In Japan, there is a museum "731 Squad", the sad fame of which is the reason for the mass pilgrimage of tourists from around the world, but, above all, the Japanese themselves. However, if a visit to the memorial of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany causes the Germans to shudder, hate Nazism and pity for the tortured, then the Japanese, especially the young, most often come out of the museum with such facial expressions as if they had visited a national shrine.
Of course, visiting the museum, they learn that many employees of the 731 squad after the Second World War continued to live and work calmly in their native land of the rising sun, and even hold important posts. Including those who carried out monstrous biological experiments on people who, by their cruelty, were superior to the SS Dr. Josef Mengel.
Factory of death
In 1936, on the hills of Manchuria, a terrible factory began to work. Thousands of living people became its "raw materials", and its "products" were capable of destroying all of humanity in a matter of months ... Chinese peasants were afraid to even approach the terrible town of Pingfan near Harbin. Nobody really knew what was going on behind a high impenetrable fence. But among themselves they whispered: the Japanese lure there people by deception or kidnap, then they conduct terrible experiments on them.
The beginning of this death factory was laid back in 1926, when Emperor Hirohito occupied the throne of Japan. As you know, he chose the motto "Showa" ("Enlightened World") for the epoch of his reign.
But if the majority of mankind assigns the role of serving good purposes to science, Hirohito, without hiding, spoke directly about its purpose: “Science has always been the best friend of murderers. Science can kill thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people in a very short period of time. ”
The emperor could judge such terrible things competently: by education he was a biologist. He sincerely believed that biological weapon will help Japan to conquer the world, and he, a descendant of the goddess Amaterasu, will fulfill his divine destiny and rule the universe.
The emperor's ideas about the "scientific weapon" inspired the aggressive-minded Japanese military. They were fully aware of the fact that a samurai spirit and conventional weapons would not win a protracted war against the Western powers, superior quantitatively and qualitatively. Therefore, on the instructions of the Japanese general staff at the beginning of the 30-ies, the Japanese colonel and biologist Ciro Ishii made a long voyage to the bacteriological laboratories of Italy, Germany, the USSR and France, during which he dug out in detail all possible details of scientific developments. In a report on the results of this voyage, submitted to the highest echelon of the Japanese authorities, he argued that biological weapons would ensure the superiority of the Army of the Rising Sun. “Unlike artillery shells, bacteriological weapons are not capable of instantly killing manpower, but without a noise it affects the human body, bringing a slow but painful death. - Ishii argued. - It is not necessary to produce shells, it is possible to infect quite peaceful things - clothes, cosmetics, food and beverages, you can spray bacteria from the air. Let the first attack not be massive - anyway, the bacteria will multiply and hit targets ”...
It is not surprising that this optimistic report impressed the top military and political leadership of Japan, and it allocated large funds to create a full-scale secret complex for the development of biological weapons. Throughout its existence, this unit had a number of names, but in history entered under the most famous of them - the squad 731.
"Logs" are not people, they are lower than cattle "
The detachment was stationed from 1932 year near the village of Pingfan near Harbin (at that time the territory of the puppet pro-Japanese state of Manchukuo). It included almost 150 buildings and blocks. The most talented graduates of the best Japanese universities, color and hope of Japanese science were selected for the squadron.
The detachment was stationed in China, not in Japan, for a variety of reasons. First of all, when it was dislocated directly in the metropolis and not in the colony, it was very difficult to observe the regime of complete secrecy. Secondly, in the event of a leak of lethal materials, only the Chinese population was at risk.
Finally, it was easy to find and isolate "logs" in China - so arrogant Japanese bacteriologists dubbed those unfortunates for whom deadly strains were tested and other inhuman experiments were conducted.
“We believed that“ logs ”were not people, that they were even lower than cattle. However, among the scientists and researchers who worked in the detachment, there was no one who at least somewhat sympathized with the "logs." Everyone believed that the extermination of “logs” was a completely natural affair, ”one of the 731 members in the Khabarovsk trial said.
The most important experiments that were made on the experimental subjects were various tests of the effectiveness of various strains of the most dangerous epidemic diseases. The “horse” of Shiro Ishii became the plague, the epidemics of which in the Middle Ages mowed down the population of the most densely populated cities in the world. It must be admitted that on this way he achieved outstanding success: by the end of World War II, the 731 detachment produced a strain of such an extremely dangerous plague bacterium, which in 60 was once more virulent (ability to infect the body) normal infectious bacillus.
