Weapons of Mass Destruction: the Past, Present, and Future

Topics: Nuclear weapon, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, World War II Pages: 6 (2115 words) Published: January 1, 2013
Weapons of Mass Destruction:
The Past, Present, and Future


I.Intro-Weapons of mass destruction have been a forceful weapon for any country to have and a danger for all on earth. II.Background Information
a.Development of WMD
b.Uses During WWII And Effects
c.Development From WWII-Present
III.Modern/Future Weapons
a.What We Have Today
b.What We Are Developing

Throughout thousands of years mankind has developed and used different weapons to take out their enemies. Not until the last 100 years though, have these weapons been threats that can kill millions of people in seconds and decimate entire cities. With the development of weapons such as the atomic and hydrogen bombs and chemical and biological warfare, modern warfare has become a destructive force effecting not just one city but whole countries and hundreds of millions of people. With such terrible and destructive power is it possible that in the future weapons many times more dangerous will arise? And the bigger question, who will be in control of such great power and how can we prevent this technology from getting into the hands of others such as terrorist groups? The past has shown what man can do to one another, and the deadly aftermath of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) such as nuclear bombs can pollute an area with radioactive wastes that can last for centuries, such as the bombings of Japan during World War I. All in all weapons of mass destruction have been forceful weapons for those that possess them and a danger for everyone on earth.

What are weapons that fall under the category of WMD? Nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons are known as weapons of mass destruction today. Who said WMD only exist today? Wouldn’t it be true to say that ancient civilizations thousands of years ago used weapons of mass destruction? For example the Greek Spartans catapulted disease ridden bodies and feces over the walls of the barricaded city of Athens. They held a siege on the city for months and near the end of the siege most of the population had died of disease, starvation, and lack of sanitation. Couldn’t this be classified as a biological weapon of mass destruction? None the less WMD today are far more advanced and cause a lot more damage than the weapons of the past. The development of one of these WMD, the nuclear bomb, all started in 1942 by the US government and scientists such as Albert Einstein and Vannevar Bush under the Manhattan project. Their goal was to create a weapon of extreme destruction before the Nazi scientists developed one. The first step in creating the atom bomb was to isolate and purify uranium-235, the scientists perfected their uranium ore in Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They successfully purified the uranium to a grade of 90% compared to the 70% found naturally. They then proposed that if two pieces of uranium-235, which is too small to produce a chain reaction, would collide at a high speed it would release a high energy blast. The scientists were so confident in the success of the weapon that no testing was conducted. Although this weapon worked great, scientist also began studying and developing an easier solution in making the atom bomb at the same time as the bomb using uranium-235. This nuclear bomb would use the fissionable radioisotope, Plutonium-239. The “Plutonium Bomb” wouldn’t need two pieces of an element to collide it could decay and start a chain reaction just by being hit by one neutron. In 1942 the first successful nuclear reactor, using the fissionable plutonium, was made in the University of Chicago. Other reactors were built in Hanford, Washington and the fissionable plutonium created in these reactors from radioactive decay of uranium-239 was shipped to Los Almos, New Mexico to be created into a weapon. After the weapon was successfully produced it was then tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It was successful and...
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