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The use of Biological Weapons

Germany led the world in the development of nerve gases, tabun in 1936, sarin gas in 1938 and soman in 1944 (Harris & Paxman 53). However, the only known uses made by the Germans of chemical weapons during World War II was their dropping of incendiary bombs and their use of Zyklon B (potassium cynanide) gas which was used to liquidate millions of European Jews.

Germany and Britain played an elaborate game of 'chicken' with poison gas. Britain warned the Germans a few weeks after the start of World War II that it would retaliate if the Germans used poison gases against them (Harris & Paxman 108). Winston Churchill was prepared to use poison gas against German invaders; but Adolf Hitler called off the invasion of Britain in 1941. Hitler, who had himself been gassed during World War I, and his generals saw no advantage to using gas during their blitzkrieg campaigns in Western Europe in 1940 and the Soviet Union in 1940-1942. According to Albert Speer, Nazi Minister of War, in his testimony at the Nuremburg trials, Nazi Germany accumulated in 1943-1944 substantial quantities of sarin, tabun and soman. He said that Hitler was warned by him and an expert in chemical weapons at a meeting in May 1943 that the Allies had the capacity to retaliate if German used poison gas against them (Harris & Paxman 64). In fact, Hersh said the Germans were "far ahead of the Allies in chemical preparations" (9). Nevertheless, Churchill had to be dissuaded by his Chiefs of Staff from using poison gas against the Germans in retaliation for the 1944 German V-1 and V-2 attacks against London. The United States, which spent in the mid-1940s nearly $1 billion on chemical weapons, contemplated using poison gas against Japanese troops on Iwo Jima but Roosevelt vetoed the idea. As it was, the United States used napalm and Germany, Britain and the United States used white phosphorous in aerial and artillery attacks during World War II. Harris & Paxman said that "the...

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The use of Biological Weapons. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:34, August 20, 2017, from
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