Experiments were arranged, most often, as follows. In special barracks special sealed cells were arranged, where people doomed to death were locked. These rooms were so small that the subjects could not even move. People were injected with a syringe with a lethal vaccine, and then all day long they observed various changes in the state of the organism. Then the infected ones were dissected alive, pulling out organs and observing how the disease spreads to all organs.
The test subjects were not allowed to die for as long as possible and did not stitch up the opened organs for days at a time, so that, if I may say so, the “doctors” could quietly observe the disease process without bothering with the new opening. No anesthesia was applied, so that it did not violate the "natural" course of the experiment.
Most of the “lucky” were those of the victims of the latter-day “experimenters” who were tested not for bacteria, but for gases: these people died faster. "All the experimental subjects who died from hydrogen cyanide had a purple-red face," one of the 731 officers told the court. - For those who died from mustard, the whole body was burned so that it was impossible to look at the corpse. Our experiments have shown that human endurance is approximately equal to the endurance of a pigeon. In conditions in which the pigeon perished, the experimental person perished also. ”
When the Japanese military were convinced of the effectiveness of the Ishii special detachment, they began to develop detailed plans for the use of bacteriological weapons against the armies and the population of the United States and the USSR. With the number of deadly ammunition problems were gone.
According to employees, by the end of the war, such a critical mass of epidemic bacteria had accumulated in the vaults of the 731 squadron that if they were scattered around the globe under ideal conditions, they would be enough to calmly destroy all of humanity ...
In July, 1944, only the principled stance of Prime Minister Tojo — an opponent of total war — saved the United States from a terrible disaster. The Japanese General Staff planned to transport the strains of the most dangerous viruses to American territory, from deadly ones to humans that were destroying livestock and crops. But Tojo was well aware that Japan was already clearly losing the war, and America could give an adequate response to a criminal attack with biological weapons. It is likely that Japanese intelligence has informed the country's leadership that the work on the atomic project is well underway in the United States. And make Japan the “cherished dream” of Emperor Hirohito, she would have received not only Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but dozens of other cities that were incinerated with a radioactive atom ...
But the squad 731 was engaged not only in biological weapons. Japanese scientists, following the example of the SS fools in white coats, also meticulously figured out the limits of the endurance of the human body, for which they carried out the most terrible medical experiments.
For example, doctors from a special team empirically came to the conclusion that the best way to stop frostbite is not rubbing the injured limbs, but immersing them in water with a temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit. "When the temperature was below minus 20, the experimental people were taken out into the courtyard at night, forced to lower their bare hands or feet into a barrel of cold water, and then put under an artificial wind until they received frostbite," the former shared his scary memories at a trial in Khabarovsk. employee squad. “Then with a small stick they knocked on the hands until they made a sound like they hit a piece of wood.”
Then the frostbitten limbs were lowered into the water of a certain temperature and, changing the degree, with keen interest, watched the death of the muscle tissue on the hands.
According to the testimony of the defendants, even a three-day-old child turned out to be among the experimental ones: so that he did not squeeze his hand into a fist and did not violate the “purity” of the experiment, he was driven into the middle finger of a needle.
Other victims of the special squad were turned into mummies alive. For this, people were placed in a hot, heated room with the lowest humidity. The man sweated profusely, asked to drink all the time, but he was not given water until he completely dried out. Then the body was carefully weighed ... In the course of these inhuman experiments, it turned out that the human body, completely devoid of moisture, weighs only about 22% of the original mass. That’s how the 731 team physically confirmed that the 78% human body consists of water.
And in the interests of the imperial air force monstrous experiments were carried out in the pressure chambers. “The test subject was gradually put into the vacuum pressure chamber and gradually the air was pumped out,” one of the interns of the Ishii detachment recalled at the trial. - As the difference between external pressure and pressure in internal organs increased, his eyes first got out, then his face swelled to the size of a large ball, his blood vessels swelled like snakes, and his intestines, like living ones, began to crawl out. Finally, the man just blew up alive. ”
In this barbaric way, Japanese doctors determined the permissible high-altitude ceiling for their pilots.
