QUESTION: Marty, do you think nuclear weapons will be used this time?
ANSWER: History is a road map to the future because human nature remains the same. People are far too often foolish. They attribute guns as the cause of violence as if humankind was peaceful before the invention of the gun. At an ancient battlefield site in Scotland, archaeologists unearthed the largest cache of Roman lead sling bullets ever discovered. You see, the Romans also had bullets. They used powerful slingshots to propel them instead of gunpowder. So, even the idea of shooting someone with a lead bullet is nothing new.
It is true that technology advancements have aided conquests. The Turks took Constantinople, which had been impregnable, because of the invention of the cannon, which depicted in the painting of the fall of Constantinople. The cannon was invented in China where they discovered gunpowder. This replaced ancient siege engines and battering rams. Today we have nuclear weapons. The weapons themselves are not evil, only the people who push the buttons to launch the weapons are evil.
A weapon by itself does not kill. Even biological weapons must be deployed, which is by no means a modern unique development. Lord Jeffrey Amherst, for whom Amherst Massachusetts was named, was indeed the commanding general of British forces in North America during the final battles of the French & Indian war (1754-1763). He won the wars, but his reputation was a bit tarnished in the end. Amherst’s name became associated with germ warfare. He approved giving smallpox-infected blankets to the American Indians. This was reported in Carl Waldman’s “Atlas of the North American Indian” (1985). There are surviving letters, such as that from Colonel Henry Bouquet to General Amherst, dated July 13, 1763, concerning the distribution of blankets to “inoculate the Indians.”
History repeats ONLY because people repeat the same patterns with whatever technology they have available at that moment in time. World War I was notorious for the use of chemical weapons, which infected about 1.2 million people and killed about 90,000. The chemical weapons used produced very slow-moving or static gas clouds over the battlefields. Additional chemical weapons included disabling chemicals, such as tear gas, but also included lethal chemicals like phosgene, chlorine, and mustard gas.
If we indeed see World War III, this time all bets will be off. I would expect the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield. Hopefully we are not looking at intercontinental nukes.