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Behind the laboratory: political psychology, military culture and science in the Japanese biological and chemical warfare programme (1933-1945)

Zhang, Qin Yuan; (2021) Behind the laboratory: political psychology, military culture and science in the Japanese biological and chemical warfare programme (1933-1945). Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

From 1933 to 1945, with Unit 731 as main base, the Japanese conducted human experiments and vivisection on victims as well as inflicting mass chemical and biological warfare (CBW) in China. Due to the confidentiality, political sensitivity and censorship of related materials, research on these Japanese activities has moved slowly in previous decades. With more and more materials released in recent years, scholars have tried their best to explore this topic. This thesis utilizes this historical background, drawing on primary and secondary sources, and fuses it with Science and Technology Studies (STS), international relations (IR), political psychology and military studies to systematically explore how did the different groups (army, scientists and its individual leader) contribute to or cooperate in the Japanese CBW programme? And how did the research and development (R&D) of CBW agents in laboratories take place and how was it applied to the on-going warfare and what influence did it have? The thesis deems that in a top-down process, the Japanese CBW programme provokes a wider discussion of the relationship between military culture, scientists, individual leaders, like Shiro Ishii, CBWs and war, however, the thesis also argues that the participants of this programme did not get the punishment they deserved. The thesis firstly sets out the context of the research with an introduction, literature review and discussion of methodology, which show the academic achievement and available archives on the topic. The empirical chapters 3 to 7 are the main body of the project, which analyse the wartime behaviours of army, scientists and one key individual, Ishii as well as the reasons behind their participation in the CBW programme, this is followed by a discussion of the relationship between chemical and biological (CB) weapons and warfare. Finally, I trace the development of the CBW war criminals in the post-war era and the current and long-term impacts of the programme. The main argument of the thesis is that a number of factors acted as drivers of Japanese involvement in the programme, including: the imperialist culture propagated in Japan before the war, militaristic ideology and culture, the scientists’ participation and Ishii’s personality. Secondly, that the R&D on CBW agents in the various laboratories was closely related to the battlefields. The aim of the thesis is to understand the CB warfare deeply to avoid the same thing happening again.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Behind the laboratory: political psychology, military culture and science in the Japanese biological and chemical warfare programme (1933-1945)
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123539
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