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Weapons Even The Military Made Illegal


In war, there’s only one rule: win- well actually,
that’s not true, or at least not true anymore. In the aftermath of World War II, 196 nations
ratified in whole or with some reservations two additional treaties to the Geneva Conventions,
detailing the basic rights of wartime prisoners, establishing protections for the wounded and
sick, and protecting civilians caught in a war zone. The conventions also laid down the framework
for the international banning of certain weapons of war, which we’ll look at today, in this
episode of The Infographics Show- Top Ten Banned Weapons of War. War is dirty business, and in the aftermath
of the First World War the nations of the world moved to limit the scope of its destructive
impact. Horrified by the mass casualties inflicted
by chemical gas attacks, in 1925 at the initiative of the United States, France, and Poland,
the League of Nations drafted the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating,
Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. In essence, international law forbade the
use of chemical or biological weapons in war. Since then other weapons have been added to
that list, all with the intent purpose of limiting human suffering or damage to the
earth itself. Without further ado, here are the top ten
banned weapons of war: 10. Mustard Gas – First synthesized in 1822,
it wasn’t until 1860 that the dangerous properties of mustard gas were documented. As a chemical weapon and dubbed the King of
the Battle Gases, mustard gas is surprisingly the least lethal of all the various chemicals
that were used in World War 1, and it’s estimated that only about 1-5% of the people exposed
to it were killed. Mustard gas’ real power lay in the terror
it could sew amongst enemy troops, as well as the incapacitating effect exposure had
on unprotected soldiers. Inhaled into the lungs it could be fatal,
but while a gas mask would protect from inhalation there was nothing soldiers could do to protect
their exposed skin. The effects of exposure were not immediate,
but within hours the skin would begin to blister, specially in moist areas such as the armpits
and genitals. As the blisters popped they would often become
infected, which is where mustard gas became one of the most lethal gas weapons ever used-
infection typically kills more soldiers in war than actual combat does. Worst of all, exposure created sensitivity,
and further exposure at even lower doses would cause a reaction. 9. Chlorine Gas – Another of the gases used
extensively in World War I, it was first deployed by the Germans at Ypres on the 22nd of april,
1915. Though an 1899 treaty had forbidden the use
of gas in war, the Germans side-stepped the wording on the treaty by releasing the gas
from canisters, not projectiles as outlined in the treaty. Planning to release the gas from their own
lines, the Germans waited until the wind turned towards the French forces and then let the
heavier-than-air gas drift across no man’s land and sink into the French trenches. The attack was successful and 100 French troops
were killed. Chlorine gas irritates the eyes, nose, lungs
and throat, and in high enough concentrations can fill the lungs and kill by asphyxiation. Though seen as a horrific weapon of war, the
Germans argued that the intent was to actually shorten the length of the war and thus limit
overall suffering. 8. Phosgene Gas – Mustard gas may have been
dubbed the King of the Battle Gases, but when it comes to sheer lethality no other gas used
in World War I could top Phosgene. Colorless and smelling like moldy hay- not
an uncommon smell in the trenches of Europe- most troops did not realize they had even
been exposed to phosgene until it was too late. A slow-acting gas, victim’s lungs would fill
with fluid and after a day or two would suffocate to death. No treatment existed at the time and the best
a medic could do is make victims comfortable. Although the Germans were the first to use
phosgene, it became the weapon of choice for the Allies, and would ultimately be responsible
for 85% of the 1.2 million casualties of chemical warfare during World War I. 7. Nerve Gas – In 2017 100 people, including
children, were killed in a nerve gas attack in Syria by pro-government forces, with hundreds
left injured. An independent investigation later identified
the culprit as Sarin gas, a highly lethal nerve agent. Banned by international treaty, nerve agents
are some of the most lethal forms of chemical warfare weapons and work by disrupting the
ability for nerves in the body to transmit chemical messages between each other. Colorless, tasteless, and odorless, the first
sign of exposure is uncontrolled drooling from the mouth, followed by foaming. Nausea and stomach cramps follow, along with
uncontrollable urination and diarrhea. Eventually the victim’s lungs become paralyzed
leaving them unable to breathe. 6. Plastic landmines – landmines have been
around for centuries, albeit in very crude fashion. Some of the first ever used were by the Chinese
during the Song dynasty against an assault by the Mongols. Filling cast iron cannonball shells with gunpowder,
they had an extremely long fuse which had to be lit by hand by brave ambushers just
hundreds of feet away from the enemy. Modern landmines are completely autonomous
and can vary in tripping mechanisms from pressure-sensitive triggers to tripwires. With the advent of the metal detector, land
mines were designed using plastic in order to avoid detection, however they were quickly
banned internationally due to the difficulty in locating fragments via x-ray by treating
physicians. This would cause prolonged suffering and was
ultimately seen as inhumane. 5. Biological Weapons – Though around for nearly
the entire time that man was waged war against himself, biological weapons were only recently
banned under international law. Most biological weapons take the form of weaponized
disease agents such as bacteria and viruses, but they can also include fungi, toxins and
rickettsiae- parasites that normally affect arthropods but can be deadly in humans. Modern conventions don’t just protect people
from biological weapons, but actually prohibit their use against plants and animals as well,
preventing nations from engineering plagues that can wipe out a nation’s livestock or
crops and thus creating famine, which is seen as unnecessary human suffering. 4. Flamethrowers – Made famous for their use
in World War II and Vietnam, flamethrowers were the answer to combating enemies entrenched
inside fortified bunkers or underground tunnels. In these confined spaces flamethrowers can
actually be more lethal by sucking the oxygen out of the atmosphere than from their actual
flames. While technically not illegal, their use around
civilian areas has been banned due to the incredible damage they can inflict on infrastructure
and their inability to be properly ‘aimed’. 3. Napalm – Another weapon made famous by the
Vietnam War, napalm was actually developed in 1942 at Harvard University. As a mixture of a gelling agent and some kind
of fuel such as gasoline, napalm was originally designed to be used as an incendiary device
against buildings, but was later primarily used an an anti-personnel weapon. As the sticky substance sticks to the skin
it produces severe burns, and sharing in many of the same characteristics as a flame thrower
it can also make it impossible for individuals to breathe. Though not outlawed from military use, its
use in civilian population centers is illegal, once again due to the propensity for incredible
property damage and inability to fully control its effects. 2. Poisoned Bullets – Early bullets weren’t
very accurate or powerful, so militaries around the world would spike them with small amounts
of poison or fecal matter. While not adding any immediate lethality,
a poisoned bullet could deliver toxic compounds deep into the body and result in serious infection
that would set in long after a battle took place. In modern projectiles the addition of poison
would be largely pointless as well, as modern bullets are already devastatingly powerful. Because of the lack of immediate lethality
and suffering caused long after a conflict is over, poison bullets have long been banned
by international law. 1. Dirty Bombs – Nuclear weapons are bad enough,
and the international community has been unsuccessfully trying to ban them since their inception. Nuclear weapons are primarily designed to
destroy military or civilian targets, yet to achieve maximum explosive impact they are
detonated high above their target where the pressure wave can spread. This has the side effect of causing most of
the radiation released to be harmlessly blasted up into space, or dispersed over a very wide
area limiting its effect. A dirty bomb however is a device that is designed
primarily to create radiological fallout rather than kill outright, with the goal of poisoning
land, sea, and air for a very long time. A regular nuclear weapon can be ‘converted’
into a dirty bomb by simply programming it to detonate at ground level, thus creating
massive plumes of radioactive debris and irradiating dozens of square kilometers. However, other devices such as a cobalt bomb
can be detonated high up in the air and produce tremendous amounts of radioactive fallout. These dirty, or ‘salted’ bombs, have long
been banned due to the long-lasting and catastrophic damage they do to large swathes of the environment. Man has waged war since his inception, but
it’s only in the last few centuries that we’ve began to try and limit the scope of the destruction
that we inflict on each other. As technology progresses and makes more apocalyptic
and destructive weapons available, perhaps it’s a sign of hope that even the most embittered
enemies such as the Soviet Union and the USA have abided by these international laws. Maybe one day we can even move to outlaw
war altogether. So, what’s the
most horrific weapon of war you’ve ever heard of? Can we ever truly put our warmongering ways
behind us? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
called MOAB – the mother of all bombs! Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time!

