or toxin found in nature that can be used to incapacitate, kill, or otherwise impede an adversary” (Dire). Smallpox, ricin and anthrax are all biological weapons. Biological weapons have been used throughout history. The earliest recording of using biological weapons dates back to 400 BC. “Scythian archers infected their arrows by dipping them in decomposing bodies or in blood mixed with manure as far back as 400 BC” (Dire). Biological weapons are the weapons of the future’ however, they have a dark past. Firstly, even through biological weapons have been used since 400 BC, in “1797 Lord Jeffrey Amherst was the first military strategist to knowingly engage in biological warfare” (Lewy), he did so by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. Smallpox is a serious, contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious disease, which has no specific treatment. There is no vaccine which will protect you from the disease, however thanks to a worldwide vaccination program, the world saw its last smallpox case in 1977 in Somalia. The United States saw its last case in 1949. Although the only remnants of the disease are in laboratory stockpiles, heightened concern that the variola virus, smallpox, will be used as an agent of bioterrorism are arising. According to the CDC variola major is the severe and most common form of smallpox, with a more extensive rash and higher fever. However, there are four typ... ... middle of paper ... .... BBC News, 17 Oct. 2001. Web. 12 Dec. 2013. Dire, Daniel. “Historical Aspects of Biological Warfare Agents.” Medscape. WebMD LLC, 23 Sep. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. “Facts About Ricin.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 9 May. 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. Lewy, Geunter. “Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide?” History News Network. Commentary. Sep. 2004. Web. 13 Dec. 2013. “Smallpox.” National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus, 5 Nov. 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. “Smallpox Disease Overview.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 6 Feb. 2007. Web. 5 Dec. 2013. “Warfare Introduction.” Projects by Students for Students. Think Quest. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. “What is Ricin?” Discovery News. Livescience, 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2013. “WordNet Search-3.1.” Word Net Web. Princeton. n.d. Web, 16 Dec. 2013.
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