Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

A History of Japanese Biological Warfare

The Việt Minh pamphlet partially presented in the gallery above begins by recounting the Chinese and North Korean accusations of US germ warfare. It next presents the well-document biological weapons program developed by the Japanese military, including Units 731 and 1000. This history is one key to the charges of US germ warfare as it connects a proven case of germ warfare with an unproven instance of germ warfare. As the next set of images shows, the US military let those responsible for the Japanese biological warfare program go in exchange for the information that they had gathered from their experiments, including on Chinese and Soviet soldiers. This gathering of information, in combination with the United States' own research in biological weapons before and during World War II, provided two circumstantial pieces of evidence for the US use of these weapons in the Korean war. Finally, imperialism served as an overarching logic linking Japan and the US. From the perspective of many in Vietnam, including the leaders of the Việt Minh, it seemed inevitable that imperialist nations would use biological weapons.

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