Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons are living organisms or replicating entities (viruses) that reproduce or replicate within their host victims.
biological weapon, also called germ weapon, any of a number of disease-producing agents—such as bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, fungi, toxins, or other biological agents—that may be utilized as weapons against humans, animals, or plants.
The U.S. Navy sprayed a cloud of bacteria over San Francisco. The Navy claimed that the bacteria was harmless, and used only to track a simulated attack, but many San Francisco residents became ill with pneumonia-like symptoms, and one is known to have died.
Under pressure from Congress and the public, after a 60 Minutes segment, the U.S. Department of Defense finally admits that at least 20,000 U.S. servicemen "may" have been exposed to chemical weapons during operation 'Desert Storm'.
The Japanese invasion of China featured both chemical and biological attacks. The Japanese reportedly attacked Chinese troops with mustard gas and another blistering agent called Lewisite (named for its U.S. inventor, Captain W. Lee Lewis, who called it "the stuff beside which mustard gas becomes a sissy's scent"). In attacking the Chinese, Japan also spread cholera, dysentery, typhoid, plague, and anthrax.
October 1914: German artillery fire 3,000 shells filled with dianisidine chlorosulfate, a lung irritant, at British troops. The shells contained too much TNT and apparently destroyed the chemical.
Unrestricted use of chemical agents caused 1 million of the 26 million casualties suffered by all sides in WWI. It started with the French and British use of tear gas, but soon escalated to more toxic poisons.
Another advantage to biological and chemical warfare is the fact that certain weapons can be engineered to target certain people with a certain gene or characteristic (green eyes, dark skin, blonde hair, etc) (Shwartz, 2001 ). This concept of targeting only a certain people group has been nickname “The Ethnic Bomb”.
The advantages of biological warfare are numerous, the most prominent being the fact that it’s probably the most efficient method of defeating an enemy. Some biological weapons, like Botox, are so powerful that an amount of it the size of the dot on the end of this sentence could kill ten people if used correctly
Biological weapons, like chemical weapons, radiological weapons, and nuclear weapons, are commonly referred to as weapons of mass destruction, although the term is not truly appropriate in the case of biological armaments. Lethal biological weapons may be capable of causing mass deaths, but they are incapable of mass destruction of infrastructure, buildings, or equipment.
The direct use of infectious agents and poisons against enemy personnel is an ancient practice in warfare. Indeed, in many conflicts diseases have been responsible for more deaths than all the employed combat arms combined, even when they have not consciously been used as weapons.