Biological weapons include any organism (such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi) or toxin found in nature that can be used to kill or injure a person. The history of biological weapons starts back way before many people realize. Biological weapons have quite a few advantages and disadvantages. Biological weapons have been used as agents of terror and will continue to be used as such. Biological weapons are extremely dangerous and shouldn’t be used because they have the potential to wipe out entire populations of people.
The history of biological weapons actually started out a lot earlier than a lot of people realize. The earliest known use of biological weapons was in 600 B.C. by the Assyrians. The Assyrians contaminated the water supply of their enemies by poisoning their wells with rye ergot (“Warfare Timeline”). Also in 600 BC, Solon, a master tactician, used the purgative herb hellebore (also known as skunk cabbage) to poison the water supply during his siege of Krissa (“Warfare Timeline”). Many years later, a plague broke out in the Tartar army during its siege of Kaffa in 1346 AD. Using catapults, the Tartar army hurled the corpses of the deceased soldiers over the city walls. The plague epidemic which soon followed forced the defenders to surrender. Some historians believe that the Kaffans who escaped could have started the Black Death Pandemic which spread across Europe (“Warfare Timeline”). Even well-known military leaders like Napoleon used biological weapons. In 1797 AD, Napoleon tried to infect the people of Mantua with swamp fever during his Italian campaign (“biological warfare”). During the French and Indian War in the 18th century AD, British forces under the direction of Sir Jeffrey Amherst gave blankets that had been used by smallpox victims to the Native Americans in a plan to spread the disease (“History of Biological Warfare”). A more recent example of biological weapons was in 1995. A Japanese terrorist group, called Aum...
Cited: Hurley, Jennifer A. Weapons of Mass Destruction: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven, 1999. Print.
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