Evolution of U.S. Military Combat Operations and Chemistry Warfare Defense Research Paper

Pages: 6 (1648 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Military

¶ … Evolution of Nuclear Weapons

The evolution of chemical and biological weapons

The evolution of U.S. military combat operations began sometime in the 1775 (Doughty et al.,1995). An examination of the American military combat operations can be traced from the campaigns as well as changing practices that have defined the Western warfare. It begins with the Anglo-American wars during the early 17th century through to the War for the Independence as well as the development of the professional officer corps in the 19th century. It then moved top the Civil war as well as the two World Wars of the 20th century. This period marked a great metamorphosis in regard to combat ability and military prowess as a result of the innovations in military science and technology. The evolution of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare almost moved in tandem with the evolving U.S. military combat operations.

United States' military history spans a period of more than two centuries. In the course of these years, the U.S. military evolved from a group fighting the British empire for the sake of independence and without much professional military prowess (1775 to 1783) through to the American Civil War (Took place between 1861-1865) and then to the world's current superpower of the late 20th century and the early 21st century (Chambers,1999).

In 1775, the Continental Congress duly created the Continental Army and then proceeded to name George Washington as the commander. The newly created army together with the state militia forces at that time joined forces with the French army and navy to defeat the British in the year, 1783.In 1788, the new constitution accorded the president the position of commander-in-chief with the added authority of making rules as well as deciding on the Congress levy taxes (Black,2002).

As of 2011, the U.S. military is made up of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps all under the authority and command of the U.S. Department of Defense. Also in existence is the United States Coast Guard an entity under the control of the Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S. President is the commander-in-chief of each and every branch of the armed forces. Additionally, each state has a special national grid which is commanded by the governor of the state and duly coordinated by a body called the National Guard Bureau. The U.S. President however has the authority in times of national emergency to assume control of each and every state's National Guard units (Anderson, 2000).

The evolution of nuclear weapons

The nuclear weapons age commenced on the 16th of July, 1945 when the United States exploded the very first nuclear bomb which was codenamed 'Trinity' at a place called Alamogordo in New Mexico.(Green Peace,1996). The next nation to explode a nuclear bomb was the Soiviet Union with its test being carried out on 29th of August in 1949. Then the other nations like Britain (3rd October of 1952), France (3rd December of 1960), China (16th October,1964) as well as India (18th May, 1974).

The thermonuclear age then followed which saw the U.S. explode the very first thermonuclear bomb on 1st November,1952 at Eniwetok atoll off the Pacific. The bomb was codenamed 'Mike' was about five hundred times more powerful than its predecessor, 'Trinity' and yielded close to 10.4 megatons (Green Peace,1996).

The use of nuclear power as deterrence

In the 1950s as well as the early 1960s, several trends were enacted between the United States and the U.S.S.R. In their quest of a tit-for-tat approach to discourage each other from acquiring nuclear supremacy. The result was a technological and political war dubbed the Cold War. The very first and large scale use of nuclear weapon by the United States was when they attacked the Japanese towns of Horoshima and Nagasaki in 1945 with custom-made devices that needed the skills of highly trained personal for their arming as well as deployment. The effects were to great and the public outcry was even greater. Even though President Harry. S. Truman proclaimed that the 'experiment' was a success after the bombing, the damage and death that it caused to the civilian population was too bad. What followed was the adoption of efforts of reducing the use of nuclear weapons.

In 1991, the U.S. And Russia were signatories to the very first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I). In accordance to the terms contained in the treaty, the United States and Russia were to reduce their number of strategic nuclear warheads from 13,000 (U.S.) and 11,000 (Russia) to about 8,000. The second treaty, START II was duly signed in 1993 and then became ratified in the tear 1996 by the U.S. In what the U.,S said would see it reduce its number of deployed warheads to around 3,000-4,500. START III can never be discussed until Russia has reported on and has fully ratified START II.

It is worth noting that Russia and the U.S. have between 5,000-6000 nuclear warheads/missiles that are ready for launch in less that fifteen minutes (McNamara,2004).The U.S. has therefore taken an active role in ensuring that the nations of the world follow the requirements of the global nuclear watchdogs in order to avert nuclear disaster.

The evolution of chemical and biological weapons

Spiers (2010) pointed out that chemical and biological weapons have been around for along time and as long as the concept of warfare itself. The Ancient European, Chinese and Indian history is filled with the use of poisonous insects, snakes, poison-tipped weapons as well as incendiaries. Cases of poisoned water supplies are also numerous. The very first large-scale employment of chemical weapons took place in Works War I when chlorine gas was discharged by Germans from cylinders a place called Yples in Belgium in 1915. The number of casualties was between seven thousand and fifteen thousand individuals. However, after this first attacks, the Allies came up with protective gear. Within a period of 5 months, British retaliated at the Battle of Loss in which they suffered casualties of about 2,000 to their own gas.

The failure of the gas to effectively break enemy lines at Loos as well as other battles lead the gas warfare legacy to be labeled a failure (Spiers,2010).The work of Spiers (2010) however indicates that the gas warfare legacy was mainly shaped by the postwar historian rhetoric because many people never shared their views. The gas warfare had severally casualties both on the enemy and friendly sides.

Additionally the gas had a negative effect on troop's morale as it affected them psychological;;y and physically in regard to stress. The available antigas defenses were also noted to have made the concept of gas warfare a cumbersome one that needed extensive logistical support as well as communication challenges.

In order to show the effectiveness of chemical weapons, Spiers (2010) indicated that Germany was prohibited by Allies from manufacturing as well as importing poisonous and asphyxiating gasses as a fulfillment of the Treaty of Versailles that effectively ended the war. The Geneva Protocol was also signed by 44 other nations in 1925 which prohibited the use of chemical and biological weapons.

Parts of the reasons provided by Spiers (2010) for the failure of use of chemical weapons in the world War II was that the industrial as well as the economic hardships that followed the First World War limited the chemical production capacity of nations such as Britain. As for Germany even Hitler hated chemical weapons which injured him. Even though Germany eventually tested V1 and V2 rockets fitted with chemical warheads, it never used them for fear of reprisal against its own people. Spiers (2010) pointed out that by the end of the war, the U.S. military might have manufactured the world largest cache of chemical weapons as well as the necessary airpower to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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