100 thoughts on “Weapons Even The Military Made Illegal

  1. At around 2:20, you said that mustard gas killed more soldiers than actual combat did. This isn’t true. It sure helped with it, but you have no idea. In fact, when WWI ended, there were more people who came home and killed themselves than those who died in combat, because they couldn’t handle what they had to go through for 4 years straight. Gas attacks were a huge part in either killing people off on the battlefield or traumatizing homecoming soldiers.

  2. as long as people can think and have opposing ideas. there will always be conflict. to think so otherwise is naive

  3. Too bad that in war and in love are no rules, yeah, whatever, if USA or Russia had the best "thing" to win a global war they will NoT uSe iT BecAuSe iTs bANned. Uhum Sure

  4. 'modern rounds are more damaging'
    looks at the 5.56 NATO rifles of the 20th and 21st century
    looks back at the .45-70 and 7.62×54 rifles of the early 1900s and 1800s
    yeah…

  5. i always hate watching anything this channel does about anything military. Its painfully obvious no one involved ever served or even held a rifle

  6. banned as long as the win doesnt depend on it 😀 "hey we gon die if we dont use that" "yea but its banned so lets die" 😀

  7. K my dad is illegal his belt or his farts tell me why not it must be on the last because it da best lol

  8. If they are banned why nations still making them and also keeping them? In real war every banned weapon is unbanned because you can win by using those or face elimination or extermination

  9. I appriciate you guys doing your paid advertising at the end of the videos rather than at the beginning or middle like everyone else does

  10. WRONG. Assad´s troops did not use the gas. It was the opposition rebels. UN has already confirmed this. Get your facts straight please!

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