From the beginning of known history, men have fought over everything. Land, food, and
resources were just a few prizes to winning. Ever since the creation of the sling, spear, and bow and
arrow, men have discovered ways to be better than their opponent. At first, these were mere tools to be
used for hunting. Then primitive humans learned to take what was another human’s. Since then, one
man has tried to be better than the rest, and they use their brains to create weapons. Fire has been
around longer than humans. Some wished to leash its power and use it against others. Through the
greatest invention came one of most terrible weapons ever created: napalm.
Throughout history, many incendiary weapons have been made such as Greek fire and the
lighting of hot oil off castle walls, but none were more notorious than Napalm B. During World War
One, the flamethrowers used only gasoline. Though it was liquid fire, the flamethrowers had a very
short range and would run off a target before burning it severely. A new formula was desired that would
stick to a target, burn longer, and have a better range. The formula invented in 1942 by Dr. Louis
Fieser, a chemistry professor at Harvard University, replaced the former gasoline (Time, 2000). The
device was named napalm because the original formula used naphthenic palmitic acid; the device was
made from a form of aluminum soap mixed with the acid (Time, 2000). The formula was said to have
been good at destroying crabgrass (Time, 2000). Napalm B revised Dr. Fieser’s formula. Napalm B’s
composition included the original napalm but also had a much higher gasoline percentage. The ...
... middle of paper ...
...ld have had a demoralizing effect. With the harnessing of fire's incredible
properties came responsibility. The Vietcong must have wondered what the next seemingly impossible
weapon would be. Only the future would tell.
Brody, J. (n.d.). Napalm. VietnamWar.net. Retrieved April 12, 2011, from http://www.vietnamwar.net/napalm
Johnson, S. (n.d.). Napalm. GlobalSecurity.org - Reliable Security Information. Retrieved April 13, 2011, from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military
Time. (n.d.). Napalm. The Virginia Center for Digital History at The University of Virginia. Retrieved April 18, 2011, from http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/PVCC
Wain, C. (n.d.). Vietnam Napalm Girl - FamousPicturesMagazine. Main Page - FamousPictures.
Retrieved April 18, 2011, from http://www.famouspictures.org/mag/index.php?
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