Considering the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Super Soldiers

Research Paper Title

Super Soldiers: The Ethical, Legal and Social Implications.


The Spartan city-state produced what has been perhaps one of the most ruthless military forces in recorded history, second only to Hitler’s Schutzstaffel.

Crucial to Sparta’s supremacy was the belief that military training and education began at birth. Those judged by state officials to have failed the first round of selection for military service, which began at an inspection in the first few days of life, were left outside the city walls to die of starvation (lendon 2006, p. 112). in many ways, those who perished were the fortunate ones.

To ‘harden’ the survivors and prepare them for battle, potential Spartan warriors were subjected to extreme temperatures, beatings, sleep deprivation and regular sexual abuse. As with the British, who later did much the same in their military academies to produce the soldiers that would eventually carve out the British empire, the Spartan regime is renowned for its effectiveness on the battlefield.

Those children who completed their military training went on to become some of the most feared warfighters in the entire ancient realm and for much of the time since, politicians and military chiefs longed for technologies that would enable them to avoid the cruelty for which the Spartan regime is now remembered, while still producing effective soldiers who will kill on command, fight without showing signs of fear or fatigue and generally behave more like machine than human beings.


Galliott, J. & Lotz, M. (Eds) (2015) Super Soldiers: The Ethical, Legal and Social Implications. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited.


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