Some rather meaningless experiments were conducted on people, out of pure “curiosity,” dictated by pathological sadism, so to speak. Experimentally profitably cut out entire organs. Or cut off the arms and legs and sewed back, swapping the right and left limbs. Or they made a person a blood transfusion of horses, monkeys, other animals. And then a living person was subjected to exorbitant X-rays. Someone was scalded with boiling water or tested for sensitivity to electric current. Curious "scientists" sometimes filled a person's lungs with a large amount of smoke or gas, and it happened that rotting pieces of decomposed flesh were injected into the stomach of a living test subject ...
According to the testimony at the Khabarovsk process, employees of the 731 squad, during the entire period of its existence, at least three thousand people were destroyed in the course of human-hateful criminal experiments in the laboratories.
However, some researchers believe that this figure is greatly underestimated; the real victims of experimenter executioners turned out to be much more.
On a slightly smaller scale, but just as purposefully, breeding strains of deadly diseases destined to destroy livestock, poultry and crops were carried out in another division of the Japanese army - Detachment 100, also part of the Kwantung Army, and located not far from the 731 squad.
The end of the barbarian conveyor
The limit to the existence of the Japanese death factory was laid by the Soviet Union. 9 August 1945, on the day of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki by the US Air Force, Soviet troops launched an offensive against the Japanese army, and the detachment was ordered to evacuate to the Japanese islands, which began on the night of 10 on 11 August.
Hurrying to eliminate urgently the traces of criminal experiments, some materials of the executioners of the 731 squad were burned in specially dug pits. They destroyed all the experimental people who still remained. Some of the unfortunate "logs" were poisoned by gas, while others were "nobly" allowed to commit suicide. Into the river, hastily thrown exhibits of the notorious “exhibition room” - a huge hall, where cut off human organs, limbs, and severed heads were kept in flasks in alcohol. This “exhibition room” could serve as the most visible evidence of the criminal nature of the 731 squad.
But the most important materials, perhaps still waiting for their further use, were preserved by Japanese bacteriologists. They were taken out by Shiro Ishii and some other leaders of the detachment, having transferred all this to the Americans - one must think as a kind of mercy for the fact that in the future they will not be persecuted and allowed to lead a comfortable life ...
Not without reason, the Pentagon soon declared that “due to the extreme importance of information on bacteriological weapons of the Japanese army, the US government decides not to accuse a single officer of a bacteriological warfare training unit for war crimes”.
And it was not by chance that in response to a request from the Soviet side for the extradition and prosecution of members of the 731 squad, Moscow was declared by Washington that “the whereabouts of the leadership of the 731 squad, including Ciro Ishii, are unknown, and there is no reason to accuse the squad of war crimes.”
The trial is fair and ... humane
Nevertheless, the trial of the captured criminals did take place, only in the Soviet Union. From 25 to 30 in December 1949 in Khabarovsk, the Military Tribunal of the Primorsky Military District considered court cases against 12 of former Japanese military personnel who were charged with the development and use of bacteriological weapons during the Second World War. The process was opened by the announcement of previously unknown facts of the commission of crimes by the Japanese military in the period from 1938 to 1945, involving large-scale preparation of bacteriological warfare, as well as its episodic waging in China. The defendants were also charged with conducting numerous inhuman medical experiments on people, during which the "experimental" inevitably and extremely painfully died.
Twelve former soldiers of the Japanese army appeared in court in Khabarovsk.
The composition of the defendants was very heterogeneous: from the general, commanding the army, to the corporal and the medical technician. This is understandable, because the personnel of squad number 731 was almost completely evacuated to Japan, and the Soviet troops captured only some of them who were directly related to the preparation and conduct of bacteriological warfare.
The case was considered at an open court hearing by the Military Tribunal of the Primorsky Military District as part of the presiding officer - Major General D. D. Chertkov and members of the tribunal of the Colonel of Justice M.L. Ilinitsky and Lieutenant Colonel of Justice I.G. Vorobyov. The public prosecution was supported by the adviser of justice of 3 class L.N. Smirnov. All the accused were provided with qualified lawyers.
11 defendants pleaded guilty to the charge fully, and the head of the medical department of the Kwantung Army, Lieutenant General Kajitsuka Ryuji, pleaded partially guilty. Most of the defendants repented of the crimes committed in the last word, and only the commander of the Kwantung Army, General Yamada Otozoo, addressed the last word to the argument that was at the core of the defense and defendants in the Nuremberg and Tokyo military trials: the reference to the fact that crimes were committed solely by order of the superior leadership.
