Military Medicine and the Ethics of War: British Colonial Warfare during the Seven Years War (1756-63)

Charters, Erica
December 2010
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History;2010, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p273
Academic Journal
This article examines 18th-century European warfare, tracing the first formal codifications of conventions of war, frequently introduced by military physicians and initially regarding the treatment of the sick and wounded. It outlines to what extent these conventions were followed in practice, particularly in the challenging environment of American irregular warfare, with a focus on the most well-known incident of "biological warfare" in the period: the deliberate spread of smallpox by British officers among Amerindians in 1763. More broadly, it demonstrates that the history of military medicine provides a fruitful method with which to uncover assumptions about the ethics of war.


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