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The Unit 731 Terror

The last time I learned about war was in school, much like everyone else. However, lessons only emphasised topics that covered who fought with whom or the reason behind the war. War is a terror that has caused horrific incidents which haven’t been brought to light. The stories behind every war are ones filled with suffering and torment. Warzones have been the site of some of the world’s most inhumane human experiments, and one such experiment is Unit 731.

The WW1 warzone witnessed several battles that deployed the use of chemical and biological weapons. To prevent this torturous method of killing, the Geneva Protocol was enforced to prohibit asphyxiation, chemical and biological weapons.

Japan signed the Geneva Convention but failed to ratify the norms mentioned in it. Unit 731 was a so-called development and experimentation unit, which was under the control of the Imperial Japanese Army during the time of WW2. Known by the code name Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department, the unit was a room for gruesome human trials beyond our imagination.

Prisoners and civilians captured during the war who were majorly from China were test subjects referred to as Logs or Marutas. They were the victim of some brutal experiments like vivisection, in which the prisoners were operated on without injecting them with anaesthesia. The subjects were also tested for blood loss, and sometimes their organs were removed forcibly from the body. When a regular cut can give so much pain, an operation like this is extremely brutal.

Female prisoners were not spared and injected with virulent sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis in the name of vaccines. They were also subjected to forced rape by the officers and guards of the operation. The resulting pregnancies were also closely monitored to check for the transmission of diseases to the foetus, and the neonates were also later tested as subjects. The physical and mental trauma of them were moments of unutterable grief.

The experiments also developed biological weapons called the plague bombs, which contained various disease-causing viruses. Apart from all these, the frostbite testing undertaken by the unit was terrifying. The prisoners were frozen in water and struck with rods to test the freezing index. The bodies were left stranded until rotten.

The extremity of experiments witnessed during the Unit 731 operation was sickening. They conducted about 3000 tests on humans in total, and the casualties were estimated to be around 200,000. 

According to reports, they claimed that the experiments were conducted to test the resistance of various diseases on the human body. Although there may be numerous possible explanations that could be given for these experiments, none of them is suitable justifications for the terror and agony that was caused. Every soul out there went through so much pain, and no life was left alive. And to rub salt on the wound, this entire operation was completely covered up by the government.  

Warfare never discriminates against the people, it brings suffering to humanity as a whole. Living in the modern world, there is no possibility of another experiment like this being conducted. Nevertheless, do you think there is any warzone in the present? Discriminated by culture, caste, colour, and so on, there is modern warfare between those who do not care for humanity. Created by humankind, suffered by race, paid by the generations to come, there is barely any room for benevolence in this day and age. 

As said before, war is a grave terror, and society should be aware of the sufferings of the past, like the horrific Unit 731 experiment, to avoid these things happening in the future.

Tagged in : Japan, Unit 731, Human test subjects, Experiments,