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January 24, 1959


Author Affiliations

Battle Creek, Mich

Acting Deputy Director, Health Services, Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization.

JAMA. 1959;169(4):356-358. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.73000210014010d

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I would like to start with two definitions defining chemical warfare and biological warfare from a civil defense point of view. Chemical warfare is the intentional use of toxic chemicals to kill or confuse man. Biological warfare is the intentional use of living organisms or their toxic products to produce death, disability, or damage to man, animals, or crops. Note that both chemical and biological warfare are concerned only with living things. These two types of warfare have frequently been called unconventional warfare. They have nothing whatsoever to do with conventional weapons which cause physical destruction not only of humans but of equipment and facilities.

Nuclear and thermonuclear bombs are conventional weapons if we consider the blast and heat effects. Fall-out, however, is in a sense an unconventional weapon since it adversely affects only living things. Chemical and biological weapons or agents are far more flexible than fall-out and offer

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