Defendants Hirazakura Dzensaku and Kikuchi Norimitsu expressed the hope that the main organizers and inspirers of bacteriological warfare would be brought to trial: the Japanese Emperor Hirohito, the generals Ishii and Wakamatsu.
It should be noted that the Soviet justice, contrary to the opinion spreading from the beginning of Gorbachev's restructuring on its alleged severity, issued very lenient sentences: The Military Tribunal of the Primorsky Military District did not punish the death penalty by hanging as a single one of the defendants. Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the punishment of war criminals, since at the time of sentencing the death penalty in the USSR was temporarily abolished. All generals were sentenced to twenty-five years in a forced labor camp. The remaining eight defendants received from two to twenty years in prison in the camps. All prisoners under the sentence of the Military Tribunal, who did not complete the sentence, were granted amnesty in 1956 and were able to return to their homeland ...
Death put on stream
Determining the production capacity of the 731 squad, the accused Kawashima said during interrogation: “The production department could produce up to 300 kg of plague bacteria every month.” So many deadly contagion could exterminate the entire population of the United States ...
At the interrogation, the commander of the Kwantung Army, General Yamada Otozoo, frankly admitted: “When inspecting the 731 of the detachment, I was extremely impressed by the scope of research and production activities of the detachment for the production of bacteriological means of warfare.”
The functions of the 100 squad were similar to those of the 731 squad, with the difference that it produced bacteria intended to infect livestock and crops (plague bacteria of cattle, sheep pox, mosaics, glanders, anthrax).
As it was convincingly proved at the process, along with the production of bacteriological warfare tools, in parallel, large-scale work was carried out in search of methods of using bacteriological weapons. Fleas that were exposed to infection were used as distributors of deadly epidemics. For breeding and infection of fleas were used rats, mice and other rodents, which were caught by special teams and kept in large numbers in special pens.
For the most effective use of bacteriological weapons, Ishii Shiro invented a special bomb, which was called the "bomb of the Ishii system." The main feature of this bomb was that it had a porcelain body, where fleas infected with bacteria were placed. The bomb exploded at a height of 50 — 100 m above the ground, which ensured the widest possible contamination of the area.
As shown during the interrogation of Yamada Otozoo, the main and most effective methods of using bacteriological weapons were the dropping of bacteria from airplanes and the ground method of using bacteria.
During the process, it was convincingly proved that the 731 and 100 units of the Japanese army went far beyond the laboratory and field tests of bacteriological weapons and embarked on the practical application of the weapons they had created in combat conditions.
A well-known Russian specialist in international law, I. Lukashuk, writes in one of his works: “Bacteriological weapons were used by Japan during the war against China. Military tribunals in Tokyo and Khabarovsk qualified these actions as war crimes. ” Unfortunately, this statement is only partly true, since at the Tokyo process the issue of using bacteriological weapons was not considered and experiments on people were mentioned only in one document, which was not voiced during the process due to the fault of the American prosecutor.
During the process in Khabarovsk, strong evidence was given of the use of bacteriological weapons by Japanese special forces directly during the hostilities. The indictment described in detail three episodes of the use of bacteriological weapons in the war against China. In the summer of 1940, a special expedition under the command of Ishii was sent to the area of hostilities in Central China, with a large stock of fleas infected with plague. In the Ningbo region, a vast area was contaminated from an airplane, which resulted in a strong plague epidemic in the area, about which Chinese newspapers wrote. How many thousands of people died as a result of this crime - as they say, only God knows ...
The second expedition led by the head of one of the divisions of the 731 squad, Lieutenant Colonel Oota, using plague-infected fleas sprayed from airplanes, triggered an epidemic in the area of Changde city in 1941.
The third expedition under the command of General Ishii was sent in 1942, also to Central China, where the Japanese army was defeated at that time and retreated.
The sinister plans of the Japanese militarists for the large-scale use of bacteriological weapons were disrupted as a result of the rapid onset of the Soviet Army in August 1945.
How Soviet soldiers saved the population of Eurasia, and maybe the whole of humanity from infection with disease-causing strains, is vividly shown in the 1981 feature film of the year (USSR, Mongolia, GDR) "Through Gobi and Hingan", filmed by film director Vasily Ordynsky.
