[FOUNTAIN]Killing machinesOne of the most effective killing devices in human history is the machine gun. The revolver magazine rifle was developed in the 19th century, and since then, it has taken more lives than any other weapon. It was used in the first and second world wars, and killed many more people than the traditional knife or arrows that were introduced near B.C. 4000. In the 1950s, the early combat planes American F-4 and the Russian MIG jet fighters became popular, making the machine gun obsolete. The military heads of the two countries were fascinated by the performance of the newly introduced missiles attached to the airplanes.
On Sept. 8, 1944, a strange object fell in the center of London. The air-raid alarm did not go off. When a huge explosion and flash of light reached the sky, 39 houses were destroyed. After some time had passed, shockwaves from a supersonic rocket split the London sky. The trajectory missile Germany shot had flown 200 kilometers and swooped on London. Hitler, who had lost air supremacy, was obsessed with secret weapons. Hitler himself had named the weapon V2, meaning Vergeltungswaffe, the weapon of revenge.
Germany’s missile development history started from the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. The vanquished nation had to reduce its army to less than 100,000 and could not possess long-range ballistic missiles that could reach more than 27 kilometers. Rockets were developed to get around this loophole. Hitler’s V2 was threat and fright itself. However, the bomb was not that powerful. Germany shot 3,172 V2s, but the number of dead was only 2,754. It is now only a matter of time before North Korea test-launches its Taepodong-2 missile. The media reports that it has finished fueling the rocket. Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, told chief executives of media companies from South Korea that one rocket costs about $200 million to $300 million. North Korea is not in a situation to launch a satellite to check the weather or to communicate.
I’m not sure whether North Korea knows about Hitler’s secret weapon, the V3. It was a long-range artillery pieceto send shells to London from the French shore. The gun barrel was 145 meters long.
Hitler never had the chance to use the V3. When the allied forces attacked using hand grenades, the machine become a chunk of metal in an instant.
Frankly, the Taepodong-2 could be just a trick card. The United States has great antimissile missiles. Large and strong weapons are not always the best. Why are North Koreans so obsessed about a missile they might even not be able to use?
by Lee Chul-ho
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.