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Allegations of biological warfare in the Korean War

allegations of biological warfare in the korean war timeline, allegations of biological warfare in the korean war memorial
Allegations that the United States military used biological weapons in the Korean War 1950–53 were raised by the governments of People's Republic of China, the Soviet Union and North Korea in 1952 The story was covered by the worldwide press and led to a highly publicized international investigation US Secretary of State Dean Acheson and other US and allied government officials denounced the allegations as a hoax

Contents

  • 1 Allegations
    • 11 Alleged Japanese assistance
    • 12 The Sams mission
  • 2 Counterclaims
  • 3 Disease prevention measures
  • 4 Subsequent evaluation
  • 5 See also
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 References

Allegationsedit

During 1951 the Communists made vague allegations of biological warfare, but these were not pursued12 General Matthew Ridgway, United Nations Commander in Korea, denounced the initial charges as early as May 1951 He accused the communists of spreading "deliberate lies" A few days later, Vice Admiral Charles Turner Joy repeated the denials2

On 28 January 1952, the Chinese People's Volunteer Army headquarters received a report of a smallpox outbreak southeast of Incheon From February to March 1952, more bulletins reported disease outbreaks in the area of Chorwon, Pyongyang, Kimhwa and even Manchuria3 The Chinese soon became concerned when 13 Korean and 16 Chinese soldiers contracted cholera and the plague, while another 44 recently deceased were tested positive for meningitis4 Although the Chinese and the North Koreans did not know exactly how the soldiers contracted the diseases, the suspicions soon shifted to the Americans4

On 22 February 1952, the North Korean Foreign Ministry made a formal allegation that American planes had been dropping infected insects onto North Korea This was immediately denied by the US government The accusation was supported by eye-witness accounts by the Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett and others56

In June 1952 the United States proposed to the United Nations Security Council that the Council request the International Red Cross investigate the allegations The Soviet Union vetoed the American resolution, and, along with its allies, continued to insist on the veracity of the biological warfare accusations2

In February 1953, China and North Korea produced two captured US Marine Corps pilots to support the allegations Colonel Frank H Schwable was reported to have stated that "The basic objective was at that time to get under field conditions various elements of bacteriological warfare and possibly expand field tests at a later date into an element of regular combat operations"2 Schwable disclosed in his press statement that B-29s flew biological warfare missions to Korea from airfields in American-occupied Okinawa starting in November 19517 Other captured Americans such as Colonel Walker Mahurin made similar statements2

When the International Red Cross and the World Health Organization ruled out biological warfare, the Chinese government denounced this as Western bias and arranged an investigation by the Soviet-affiliated World Peace Council8 The World Peace Council set up the International Scientific Commission for the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in China and Korea This commission included several distinguished scientists, including renowned British biochemist and sinologist Joseph Needham The commission's findings also included eyewitnesses, and testimony from doctors as well as four American Korean War prisoners who confirmed the US use of biological warfare8 Its final report, which made on 15 September 1952, was that the allegation was true, that the US was indeed experimenting with biological weapons9 The International Association of Democratic Lawyers IADL also publicized these claims in its 1952 "Report on US Crimes in Korea", along with journalist John W Powell1011

Alleged Japanese assistanceedit

The International Scientific Commission for the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in China and Korea produced a 1952 report that suggested that the US military might have been drawing on the Japanese biological weapons program experts of World War Two12 Former Unit 731 members Shirō Ishii, Masaji Kitano, and Ryoichi Naito, and biological warfare experts connected with other units, were often named in the allegations2 Former members of Unit 731 were linked, initially, by a Communist news agency, to a freighter that allegedly carried them and all equipment necessary to mount a biological warfare campaign to Korea in 19512 The commission placed credence on allegations that Ishii made two visits to South Korea in early 1952, and another one in March 19532 Chinese experts still insist today that biological warfare weapons created in an American-Japanese collaboration were used in the Korean episode2

The report cited revelations concerning Japanese biological experiments and warfare that were documented at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials conducted by the Soviet Union in December 1949 Citing the claims Ishii had visited South Korea, the report stated, "Whether occupation authorities in Japan had fostered his activities, and whether the American Far Eastern Command was engaged in making use of methods essentially Japanese, were questions which could hardly have been absent from the minds of members of the Commission"13 However, at that time, the US government described the Khabarovsk trials as "vicious and unfounded propaganda"14 It only later became apparent that the accusations made against the Japanese military were correct The US government had taken over the research at the end of the war and had then covered up the program15

