The use of weapons of mass destruction dates back to the fourteenth century in Europe. Invented and used by the Tartars, the biological weapons killed one third of the entire European population. Later in the nineteenth century, the Germans used biological weapons such as anthrax and cholera bacilli in Mesopotamia, Romania and the United States. Similarly, the United States and Great Britain used microbe infections in the second armed conflict of the world. Japan used biological weapons in its war with china in the year 1937 (Sastri, 2004). Talking of chemical weapons, 25 poisonous gases were employed in the 1914-1918 World War. The most prominent example is the use of chlorine by Germany in Ypres, in 1915. Nuclear weapons were used for the first and only known time in history in 1945 by the U.S over Japan in the infamous Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
Essentially, there are three types of weapons of mass destruction, namely: biological, nuclear and chemical weapons. Biological weapons are agents of combat that contain microorganisms, and toxins from such organisms. In most cases, biological weapons are in the form of deadly viruses. Chemical weapons, on the other hand, are substances that are chemically combined to form dangerous compounds (Brezina, 2005). In most cases, the elements used to create the compounds are nontoxic when handled separately. Nuclear weapons are those that become effective upon the splitting of the nucleus releasing an unusually strong force and hazardous radiations.
The primary reason why weapons of mass destruction continue to be considered future threats to mankind is because they are a result of the ever advancing technology. The manufacture of explosives and dangerous viruses is becoming easier with the advancing technology and laboratory know-how (Croddy, 2005). The weapons readily available to terrorists currently are high intensity bombs and explosives that cause significant destruction. Terrorists can, as well, access chemical weapons. The chemical weapons may contain blood agents that impact negatively on the biological makeup as well as the genetic composition. They may as well contain blistering agents that affect the skin of a human being causing death or severe distress.
Sastri, M. N. (2004). Weapons of mass destruction. New Delhi: A.P.H. Pub. Corp
Croddy, E., Wirtz, J. J., & Larsen, J. A. (2005). Weapons of mass destruction: An encyclopedia of worldwide policy, technology, and history. Santa Barbara (Calif.: ABC-Clio
Brezina, C. (2005). Weapons of mass destruction: Proliferation and control. New York: Rosen Pub. Group