Accession Number:



Devastating Weapons Effects and Societal Broadcast of Approval

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,01 Jul 2015,10 May 2016

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Society broadcasts recognizable signals expressing their collective toleration of weapons effects. The limit, or bracket, on these effects may shift as wars prolong and society begins to make judgments on operational employment of specific weapons, and their effects, used to prosecute the war. Society engages in a discourse with the government through the media, acting as a moderator, which provides the most attention to the stronger argument. Astute planners will be able to recognize the publics signals within this debate and identify if strategic leaders should adjust how they legitimize operational actions to the public or if new means are required to achieve operational ends. Through two case studies focusing on the firebombing of WWII and the use of napalm and Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, this monograph identifies how society broadcasts a shift in its tolerance of weapon effects. An in-depth review of newspaper articles during the wars identified five ways these shifts are signaled stagnate government priming, coverage juxtaposition or media elite cueing, broad demographic unification, a weapon becoming synonymous with the war itself, and scientific or academic evidenced based movements.

Subject Categories:

  • Weapons Effects (Biological)

Distribution Statement: