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Contemporary Security Studies

Contemporary Security Studies (5th edn)

Alan Collins
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date: 28 November 2023

p. 30020. Weapons of Mass Destructionlocked

p. 30020. Weapons of Mass Destructionlocked

  • James J. Wirtz


This chapter examines how weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) work and the effects they might have if used on the battlefield or against civilian targets. The threat posed by WMD proliferation to state actors is of increasing concern, and it is even more alarming if these weapons are deployed for terrorism purposes. A chemical weapons attack against a major sporting venue, for example, could kill thousands of people, while a successful anthrax attack might place hundreds of thousands at risk. The chapter considers how WMDs such as nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and biological weapons have been used in war and how they have shaped the practice of international politics.

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