Weapons of mass destruction or WMD's are the single largest threat to humanity. They vary in type such as nuclear, chemical, biological, radiological, and explosive. WMD's can also be contagious. The effects of WMD's are catastrophic, lasting for a lifetime and longer. The world could not withstand a large scale nuclear war. Weapons of mass destruction need to be banned and eliminated entirely.
To start off, contagious weapons are possibly the most devastating. Having a pathogen spread would easily wipe out a civilization in a matter of hours. The initial release would infect the immediate region, but those who carry it can spread it further and further into the country. Take for instance, smallpox, a relatively extinct disease in our era. Not many people are vaccinated for protection nor are many countries prepared to stop the massive amount of death it would cause in a few short days due to how quickly it spreads from person to person. Plus, considering our global travel patterns, the outbreak could spread around the world within days and weeks (Slocombe & Gerstein).
There is no existing proof that WMD's have ever been a turning factor in major conflicts. Nuclear powers have lost many wars regardless of their weaponry. An example is the United States losing the Vietnam conflict even with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. This concept that these weapons changed wars started after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One study in a 2007 article from The Journal of International Security showed that during World War II, the Japanese Supreme Council only gathered to discuss surrender after the Soviets declared war on Japan by invading Manchuria, three full days after the bombings (Blechman & Bollfrass). Typically, the American belief is that the nuclear explosions were the turning point in the war. Once again, WMD's have not won any wars.