Wednesday, March 3, 2010
This World War I photograph of a wounded German soldier shows the horrifying effects of the expanding bullet (the “dumdum” bullet).
The expanding bullet, designed by the British in the 19th Century, was created so as to expand on impact, deliberately producing a much larger wound than standard bullets.
The British made extensive use of the expanding bullet in The Boer Wars, but international protests—led by Germany—resulted in a ban on expanding bullets under the terms of the The Hague Convention Of 1899.
Belgium, nevertheless, used the expanding bullet against Germany in 1914, justifying its use on the grounds that Germany, the aggressor, had attacked Belgium, a neutral state.
Belgium never publicly admitted to its use of dumdum rounds in 1914.
Germany’s attempts to create an international outcry over the issue, not surprisingly, fell on deaf ears.