Silent Killers: The Stealthy Weapons of Biological Warfare


“When you hear the word ‘war,’ what comes to mind? Probably the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, right? We’ve grown from using swords to dropping devastating bombs. And while the fear of nuclear warfare still hangs heavy, did you know there are even sneakier weapons out there?

Ever heard of biological warfare? It’s like using invisible enemies — tiny microbes, viruses, and toxins — to cause chaos and, sadly, claim millions of lives.

Curious? Dive in with me:

  1. Dead animals in wells:

Back in 1155, imagine Emperor Barbarossa’s bold move — poisoning enemy water wells with human remains in Tortona, Italy. And he wasn’t alone. Romans and Persians were known to drop dead animals into wells just to spoil the water!

  1. Flinging diseased corpses:

Here’s a wild fact from 1346: Mongol forces, they say, flung plague-ridden bodies over city walls in the Black Sea port of Caffa. Guess what? This might’ve kickstarted the deadly Black Death in Europe, wiping out nearly 25 million people in just four years.

  1. Diseased horses:

Ever heard of Glanders? It’s a nasty horse disease. During World War I, it’s believed that this disease infected a ton of Russian horses. And during World War II, the Japanese used it against horses, civilians, and prisoners of war.

  1. Anthrax letters:

Anthrax, caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria, isn’t new. But in 2001, someone wickedly sent anthrax spores through the U.S. mail. The result? 22 sick people, with 5 never making it.

  1. Bug bombs (but not the type you’re thinking):

In 1940, the Japanese went a step further. They dropped bombs. But not just any bombs — these were filled with fleas carrying the bubonic plague! Even if many attempts failed, up to 400,000 might’ve met their fate due to this tactic.

Shocking, isn’t it? These stories are just the tip of the iceberg.

Luckily, the world noticed. Come 1952, the Geneva Protocol laid down some ground rules against biological warfare. And in 1972, the Biological Weapons Convention stepped it up, outright banning the creation of such deadly tools. As of March 2021, a whopping 183 countries have signed on to play it safe.

Bio-warfare: it’s as curious as it’s horrifying. And it’s crucial to stay informed


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