|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2007)|
A superweapon is defined as a powerful weapon compared to others of its time. In theory, such a weapon could turn around the outcome of a war. For example, a supergun may render enemy fortifications obsolete. However, in practice superweapons can be overwhelmed, disabled and costly to implement on a large scale. It must be noted though, a superweapon is not a weapon of mass destruction per se, as it could be argued that the two terms are not exactly the same. Most superweapons are used to influence civilian morale on both sides of a conflict and are therefore helpful as propaganda machines. For example, throughout 1943 and 1944, The German public was repeatedly assured that Wunderwaffen, or wonder weapons, would rescue an otherwise doomed war effort.
Not many superweapons have been used. Although the V-1 and V-2 rockets were common during 1944 and 1945 in Europe, the Schwerer Gustav was the only other superweapon. Nuclear weapons have only been used twice, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and nuclear artillery, bombers and submarines have never been used. Among superguns, the Paris Gun only fired on civilian targets, while Big Bertha was, though famous for shelling Paris from over 40 kilometers away, primarily responsible for smashing the Belgian forts near Liege during World War I in 1914 as part of the Schlieffen Plan.
Close attention is paid to countries who possess such weapons, as well as countries who have operated, researched, funded, or otherwise sought to gain such weaponry such as Russia or Iran. This is especially true of so-called "rogue states", as some consider possession of a superweapon by such nations to be a threat to international security.
Weapons regarded as superweapons
- Nuclear weapons
- Especially the hydrogen bomb, initially known as the "Super"
- Nuclear-capable strategic bombers
- Ballistic Missile Submarines
- Space Weapons