Historical Precedents?

  • Kim Coleman


War is defined as a state of hostility, conflict, antagonism or struggle between two opposing forces for a particular end. When chemical weapons are added to an existing arsenal, the nature of the conflict is changed in two significant ways. First, the number of deaths and injuries are potentially increased. Secondly, if one country has chemical weapons this causes other countries to devote vast resources to develop a matching arsenal. Since the invention of these weapons, warfare and the threat of warfare has never been the same. The twentieth century saw the development of progressively more deadly chemical weapons. It saw their use, with significant effect, in a world war, in a regional conflict and the first instance of their use by terrorists.


Toxicity Arsenic Chlorine Explosive Cyanide 


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  1. 4.
    J.R. Wood, ‘Chemical Warfare — A Chemical and Toxicological Review’, American Journal of Public Health, 34 (1946), pp. 455–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    The 12th Earl of Dundonald, My Army Life, London: Arnold (1926), p. 330.Google Scholar
  3. 20.
    Alden H. Waitt, Gas Warfare. The Chemical Weapon. Its Use and Protection Against It, New York: Duell, Sloane & Pearce (1942), pp. 7–11.Google Scholar

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© Kim Coleman 2005

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  • Kim Coleman

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