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Unit 731; a tragedy the World has forgotten about

Unit 731 was a biological weapon-training program which was held in the territory of Chinese Manchuria by the Japanese government, from 1937 to 1945. Its atrocities are unknown, or people know very little about this events because it was covered, but here it will be explained where, how and why.

1. Historical context and creation

This events were held during the second Sino-Japanese war, and the World War II. It was introduced, at first, as a research section of the Kempeitai police in China, to stay against the politic and ideological influence of the Chinese enemies.

In 1932, Shiro Ishii Tenant was put in charge of this operation. At first it was just an epidemic preventive laboratory, and a little prison program to experiment with. But after a couple of years and some evading trials from the prisoners, the proyect was cancelled, and it became part of the Kwatung army as a lab of biological prevention, which officialy was a water purification complex. At first, it was divided in two different programs, but with the time it started being one unique one, and it received the name of Unit 731 or 731 Squad.

Due to the war that was happening in those years, some of the experiments were held in Chinese war prisoners, soldiersor even some biological attacks or experiments in civilian villages.

2. Experiments

Some of the experiments included disease trials, weapon trials, vivisections and human exposal to different terrible situations, such as hypothermia. This experiments have a lot of similarities to the ones held by the nazis in Auschwitz concentration camp, with the jew population.

Different vaccines were inyected in the patients with different diseases or products. To some of them, sexual diseases were inyected to see how fast could it spread in the villages they came from. They were also inyected animal fluids, such as animal urine and blood, to see the efects made in the human body. Salty water was also inyected, to try some new medicines with it and to see if the salty water could be a substitute of the saline solution.

Weapons of different kinds were used on the prisoners. New asault weapons, cannons and explosives were used against human target in shooting ranges. Bombs and grenades and chemical agents were also used against them, and in the second case they were vivisected to see the efects of those weapons. This experiments were made in order to see if they could use new chemical agents against their enemies in a bio war. To try this, some of the villages were infected with vaccines or with planes spreading different diseases in clothes, food, water or medical stuff. 300.000 chinese died because of this experiments, including soldiers, civiles, etc.

They were exposed also to different conditions, like freezing to analize the effects of hypothermia. Some other things, such as cutting their arms and watch the effect of the gangrene to try new medicines for their soldiers, most of the times ending with vivisections also. Other psychological experiments were made with family relatives, specially with mothers and babies, exposing them to a mutual danger, such as drowning or fire, to see the reaction of the mother: protect her son or kill him horribly to save her.

3. Ending

After the War ended, the Squad move back to Japan and tried to encouver all the program. They blew up most of the place with explosives and argued not to reveal their researching and the results of it. They were also given a cyanide pill in case they were discovered, to kill themselves to prevent the others were discovered too.

Someone denounced a particular experiment with vaccines, and some of the people of the personnel were discovered. When the judgements arrived more names appeared, being discovered some other parts of the operations. This stated in 1946, and the research on these crimes continued until the 90s, when most of the crimes were discovered, and the instalations had been researched.

Most of the personnel was condemned to 2 to 25 years in Japanese prisions for the crimes they had commited against humanity. But surprisingly, some of them remained free.

4. Legacy

When the Americans discovered the events that had happened in Manchuria and discovered some of the people who had worked there, they made a deal with some of the doctors (maybe it was this way that the other people of the Unit were discovered), giving the amnesty in change of their research archives and documents, for them to use it in war. It is said that the Americans did this secretly to the Soviets not to obtain these archives to achieve a goal against them in case a war happened between them, but using these in other wars such as the Vietnam one.

5. References

– Pino, Fernando (September 27th 2013), retrieved 10/01/2015 from

– Tracky, Jose Antonio (October 20th 2014), retrieved 10/01/2015 from

– Redacción (February 25th 2010), retrieved 12/01/2015 from

– Ryall, Julian (February 15th 2010), retrieved 08/01/2015 from

– Vergara, Max (August 4th 2011), retrieved 03/01/2015 from


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