The World: The New Zaharoffs

"We still deal in original sin," says a European arms trader. That somewhat mystical remark typifies the reputation of the arms trade, both within and without its own ranks. Arms salesmen apparently can never quite get over the fact that they are the heirs of Sir Basil Zaharoff, the archetypal death merchant who gave the trade its bad name. Bribing, cheating, lying fluently in eight languages and playing upon nations' fears of their neighbors, Zaharoff—as chief salesman for Britain's Vickers company—amassed a huge fortune by selling weapons to both sides in the Boer...

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