The Sams missionedit

The Communists also alleged that US Brigadier General Crawford Sams had carried out a secret mission behind their lines at Wonsan in March 1951, testing biological weapons16 It was reported by the US that he had actually been investigating a reported outbreak of bubonic plague in North Korea, but determined it was hemorrhagic smallpox Sams' mission had been launched from the US navy's LCIL-1091, which had been converted to a Laboratory Ship in 195117 During her time in Korea, the ship was assigned as an Epidemiological Control Ship18 for Fleet Epidemic Disease Control Unit No 1, a part of the US effort to combat malaria in Korea19 After covert missions in North Korea, from October to September 1951, LSIL-1091 was at Koje-do testing residents and refugees for malaria20

Counterclaimsedit

The US and its allies responded by describing the allegations as a hoax21 The US government also declared IADL to be a Communist front organization since 1950, and charged Powell with sedition112223 Upon release the prisoners of war repudiated their confessions which they said had been extracted by torture24 The American authorities also have continually denied the charges of postwar Japanese-United States cooperation in biological warfare developments2

An Australian colleague, Denis Warner, went so far as to suggest that the story had been concocted by Wilfred Burchett as part of his alleged role as a KGB agent of influence Warner pointed out the similarity of the allegations to a science fiction story by Jack London, a favorite author of Burchett's25 However, the notion that Burchett originated the "hoax" has been decisively refuted by one of his most trenchant critics, Tibor Méray26

Méray worked as a correspondent for Communist Hungary during the war but fled the country after the abortive uprising of 1956 Now a staunch anti-Communist, he has confirmed that he saw clusters of flies crawling on ice27 Méray has argued the evidence was the result of an elaborate conspiracy: "Now somehow or other these flies must have been brought there the work must have been carried out by a large network covering the whole of North Korea"28

Disease prevention measuresedit

Recent research has indicated that, regardless of the accuracy of the allegations, the Chinese acted as if they were true3 After learning of the outbreaks, Mao Zedong immediately requested Soviet assistance on disease preventions, while the Chinese People's Liberation Army General Logistics Department was mobilized for anti-bacteriological warfare29 On the Korean battlefield, four anti-bacteriological warfare research centers were soon set up, while about 58 million doses of vaccine and 200,000 gas masks were delivered to the front30 Within China, 66 quarantine stations were also set up along the Chinese borders, while about 5 million Chinese in Manchuria were inoculated29 The Chinese government also initiated the "Patriotic Health and Epidemic Prevention Campaign" and directed every citizen to kill flies, mosquitoes and fleas29 These disease prevention measures soon resulted in an improvement of health for Communist soldiers on the Korean battlefield30 Tibor Méray provided eyewitness account of North Korean conducting an "unprecedented campaign of public health" during the allegation31

Subsequent evaluationedit

Subsequent historians have offered other explanations to the disease outbreaks during the spring of 1952 For example, it has been noted that spring time is usually a period of epidemics within China and North Korea,29 and years of warfare had also caused a breakdown in the Korean health care system Historians have argued that under these circumstances, diseases could easily spread throughout the entire military and civilian populations within Korea3233

Australian historian Gavan McCormack argued that the claim of US biological warfare use was "far from inherently implausible", pointing out that one of the POWs who confessed, Walker Mahurin, was in fact associated with Fort Detrick in Maryland, a biological weapons research facility34 He also pointed out that, as the deployment of nuclear and chemical weapons was considered, there is no reason to believe that ethical principles would have overruled the resort to biological warfare35 He also suggested that the outbreak in 1951 of viral haemorrhagic fever, which had previously been unknown in Korea, was linked to biological warfare36 A 1988 book on the Korean War, by Western historians Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings also suggested the claims might be true3738 In 1989 a British study of Unit 731 strongly supported the theory of United States-Japanese biological warfare culpability in Korea2 The official Chinese government stance by the mid-1990s was that biological warfare was a real threat at the time and they reacted properly in order to prevent serious epidemics from spreading throughout North Korea and China39

In 1995 and with access to newly available Chinese documents, historian Shu Guang Zhang noted that there is little, if any information that currently exists on the Chinese side which explains how the Chinese scientists came up with the conclusion of US biological warfare during the disease outbreak in the spring of 1952 Zhang further theorized that the allegation was caused by unfounded rumors and scientific investigations on the allegation was purposely ignored on the Chinese side for the sake of domestic and international propaganda39

