Another similar example is the use of chlorine gas as a weapon in the World War I. Fritz Haber, the German chemist who pioneered the use of this weapon, believed that it would prove to be so effective that its users would win the war and it would quickly come to an end. He too was thinking on the same lines as President Truman – the swift and terrible death of many soldiers in order to bring about the end of the war and so save many more lives was permissible since it was done in the name of the greater good. Needless to say, the painful and horrific deaths suffered by the soldiers due to the use of this weapon, coupled with the fact that it did not bring about the end of the war greatly tormented Haber and also put a great strain on his wife, who later committed suicide.
The phrase, as we can see, has evolved from a simple method of persuasion to a complex and powerful propaganda tool. The double-edged nature of this phrase as well as the derisive treatment it often receives from the masses is not very difficult to surmise. In the olden days, the phrase was used by religious leaders to assert their authority over their people. Sacrifices of livestock and harvests were made in many civilizations so that the people would be blessed by their gods. In those times religion held much authority over the common man and so the people would unquestionably bow to its demands in the name of the greater good.
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