Chemical and Biological Warfare: Myth and Reality

  • John Hemsley
Part of the RUSI Defence Studies book series (RUSIDS)


The current attitude of most people in the United Kingdom towards chemical and biological warfare (CBW) is both subjective and superficial. All too frequently, any discussion on the subject of CBW tends quickly to become emotionally charged; therefore the purpose of this introductory chapter is to expose the prejudices and misconceptions by examining the historical facts in order to provide an objective base from which to study the Soviet approach to offensive CBW. At the same time, it may well call into question the validity of some of the current Western social and political perceptions of this type of warfare. Nevertheless, only a rational consideration of all the issues can lead to a reasonable assessment of the problem.


Nuclear Weapon Nerve Agent Chemical Weapon Biological Warfare Warsaw Pact 
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Chapter 1 Chemical and Biological Warfare: Myth and Reality

  1. 2.
    C. Wachtel, Chemical Warfare ( Chemical Publishing Co., Inc., 1941) p. 17.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    J. Kendall, Breathe Freely: The Truth About Poison Gas (G. Bell & Sons Ltd., London, 1938) pp. 80–82.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    J. M. Spaight, Air Power and Cities (Longmans, 1930).Google Scholar
  4. See also J. B. S. Haldane, Callinicus: A Defence of Chemical Warfare ( London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Truber & Co. Ltd., 1925 ) pp. 21–22.Google Scholar
  5. 21.
    I. Brownlie, Address to London Conference on CBW, 23 February 1968. See also S. Rose (ed.), Chemical and Biological Warfare ( London: Harrap and Co. Ltd., 1968 ) pp. 149–150.Google Scholar
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    Q. V. Tucker, Appendix to The Law of War and Neutrality at Sea (US Naval War College International Law Studies, 1955) p. 612.Google Scholar
  7. 27.
    See J. F. Triska and R. M. Slusser, The Theory, Law and Policy of Soviet Treaties (Stanford University Press, Stanford Unit, Hoover Institute on War, Revolution and Peace, 1962) pp. 21 and 83.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal United Services Institute 1987

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  • John Hemsley

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