In 1998, Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagermann claimed that the accusations were true in their book, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea40 The book received mixed reviews; out of 20 reviews cited, 2 reviews were negative, with a US military academy professor calling the book an example of "bad history"41 and with another review calling the book's lack of direct evidence "appalling",42 although neither of these two negative reviews considers either the admissions that the US deployed chemical and biological weapons by Colonel Frank H Schwable or the US chemical and biological weapons caches at locations such as Camp Detrick and elsewhere or even the extensive documented history of clandestine drug tests undertaken among the US population itself cited in sources such as biographies of Frank Olson Eighteen other reviews praised the case the authors made41 In response, Kathryn Weathersby and Milton Leitenberg of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center released a cache of Soviet and Chinese documents in 1998 showing the North Korean claim to have been an elaborate disinformation campaign43 They revealed that North Korea's health minister traveled in 1952 to the remote Manchurian city of Mukden where he procured a culture of plague bacilli which was used to infect condemned criminals as part of an elaborate disinformation scheme Tissue samples were then used to fool the international investigators The papers included telegrams and reports of meetings among Soviet and Chinese leaders, including Chairman Mao Zedong A report to Lavrenti Beria, head of Soviet intelligence, for example, stated: "False plague regions were created, burials were organized, measures were taken to receive the plague and cholera bacillus" These documents revealed that only after Stalin's death the following year did the Soviet Union halt the disinformation campaign44 Weathersby and Leitenberg consider their evidence to be conclusive — that the allegations were disinformation and no biological warfare use occurred — and their conclusions have been generally accepted454647 In 2001, KGB expert Herbert Romerstein supported Weathersby and Leitenberg's position while criticizing Endicott's research on the basis that it is purely based on accounts provided by the Chinese government48

Published in Japan in 2001, the book Rikugun Noborito Kenkyujo no shinjitsu or The Truth About the Army Noborito Institute revealed that members of a covert section of the Imperial Japanese Army that took part in biological warfare during World War II also worked for the "chemical section" of a US clandestine unit hidden within Yokosuka Naval Base during the Korean War as well as on projects inside the United States from 1955 to 195949

According to Jeff Kaye's interpretation of a “Memorandum of Conversation” from the Psychological Strategy Board PSB dated July 6, 1953 and declassified and released by the CIA in 2006,50 the US protestations at the United Nations did not mean the US was serious about conducting any investigation into biological warfare charges, despite what the government said publicly The reason the US didn’t want any investigation was because an “actual investigation” would reveal military operations, “which, if revealed, could do us psychological as well as military damage” The memorandum, which had been sent to CIA director Allen Dulles, specifically stated as an example of what could be revealed “Eighth Army preparations or operations eg chemical warfare”51

Author Simon Winchester concluded in 2008 that Soviet intelligence was sceptical of the allegation, but that North Korea leader Kim Il Sung believed it52 Winchester said the question "has still not been satisfactorily answered"53

In accounts published in 2013, after his death, Wu Zhili, the former Surgeon General of Chinese People's Voluntary Army, admitted that Chinese allegation was a false alarm, and that he had been forced to fabricate evidence5455

See alsoedit

  • Yellow rain
  • Khabarovsk War Crime Trials

Further readingedit

  • Shiwei Chen, "History of Three Mobilizations: A Reexamination of the Chinese Biological Warfare Allegations against the United States in the Korean War," Journal of American-East Asian Relations 163 2009: 213-247
  • John Clews, The Communists New Weapon: Germ Warfare London, 1952
  • Stephen L Endicott, "Germ Warfare and "Plausible Denial": The Korean War, 1952–1953," Modern China 51 Jan 1979: 79-104
  • Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare Bloomington, Ind, 1998
  • Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China Peking and Prague, 1952;
  • Stanley I Kutler, The American Inquisition: Justice and Injustice in the Cold War New York, 1982
  • Albert E Cowdrey, “Germ Warfare and Public Health in the Korean Conflict,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 39 1984
  • John Ellis van Courtland Moon, “Biological Warfare Allegations: The Korean War Case,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 666 1992
  • Tom Buchanan, “The Courage of Galileo: Joseph Needham and the Germ Warfare Allegations in the Korean War,” History 86 October 2001
  • Julian Ryall, "Did the US wage germ warfare in Korea", Telegraph, June 10, 2010
  • Ruth Rogaski, “Nature, Annihilation, and Modernity: China’s Korean War Germ-Warfare Experience Reconsidered,” Journal of Asian Studies 61 May 2002
  • Nianqun Yang, "Disease Prevention, Social Mobilization and Spatial Politics: The Anti Germ-Warfare Incident of 1952 and the Patriotic Health Campaign,” Chinese Historical Review 11 Fall 2004

