Weapon of mass destruction (WMD) means a category of certain weapons that are considered to be particularly destructive and have a serious impact on life, objects, and environment. Today, there exist chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons the use which is defended in the militarily conflicts all over the Globe.
The formerly formulation NBC weapons (ABC stands for Atomic, Biological, and Chemical) exclusively used has been replaced by the term CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear). This corresponds to a subdivision of the “A” radiological (R) hazards and nuclear (N) threats. “Nuclear” denotes nuclear explosions and their consequences as well as radioactive substances of the nuclear cycle; “radiological” means other types of radioactive contamination, primarily in the form of a radioactive dispersion device (e.g., “dirty bomb”).
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In broader sense, the concept of mass destruction will be more fully used, not only for military ordnance, but also for firearms and small arms or even for pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed for pest control or warfare. Kofi Annan, former General Secretary of the United Nations, noted in October 2000 on the occasion of his Millennium Speech to the Peoples said that uncontrolled proliferation of small arms: “In terms of the carnage they cause, small arms can very well be described as weapons of mass destruction.”
For the first time the term weapon of mass destruction was used in 1937 by the Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Gordon Lang. He wrote an article in the Times about the air attack on Guernica.
The UN resolution creating an atomic energy commission (a precursor of the IAEA Commission) in 1946 used the phrase: “… atomic weapons and of all other weapons adaptable to mass destruction”.
In 1948, the United Nations Commission for Conventional Armaments used the term to distinguish it from conventional weapons.
Usually involved in their utilization – not planned but taken into account by the user – collateral damage. However, the limitation of the term weapon of mass destruction on NBC weapons is controversial, since the destruction certainly can exceed the effects of NBC weapons by conventional weapons, for example, in World War II. However, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is regarded as an unavoidable danger to world security.
In criminal law, the U.S., the term weapon of mass destruction in the context of terrorist attacks will be extended to all kinds of weapons in the United States Code can be defined as a destructive device (such as: destructive explosive device ). This includes conventional bombs, rockets, grenades, and mines.
During the Second World War, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan used biological and chemical weapons during the war in China. Thus, the Second World War is the only armed conflict in which the warring parties inserting all available weapons of mass destruction types. While the U.S. use of nuclear weapons has so far remained single, biological and chemical weapons was repeatedly used in the First World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the first Gulf War for use.
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