Weapons of Mass Destruction

The term weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) has multiple definitions, but generally, it refers to weapons that can cause mass property or human casualties. In the name of national security, some countries are expanding their WMDs capability, whereas other nations are devising strategies to counter WMDs. This entry reviews the various definitions of WMDs and discusses the security threat posed by WMDs as well as strategies for combating the threat.


The term weapons of mass destruction is closely associated with the U.S. presidential administration of George W. Bush (2001–2009), but its genesis can be traced back to the 1930s. The term was reportedly first used by the Archbishop of Canterbury William Cosmo Gordon Lang during his Christmas address on “Christian Responsibility” in December 1937. Although the ...

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