World War 2 Essay Example
World War II began on September 1, 1939, and ended on September 2, 1945. During this war, countries were looking for any means to win the war and they sought out biological experimentation. Biological experiments conducted on prisoners of war played a significant role in World War II because they helped advance countries that took part in the treatments. Countries that participated in unethical human experimentation were hoping to improve soldier’s ability to perform on the field, advance racial superiority, and create hindrances for opposing forces. Germans often conducted these non-consensual experiments on prisoners in Nazi concentration camps to find ways to help their soldiers in the war.
Prisoners in Nazi concentration camps were severely abused, and one form of this abuse was the profuse amount of experimentation they underwent to help German soldiers. Last updated on Aug 30, 2006, the article “Nazi Medical Experiments” by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum says, “...scientists used camp inmates to test immunization compounds and antibodies for the prevention and treatment of contagious diseases, including malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis.” Scientists exposed prisoners to these ailments and tested various drugs, whose side effects weren’t known, which caused multiple fatalities and casualties. This treatment was not only unjust, but it was hazardous because these illnesses were easily spread and could have started multiple plagues or increased infection rates. The article also reports “...prisoners [being] exposed to phosgene and mustard gas to test possible antidotes.” Gas was one of the major killers in World War II, and finding the antidote to the gas emissions would have put Germany at an immense advantage; they could have taken a countless amount of lives during the war, including prisoners’. Often, soldiers in war suffered from severe injuries and gas gangrene, and to help resolve this issue, scientists inflicted battle-like wounds on the prisoners and aggravated the wound with different types of materials found on the battlefield, and then tested various drugs such as sulfanilamide on the injury, states Peter Tyson in “The Experiments.” Prisoners of Nazi concentration camps were put through a tremendous amount of pain for the Germans to test drugs that would supposedly heal and clean their wounds. If these drugs had worked, which they did not and killed the majority of prisoners, they would be given to German soldiers, giving them an advantage over other countries since they would be able to heal their injuries, and they could have potentially won the war and annihilated all the races they saw as inferior. This was one of their aims during the war, and this goal was shown when the Germans conducted other experiments to prove their racial superiority.
German Nazis were adamant about eradicating inferior races, so much so that they experimented on those lesser races to find ways to either multiply the master race or get rid of the others. Tyson writes in a NOVA article that, in an attempt to do this, “Dr. Josef Mengele performed experiments on twins at Auschwitz in hopes of plumbing the secrets of multiple births. After taking all the body measurements and other living data he could from selected twins, Mengele and his collaborators dispatched them with a single injection of chloroform to the heart.” To increase the birth rate of the master race, scientists experimented on terrified and malnourished children, killing them at the end of the tests. They failed miserably at increasing the population of their race but got rid of the other races, which could have been of help to other countries. According to Baruch Cohen from the Jewish Virtual Library, Scientists brought in groups of prisoners to have their genitals irradiated or be injected as a form of sterilization; they suffered greatly from the side effects. As a further attempt to prevent inferior races from multiplying, they experimented on people’s private parts and injured them severely. Not only were they burned and scarred, but they could have also developed deadly illnesses down the line, such as cancer, because of the increased amount of radiation. To find antidotes for gases, “Nazi doctors exposed 52 concentration-camp prisoners to the gas at Fort Ney near Strasbourg, France. Phosgene gas causes extreme irritation to the lungs. Most of the prisoners, who according to German records were already weak and malnourished, suffered pulmonary edema after exposure, and four of them died from the experiments,” claims Peter Tyson. The scientists knew this or a similar event would happen, nevertheless, they went through with it anyway, killing innocent people because they were seen as menial. Scientists also used the inmates to stop other countries from progressing during the war.
Humans were also experimented on to stop other countries from becoming victorious during the war. In an article from The New York Times, written on March 17, 1995, by Nicholas Kristof, Japan’s experimentation with biological warfare in Manchuria is described; it states, “The Chinese prisoner had been deliberately infected with the plague as part of a research project -- the full horror of which is only now emerging -- to develop plague bombs for use in World War II. After infecting him, the researchers decided to cut him open to see what the disease does to a man's inside.” Prisoners were nonconsensually infected to prove as an aid in the war, and rather than leaving them to recover or taking the next step to finding an antidote, they performed “surgery” without anesthesia and put the inmates in a surplus amount of pain. But even worse events took place according to Andrew Marks in “Doctors from hell: The horrific account of Nazi experiments on humans,” he says, “The human experiments included “high-altitude” experiments in which concentration camp inmates were forced, without oxygen, into high-altitude chambers that duplicated conditions at up to 68,000 feet; removal of sections of bone, muscle, and nerves, including whole legs removed at the hips to transplant to other victims.” The blitz attacks Germany created were always successful because of their attack from above and on the ground. If they improved the Luftwaffe’s ability to attack in the air, they would have even more of an upper hand. Another project that included unethical experimentation would be the Manhattan project, in which, according to “Human Radiation Experiments” by Robert Stone and others, eighteen human subjects were injected with radioactive elements from 1945 to 1947. Unknowingly, prisoners and even regular civilians were injected with radioactive elements during the Manhattan project to test how long radioactive particles could stay in the body; scientists would later use this information to make the atomic bombs that would destroy cities. Radioactive materials are extremely dangerous, and if exposed to them for too long, you will develop radiation sickness or chronic illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. During the Second World War, biological experiments were used to help wounded and sick soldiers in battle, get rid of inferior races, and hinder opposing countries.
Several countries, such as Germany and Japan, engaged in biological testing throughout the Second World War. All the victims of this non-consensual and unscrupulous testing were put through agony and suffered for days until they died. In order for their pain and suffrage to not be forgotten and purposeful, the museum should investigate experiments conducted on humans during World War II, in greater detail, and exhibit the findings. This publicity will educate people on the countries’ heinous crimes and discourage it from becoming a reality once again. It will also provide justification for the Nuremberg trials and that those who participated in these war crimes were sentenced rightfully.