September 15, 2006 One of the most effective and cost-efficient inventions in history, the anti-personnel or land-mine came into its own in the 20th century. Though its first recorded use was by the Chinese against the invading Mongols of Ghenghis Khan eight hundred years ago, the landmine’s ability to extend and multiply the casualties of war for many subsequent decades has seen it become the most feared of all military weapons. The advent of the tank during WW1 precipitated the development of the anti-tank mine, a clumsy, cumbersome device which was easily dug up and re-deployed by opposing forces. To prevent this redeployment, the anti-personnel mine was developed and used extensively, targeting military personnel. Today, there are more than 100 million landmines buried and active. Another 100 million are stockpiled and ten million are produced annually. Landmines from WW2 still today claim large tracts of land in France and Holland, though the world-wide proliferation of land-mines and their indiscriminate use against civilian populations did not begin until the Vietnam War.
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