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Biological warfare in a historical perspective
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Virology.
2002 (English)In: Clinical Microbiology and Infection, ISSN 1198-743X, E-ISSN 1469-0691, Vol. 8, no 8, 450-454 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There are some early examples of biological warfare (BW), but in modern times it was used first for sabotage by Germany during WWI. Development of biological weapons on a military significant scale was initiated in several countries in the period between the world wars. During WWII, several countries had active programs such as the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union. It was only Japan that on a fairly large scale used BW. The US program continued until 1969, when President Nixon took a decision to end it in connection with signing the BTWC. The Soviet Union had also continued its program after the war, and this was enhanced after signing the BTWC: in the 1980s the program consisted of around fifty facilities and involved around 60,000 people. The Soviet Union produced and maintained a large stockpile of BW-agents. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and due to pressure from USA and UK, President Yeltsin issued a decree in 1992 banning continued offensive BW activity. However, there are still concerns of residual activity in Russia. Another program of concern is the Iraqi BW-program. After 10 years of UN inspections that were stopped in 1998, there are still many unanswered questions concerning the BW program. There was also a covert BW-program in South Africa that was terminated around 1993. There have also been a number of allegations of alleged use or possession. In addition, there are indications that 10-12 states are now trying to acquire BW, and this assessment is based on intelligence information, mainly from the USA. For example Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan and Libya. Another aspect is the strong driving force of technology developments to promote this type of program, opening new risks for future potential military misuse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 8, no 8, 450-454 p.
Keyword [en]
biological weapon; biological warfare; bioterrorism; Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention; anthrax
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42054DOI: 10.1046/j.1469-0691.2002.00501.xPubMedID: 12197867OAI: diva2:408457
Available from: 2011-04-05 Created: 2011-04-05 Last updated: 2011-04-05Bibliographically approved

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