Thursday, October 14, 2010

Napalm by Hanna Valdovinos

I. Introduction

Napalm, one of the most effective inventions ever made. Or just the most destructive and dangerous weapon ever made, a weapon that leaves nothing but death and pain for generations. Such an invention was made by the U.S during World War II by Louis Fieser and his team of chemists. Made to protect the country, but at the cost of other country’s innocent lives. But as the Dr. Louis Fieser says “I have no right to judge the mortality of napalm just because I invented it.”

II. Discovery

Napalm is seen in many different forms throughout history. Napalm is a powder that when mixed with gasoline is used to remove vegetation, and cause fear along the way. Another weapon is a mixture of fuel and gelling solution that when combined produce a thickened mixture, the Fire bomb fuel gel mixture. When a napalm bomb is set off, it produces great amounts of CO, carbon monoxide. This causes difficulties breathing, making the victims pass out and burn. Napalm goes through the process of incomplete combustion when ignited, which means it rapidly deoxygenates the air and replaces the oxygen with CO. 0.4% CO is fatal in one hour because of the high similarity between the carbon monoxide and hemoglobin. Napalm causes the localized atmosphere to turn to at least 20% CO. Inflammable napalm weapons can kill or gravely wound by immolation or asphyxia. Usually the third degree burns don’t hurt so much because the skin nerves have been killed by the heat. But second degree burns on the other hand are gravely painful because the skin is burned but the nerves still work so the victim can feel the burning of their skin.

III. Biography of Investigator

Dr. Louis F. Fieser was born in Columbus, Ohio on April 7th, 1899. He went to high school in Columbus and graduated from Williams College with a chemistry degree in 1920. He was an organic chemist and then went to being professor at Harvard University by 1968. He was renowned as an inventor, in 1943, for a military effective form of napalm. Throughout his years he also had other award-winning research. Like for example the first synthesis of vitamin K, or the synthesis and screening of quinines as antimalarial drugs. Then he died around July 25th, 1977.

Louis F. Fieser (1899-1977)

IV. Impact on the World/Humanity

Napalm has had a great impact on the world. Not a good effect in my opinion. The countries that were affected, like Japan, were severely so damaged that they are just now recovering. Napalm was not only a powerful weapon, but a wide spread weapon too. It affected the innocent people who were so unlucky to be there. It had no consideration towards children or the elderly. Some may argue that the sacrifices had to be made to keep the county safe, but now all there is is fighting and weapons pointed at each other waiting for the other to make the first move.

V. Journal Article Review

This journal article talks about how the napalm weapons have killed other country’s’ people. Innocent people, people who did not deserve to die that way. It also talks about how the new war technology is so great, that they are easily used in an inhumanly and massively destructive manner. And lastly the article talks about the outcome of all the destruction, the devastation, and the losses. So all in all, the new war technology, Napalm weapons, may be powerful. But they are corruptive and inhumane. They are not toys to be taken lightly.


1. Gates, M. (1994). Biographical memoir for Louis Frederick Fieser. Biogr. Mem. Natl. Acad Sci. 65, 161-175. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from
2. Military. (2005). Napalm. Napalm Composition, Napalm in War. Retrieved October 11, 2010, from
3. Protesting Napalm. (1968). The Man Who Invented Napalm. Retrieved October 11, 2010, from
4. Selden, M. (1991). The United States, Japan and the Atomic Bomb. Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 23(1), 3-12. Retrieved October 7, 2010, from Questia database:

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