... To hide evidence of preparation for conducting bacteriological warfare, the Japanese command issued orders to eliminate the 731 and 100 units and destroy traces of their activities. At the same time, as announced at the trial, another crime was committed when, in order to eliminate living witnesses using potassium cyanide, added to food, they killed most of the prison inmates in the 731 detachment. Those who did not take poisoned food were shot through the viewing windows in the cells. The prison building where the future test subjects were kept was blown up with dynamite and aerial bombs. Main building and laboratories blew sappers ...
The Khabarovsk judicial process had a peculiar continuation: on February 1, the plenipotentiary ambassadors of the USSR in Washington, London and Beijing on behalf of the Soviet government presented a special note to the governments of the USA, Great Britain and China. 1950 February 3 year note was published in the Soviet press. This document cited the most important facts established by the Military Tribunal of the Primorsky Military District during the trial.
In particular, the note emphasized: “The Soviet court convicted 12 of the Japanese war criminals guilty of preparing and using bacteriological weapons. It would, however, be unjust to leave unpunished the other main organizers and inspirers of these heinous crimes. ”
In the note, the number of such war criminals included the top leaders of Japan, including Hirohito, the emperor of Japan, who was charged with issuing secret decrees to create a special center of the Japanese army for preparing bacteriological warfare, known as 731, and its branches in Manchuria.
In connection with what was stated in the note, the government of the USSR insisted on appointing a special International Military Court in the near future and handing it over to him as war criminals convicted of the gravest war crimes.
However, the diplomatic demarche of the Soviet government was doomed to a sad failure. After all, the “cold war” was already in full swing, and the former unity of the allies in the face of a common enemy, German Nazism and Japanese militarism, now only had to be remembered ...
The main organizers of the bacteriological warfare training of Shiro Ishii and replacing him as head of the 731 squad from March 1942 of Kitano Masadzo, who were also indicated in the note of the Soviet government, were unwilling to bring the Americans to trial.
In exchange for the guaranteed security, Ishii and Kitano handed over valuable secret information concerning bacteriological weapons to American specialists in this field.
According to the Japanese researcher S. Morimura, the Ishii Americans allocated a special room in Tokyo where he was engaged in putting in order the materials of the 731 detachment that had been removed from Pinghan. And the Soviet side, demanding the extradition of the organizers and perpetrators of war crimes, was given a response infused with impertinent and impudent hypocrisy that "the whereabouts of the 731 squad, including Ishii, are unknown and there is no reason to accuse the detachment of war crimes."
The USSR’s proposal to create a new International Military Court turned out to be unacceptable for the United States also because at that time they had already begun to release the Japanese war criminals convicted by the American occupation military courts in Japan. Only at the end of 1949 of the year, just as the trial of the creators of bacteriological weapons was going on in Khabarovsk, did the Commission for Early Release, set up at the headquarters of the allied commander in chief, US Army General Douglas MacArthur, freed 45 of such criminals.
A peculiar response to the note of the USSR from the USA was the 7 March edition of 1950 by General D. MacArthur of Circular No. 5, which explicitly stated that all Japanese war criminals who had served their sentences could be released.
This was the reason for the announcement by the USSR government of a regular note to the US government on 11 in May 1950, where such intentions were assessed as an attempt to change or reverse the decision of the International Court in Tokyo, which was, in the opinion of the Soviet side, a gross violation of elementary norms and principles of international law.
There was no official response to the proposal of the USSR government regarding the creation of an International Military Court over the organizers of bacteriological warfare from the governments of the USA and Great Britain ...
Thus, all the scientists of the “death squad” (which is almost three thousand people), except those who fell into the hands of the USSR, avoided responsibility for their criminal experiments.
Many of those who infected with pathogenic bacteria and dissected living people, in post-war Japan, became the handsome deans of universities, medical colleges, venerable academics, and laborious businessmen.
And the memorable Prince Takeda, who inspected the special squad and admired the accumulated stocks of deadly strains and viruses, not only did not suffer any punishment, but even headed the Japanese Olympic Committee on the eve of the 1964 World Games of the year. The evil spirit of Pinfan, Shiro Ishii, lived comfortably in Japan and died in his bed only in 1959. There is evidence that it was he who had a hand in collecting and storing "truthful" materials about samurai knights from the 731 squad, who later glorified their "exploits" in the museum in Japan, opened in 1978 year ...
731 squad - death factory
- Alexander Pronin