Referencesedit

  1. ^ Simon Winchester, The Man who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom, Harper Collins, New York, 2008, pp 199–200; Gavan McCormack, "Korea: Wilfred Burchett's Thirty Year's War", in Ben Kiernan ed, Burchett: Reporting the Other Side of the World, 1939-1983, Quartet Books, London, 1986, pp 202-203
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sheldon H Harris 3 May 2002 Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-45, and the American Cover-up Taylor & Francis ISBN 978-0-203-43536-6
  3. ^ a b Zhang, Shu Guang 1995, Mao's Military Romanticism: China and the Korean War, 1950-1953, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, p 181, ISBN 0-7006-0723-4 
  4. ^ a b Zhang 1995, p 182
  5. ^ Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, revised edition, Prion, London, 2000, p 388
  6. ^ 李, 玮 April 4, 2010 抗美援朝-反细菌战 in Chinese 宁夏网 Retrieved 3 September 2014 
  7. ^ Schwable, Colonel Frank H; Thomas, Kenn December 6, 1952 "Of Bugs and Bombs" Retrieved 5 April 2013 
  8. ^ a b Guillemin, Jeanne Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism, Google Books, Columbia University Press, 2005, pp 99–105, ISBN 0-231-12942-4
  9. ^ Simon Winchester, The Man who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom, Harper Collins, New York, 2008, pp 203-208
  10. ^ "Report on US Crimes in Korea" PDF International Association of Democratic Lawyers Retrieved 26 May 2013 
  11. ^ a b "John W Powell Dies at 89; Journalist was Tried on Sedition Charges in 1950s" LA Times December 23, 2008 Retrieved July 31, 2013 
  12. ^ Lone, Stewart; McCormack, Gavan 1993 Korea since 1850 Melbourne: Longman Cheshire p 116 
  13. ^ Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China Peking and Prague, 1952, p 14
  14. ^ Lone, Stewart; McCormack, Gavan 1993 Korea since 1850 Melbourne: Longman Cheshire p 116 
  15. ^ Lone, Stewart; McCormack, Gavan 1993 Korea since 1850 Melbourne: Longman Cheshire pp 116–117 
  16. ^ Sonia G Benson, Korean War: Almanac and Primary Sources, Gale, New York, 2003, p 182
  17. ^ FEDCU One Fight an Unseen Enemy
  18. ^ "HISTORY OF NAVY ENTOMOLOGY" United States Navy Medical Entomology United States Navy 2006-05-03 Retrieved 2007-12-11 
  19. ^ Marshall, Irvine H 1955 "Malaria in Korea" In Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Recent advances in medicine and surgery 19–30 April 1954 based on professional medical experiences in Japan and Korea, 1950-1953 Washington: Walter Reed Army Medical Center p 282 OCLC 4011756 Retrieved 2007-12-11  See footnote 5
  20. ^ Marshall, p 272
  21. ^ Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, revised edition, Prion, London, 2000, p 388
  22. ^ "Report on the National Lawyers Guild, legal bulwark of the Communist Party" United States Congress House Committee on Un-American Activities September 17, 1950 The current international Communist front for attorneys is known as the International Association of Democratic Lawyers This organization is sometimes referred to as the International Association of Democratic Jurists 
  23. ^ Central Intelligence Bulletin PDF Report Central Intelligence Agency October 4, 1958 p 5 CIA-RDP79T00975A004000200001 pro-communist International Association of Democratic Lawyers 
  24. ^ Lech, Raymond B 2000, Broken Soldiers, Chicago, IL: University of Illinois, pp 162–163, ISBN 0-252-02541-5 
  25. ^ Denis Warner, Not Always on Horseback: An Australian Correspondent at War and Peace in Asia, 1961-1993, Allen and Unwin, St Leonards, 1997, pp 196-197
  26. ^ Tibor Méray, On Burchett, Callistemon Publications, Kallista, Victoria, Australia, 2008, pp 73-76
  27. ^ Tibor Méray, On Burchett, Callistemon Publications, Kallista, Victoria, Australia, 2008, p 51
  28. ^ Tibor Méray, On Burchett, Callistemon Publications, Kallista, Victoria, Australia, 2008, p 252
