Master's Theses

Department

History

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Abstract

Though not widely recognized, Japan developed and used chemical weapons during the years leading up to and including the Second World War. As will become clear in this study, although both the Japanese army and navy produced chemical weapons, only the army used them in combat. The navy forbore chemical weapons use primarily because of the threat of American retaliation in kind. On the other hand, the army faced no such fear in China and, therefore, used chemical weapons on numerous occasions in combat against Chinese forces. Many Japanese citizens still bear the scars of exposure from working at the chemical weapons factory on the island of Okunoshima. Recently, Chinese citizens have found abandoned chemical weapons buried by the Japanese in haste during their retreat from China in the latter days of the war. These discoveries have sickened and killed numerous Chinese civilians since the war ended. The ongoing suffering of Chinese and Japanese citizens as a result of Japan's chemical weapons program makes this study worthwhile as that program produced implications that still resonate today.

Advisor

David Goodlett

Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Rights

© 2004 Nicholas A. Krehbiel

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