After the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States launched an audacious air raid against the home islands of Imperial Japan which is now called the “Doolittle Raid.” Since it was early in the US involvement in the Pacific War, the raid needed to be launched from aircraft carriers in the enemy-controlled waters east of Japan.

After the raid, 15 of the 16 B-25 bombers flew over Japan and toward China. Low on fuel, the pilots were forced to crash land or bail out over the Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces of eastern China. Most of the American pilots made it to safety with the help of Chinese civilians.

Desperate to find the Americans, in 1942 the Japanese military launched the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign in a effort to intimidate and punish the Chinese for helping the downed American airmen. The Japanese killed an estimated 250,000 Chinese civilians while searching for the Americans, and more sinisterly, the Japanese military also used biological weapons of at least 6 pathogens, including anthrax, plague, cholera, and typhoid, against the local population and along the Zhejiang-Jiangxi railway.

In the remote areas where the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign was waged, there are now a number of hamlets called “Rotten Leg Villages” where still surviving evidence of biological warfare exists. In 2005, there were hundreds of surviving old people with incurable, open, and rotting legs or appendages. These people had been victims of Japan’s World War Two bacteriological warfare as children or teenagers, and they now suffered from horrible, open wounds which still have never healed.

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