  29. ^ a b c d Zhang 1995, p 184
  30. ^ a b Zhang 1995, p 185
  31. ^ Tibor Méray, On Burchett, Callistemon Publications, Kallista, Victoria, Australia, 2008, pp 261-262
  32. ^ Eitzen, Edward M; Takafuji, Ernest T "Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare" PDF United States Government Printing p 419 ISBN 9997320913 
  33. ^ Lech 2000, p 162
  34. ^ Gavan McCormack, "Korea: Wilfred Burchett's Thirty Year's War", in Ben Kiernan ed, Burchett: Reporting the Other Side of the World, 1939-1983, Quartet Books, London, 1986, p 204
  35. ^ Lone, Stewart; McCormack, Gavan 1993 Korea since 1850 Melbourne: Longman Cheshire pp 115–116 
  36. ^ Lone, Stewart; McCormack, Gavan 1993 Korea since 1850 Melbourne: Longman Cheshire p 118 
  37. ^ Auster, Bruce B "Unmasking an Old Lie Archived 2011-05-24 at the Wayback Machine", US News and World Report, November 16, 1998 Retrieved January 7, 2009
  38. ^ Korea: The Unknown War Viking, 1988
  39. ^ a b Zhang 1995, p 186
  40. ^ Endicott, Stephen, and Hagermann, Edward The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, Google Books, relevant excerpt, Indiana University Press, 1998, pp 75-77, ISBN 0-253-33472-1, links accessed January 7, 2009
  41. ^ a b "Reviews of The United States and Biological Warfare: secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea", York University, compiled book review excerpts Retrieved January 7, 2009
  42. ^ Regis, Ed "Wartime Lies", The New York Times, June 27, 1999 Retrieved January 7, 2009
  43. ^ Weathersby, Kathryn, & Milton Leitenberg, "New Evidence on the Korean War", Cold War International History Project, 1998 Retrieved March 4, 2011
  44. ^ Auster, Bruce B "Unmasking an Old Lie" Archived 2011-05-24 at the Wayback Machine, US News and World Report, November 16, 1998 Retrieved October 29, 2013
  45. ^ Leitenberg , Milton 1998, The Korean War Biological Warfare Allegations Resolved Occasional Paper 36 Stockholm: Center for Pacific Asia Studies at Stockholm University May issue
  46. ^ Leitenberg , Milton 1998, “New Russian Evidence on the Korean Biological Warfare Allegations: Background and Analysis”; Woodrow Wilson Center Cold War International History Project, Bulletin 11 Winter issue, pp 185-199
  47. ^ Weathersby, Kathryn 1998, “Deceiving the Deceivers: Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, and the Allegations of Biological Weapons Use in Korea”, Woodrow Wilson Center Cold War International History Project, Bulletin 11 Winter issue, pp 176-185
  48. ^ Herbert Romerstein 2001 "Disinformation as a KGB Weapon in the Cold War" The Journal of Intelligence History International Intelligence History Association 1: 59 
  49. ^ Central Intelligence Agency review of "Rikugun Noborito Kenkyujo no shinjitsu The Truth About the Army Noborito Research Institute" By Shigeo Ban Tokyo: Fuyo Shobo Shuppan, 2001
  50. ^ Exploitation of Communist BW Charges PDF Report Central Intelligence Agency 7 July 1953 CIA-RDP80R01731R003300190004-6 Retrieved 8 January 2015 
  51. ^ Kaye, Jeff December 10, 2013 "CIA Document Suggests US Lied About Biological, Chemical Weapon Use in the Korean War" The Dissenter Retrieved 7 January 2015 
  52. ^ Simon Winchester, The Man who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom, Harper Collins, New York, 2008, pp 212-214
  53. ^ Winchester 2008, p 199
  54. ^ Wu, Zhili 吴之理 2014-01-01, Why did Zhou Enlai Stopped the Biological Warfare Allegation Campaign: Because the Chinese People's Voluntary Army Headquarters Admitted Manipulating Facts 周恩来为何不让再批美军细菌战:志司承认做了手脚 in Chinese, Hong Kong: Phoenix Television, retrieved 2014-01-31 
  55. ^ Wu, Zhili 吴之理 2013-10-01 "The Germ War of 1952 Was a False Alarm 52年的细菌战是一场虚惊" Yan Huang Historical Review 炎黄春秋 in Chinese 11 

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