Officially known as The Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria. Realizing that they would be behind the west in technology for weapons, particularly in the nuclear field, the Japanese turned to experimenting on humans to discover biological and chemical weapons to tip the balance of the war in their favor. Unit 731 of the Imperial Japanese Army.
It was located in Harbin, in Manchuria. This was outside of mainland China and where a steady supply of Chinese prisoners could be experimented on.
It is estimated that 250,000 people (men, women and children) perished in Unit 731’s experiments. Most were Chinese, Korean and Mongolians. There were also a handful of Allied (Australian, British and American) POWs sent there, in order to make sure various diseases worked the same on Caucasians.
Biological warfare is the use of infectious agents or toxins to incapacitate or kill humans, plants or animals. As long as there has been warfare, humans have used biological warfare in various forms.
The problem with biological weapons has always been that they are indiscriminate. They kill the side employing them as much as the side they are used against. The Japanese were working on ways to target certain ethnic groups.
While the primary purpose mission of Unit 731 was to develop biological weapons, the Unit also conducted other experiments such as:
Vivisection without anesthesia
Effects of shrapnel on exposed victims tied to stakes in a field Testing
Conducted Brain surgery to see which parts of the brain controlled various motor functions
Effect of syphilis (looking for treatment for soldiers)
Amputation to study blood loss rates
Female prisoners were raped in order to impregnate them in order to study the transmission of various diseases to the fetus. Testing Conducted
If a sick medical mind could think of it; it was tested at Unit 731.
Victims were referred to as Meruta. (Logs)
The unit was under the command of General Shiro Ishii He was never prosecuted.
In fact, at the end of the war, the United States did not prosecute a single member of Unit 731. Instead, we took the records of the experiments. Much as we took the Nazi scientists in Operation Paperclip. As recently as 2003, the Japanese government still refuses to acknowledge what really went on in Unit 731.
What is on the horizon, and probably already being developed in secret, are genetic weapons, which are targeted toward specific ethnicities and/or genotypes. The implications of such weapons are staggering. Genetic Weapons
I have written about Unit 731 in several books, partly in an attempt to publicize this blight in history. I also cover how to prepare for and what to in case of biological warfare. It is features in the Area 51 series and in my thriller that mixes history with present terrorism The Gate.
A free slideshow on this topic and many others about interesting history, survival, writing and other topics is on my web site at www.bobmayer.com/workshops