In a Nutshell
During the occupation of China, the Japanese army set up the secretive Unit 731. Behind closed doors doctors infected civilians with plague, subjected them to extreme temperature changes, and had them dissected alive.
The Whole Bushel
When the bombs landed in China’s Quzhou province, locals didn’t know what to make of them. Instead of exploding, they merely cracked open – spilling rice, wheat and microscopic fleas across villages. It wasn’t for another week that their purpose became apparent, when an outbreak of Bubonic Plague began to decimate the countryside.
Such plague bombs are only one of the atrocities linked with Unit 731: the Japanese answer to Mengele’s Auschwitz. In a vast complex on the edge of the Chinese mainland, surgeons took turns at dissecting civilians alive, removing organs one by one until the patient died. Some were hung up and vivisected without anesthetic. Others were tied to the ground in freezing weather to see how quickly they would succumb to frostbite. Yet others were gassed or herded into decompression chambers, where researchers timed how long it took their eyeballs to explode. And then there were the germs.
Cholera, typhoid, dysentery and anthrax were spread over Chinese cities. As many as 200,000 people died in outbreaks that lasted until 1948. Russian, Filipino and Allied prisoners were infected then pickled in formaldehyde. Yet, for all this brutality, no-one was ever punished. US forces exchanged immunity for data and helped cover-up the evidence. There has been no apology, no compensation, no recognition. Unit 731 remains a darkly open secret—one its victims still suffer with 70 years later.