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Gas and Third World Conflicts

  • Edward M. Spiers

Abstract

The battlefield utility of poison gas was not seriously undermined by the mutual restraint displayed by the Allies and Axis powers during the Second World War. From the inter-war period there had been reports, which varied considerably in their degrees of accuracy, about the employment of gas in small colonial conflicts.1 Gas was used in Abyssinia and China and would be used again in post-war encounters, notably in Vietnam and allegedly in the Yemen, South-East Asia and Afghanistan and most recently in the Gulf War. All these incidents occurred in Third World conflicts, where the belligerents neither encountered any credible deterrent nor felt constrained by the Geneva Protocol. In these circumstances gas seemed a useful weapon, and more light may be shed on this utility by the study of three examples: the Italo-Abyssinian War, the Sino-Japanese War and the recent allegations of chemical warfare in Laos, Kampuchea and Afghanistan.

Keywords

Nerve Agent Chemical Weapon Khmer Rouge Trichothecene Mycotoxin World Conflict 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

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© Edward M. Spiers 1986

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