(ORDO NEWS) — The history of biological weapons is older than you can imagine. But today it threatens the world more than ever.
Pathogenic organisms are capable of infecting humans effectively, and many governments still have projects to develop such weapons. However, it is older than you can imagine.
A biological weapon class refers to any micro-organism (such as bacteria, virus, or fungus) or toxin (poisonous compounds produced by micro-organisms) found in nature that can be used to kill or harm humans.
Biological weapons in antiquity
Attempts to use biological warfare agents date back to ancient times. Scythian archers contaminated their arrows by dipping them in decaying bodies or blood mixed with dung as early as 400 BC.
Persian, Greek, and Roman literature from 300 BC gives examples of dead animals being used to pollute wells and other water sources.
At the Battle of the Eurymedon in 190 BC, Hannibal won a naval victory over the Pergamon king Eumenes II by firing clay vessels full of poisonous snakes at enemy ships.
During the Battle of Tortona in the 12th century AD, Barbarossa used the bodies of dead and decaying soldiers to poison wells.
During the siege of Kaffa in the 14th century AD, attacking Tatar troops pelted the city with plague-infected corpses in an attempt to cause an epidemic among the enemy troops.
This was repeated in 1710, when the Russians, who were besieging Swedish troops in Reval in Estonia, catapulted the bodies of people who had died from the plague outside the walls of the city.
Modern biological weapons
During World War I, the German army developed anthrax, glanders, cholera and wheat leaf rust specifically for use as biological weapons.
They allegedly spread the plague in St. Petersburg, infected mules with glanders in Mesopotamia, and tried to do the same to the horses of the French cavalry.
The Geneva Protocol of 1925 was signed by 108 countries. It was the first multilateral agreement that included a ban on the use of infectious agents as weapons. Unfortunately, no verification method can confirm compliance with this agreement.
During World War II, Japanese troops operated a secret bioweapons research facility (Block 731) in Manchuria, where experiments were carried out on prisoners.
They exposed more than 3,000 victims to plague, anthrax, syphilis and other pathogens in an attempt to improve these pathogens into deadly weapons. Some of the victims were executed or died from their infections.
In 1942, the United States created the Military Research Service. Anthrax and botulinum toxin were investigated as weapons.
By June 1944, the states had stockpiled enough biological weapons to repel Nazi Germany if they used such agents.
The British also tested anthrax bombs on Grunard Island off the northwest coast of Scotland in 1942 and 1943, and then prepared and stockpiled anthrax-soaked cattle cakes.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States continued research into various types of offensive biological weapons.
Harmless organisms were released off both coasts of the United States between 1951 and 1954 to demonstrate the vulnerability of American cities to biological attack. This method was tested again in 1966 when the test substance was released on the New York subway.
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