Talk:Allegations of biological warfare in the Korean War

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Article title[edit]

Should this article be moved to something like Alleged germ warfare in the Korean War given that the claims have never been proven? Nick-D (talk) 10:59, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Possibly. I wasn't sure about the title when I created the article. I suppose, to be precise, it should be "Alleged germ [or biological] warfare by the goverment of the United States of America in the Korean War"... But that might be too long-winded!
On the other hand we can have an article about dragons without calling it "Alleged dragons".--Jack Upland (talk) 08:57, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
I just noticed this article and I too have pondered the title. Your point about dragons is well taken, although the main difference is probably that the the occurrence of dragons is probably less controversial with fewer diverging opinions than the topic of U.S. biological warfare during the Korean War. Really, I'm not sure how to handle it, I'm all for titles being accurate and all but the text here makes it pretty clear that these accusations have remained just that, accusations, through the years. I do suspect, however, that it's going to end up changed eventually regardless of what happens at the moment. IvoShandor (talk) 08:26, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I think this article should be renamed...even Chinese and North Koreans didn't know how the disease were spread through out Korea and Manchuria, it is more of an "Allegations of germ warfare in the Korean War" Jim101 (talk) 05:49, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I renamed the article due to the fact that it is the allegations that received most scholar attentions, but not germ warfare itself. Jim101 (talk) 00:17, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good to me.IvoShandor (talk) 05:59, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

OK. I think it's an allegation, not allegations, but the plural sounds better.--Jack Upland (talk) 00:50, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

PS I don't understand what is meant by the assertion that the allegations received more attention than the germ warfare itself!--Jack Upland (talk) 09:06, 22 December 2011 (UTC)


The researches in Chinese archives conducted by historian Shu Guang Zhang have noted that there is little, if any information on how the Chinese scientists actually investigated the biological warfare allegations. Zhang argued that the Communist side was more interested in using the biological warfare allegation to drive a wedge between US and its allies.

This really needs to be tightened up if it is to remain. It ignores the existence of the international commission, which is surely abundant evidence that investigation took place. Moreover, a simple lack of information in archives is hardly noteworthy. Records might not have been kept, or have been kept elsewhere, e.g., by the scientists themselves. Secondly, the suggestion the allegation was used for propaganda purposes is undeniable (though the specific aims could be debated). It doesn't, however, do much to evaluate the veracity of the allegation. After all, the US and its allies denied the allegation for propaganda reasons too. (And we know some of their counterclaims were false).--Jack Upland (talk) 08:00, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Trim it if you want, but Zhang's work is currently the definitive research into Chinese conducts during the Korean War, so I believe his remarks should have some weight on the issue. Jim101 (talk) 15:50, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't doubt the value of Zhang's work. (I've seen references to it but haven't read it.) My point is that the conclusions above are inconsequential. Either (a) Zhang's actual conclusions are more substantial and should be included, or (b) they aren't, so we can use his research but not bother with conclusions that don't really matter.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:29, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Okay, as you wish. Jim101 (talk) 15:09, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

From U.S. Bio Weapons program article[edit]

The following text has been in the article on the United States biological weapons program for quite some time. If anyone would like to integrate it here that would be good I think, in addtion, perhaps a sourced summary of the complete article here could replace that section of the above linked bio-weapons program article. I wrote and researched most of it but the last paragraph is a recent addition that I am not so sure about, perhaps consensus can be reached here.

North Korean and Chinese officials leveled accusations that during the Korean War the United States engaged in biological warfare in North Korea. The claim is dated to the period of the war, and has been thoroughly denied by the U.S.[1] In 1998, Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagermann claimed that the accusations were true in their book, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea[2] The book received mixed reviews, some called it "bad history"[3] and "appalling",[1] while other praised the case the authors made.[3]
In 1952 the Chinese and North Koreans insinuated that mysterious outbreaks of disease in North Korea and China[4] were due to U.S. biological attacks. Despite assertions that this did not occur from the International Red Cross and World Health Organization, whom the Chinese denounced as Western-biased, the Chinese government pursued an investigation by the World Peace Council.[5] A committee led by Joseph Needham gathered evidence for a report that included eyewitness testimony, and testimony from doctors as well as four American Korean War prisoners who confirmed the U.S. use of BW.[5] The U.S. government denied the accusations and their denial was generally supported by top scientists in the West.[5] In Eastern Europe, and China, North Korea it was widely believed that the accusations were true.[4]
The same year Endicotts' book was published Kathryn Weathersby and Milton Leitenberg of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington released a cache of Soviet and Chinese documents which revealed the North Korean claim was an elaborate disinformation campaign.[6] In addition, a Japanese journalist claims to have seen similar evidence of a Soviet disinformation campaign and that the evidence supporting its occurrence was faked.[5]
Others have revived these claims more recently.[6] In March 2010, the allegations were investigated by the Al Jazeera English news programme People & Power.[7] In this program, Professor Mori Masataka investigated historical artifacts in the form of bomb casings from US biological weapons, contemporary documentary evidence and eye witness testimonies. [7] From the evidence he collected, Professor Mori concluded that the United States did in fact test biological weapons on North Korea during the Korean War. [7]


  1. ^ a b Regis, Ed. "Wartime Lies?", The New York Times, June 27, 1999. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
  2. ^ Endicott, Stephen, and Hagermann, Edward. The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, (Google Books, relevant excerpt), Indiana University Press, 1998, pp. 75-77, (ISBN 0253334721), links accessed January 7, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Reviews of The United States and Biological Warfare: secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea", York University, compiled book review excerpts. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Stueck, William Whitney. The Korean War in World History, (Google Books), University Press of Kentucky, 2004, p. 83-84, (ISBN 0813123062).
  5. ^ a b c d Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons, p. 99-105.
  6. ^ a b Auster, Bruce B. "Unmasking an Old Lie", U.S. News and World Report, November 16, 1998. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c People & Power: Dirty little secrets by Diarmuid Jeffreys, Al Jazeera English, 10 March 2010

IvoShandor (talk) 09:58, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Further Reading???[edit]

What's the purpose of the Further Reading section? It contains a range of material which hasn't been used in the course of the article. If it's so important, why not cite it?--Jack Upland (talk) 10:00, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Further reading is one of the commonly used appendices on WP. If one wanted to use some of the information found in those works and cite them that would be a good thing, but one would have to have access to them first. See WP:FURTHER, WP:FOOTERS and the apparently proposed policy at Wikipedia:Further reading. IvoShandor (talk) 04:13, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

OK. Official policy, but still strange.--Jack Upland (talk) 02:21, 6 November 2011 (UTC)


Okip 02:27, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

So should we add this to the references section?P0PP4B34R732 (talk) 02:48, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I did, don't know if someone removed. Okip 16:48, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Weathersby and Leitenberg[edit]

There seems to be an effort to tilt this article towards endorsing the conclusions of Weathersby and Leitenberg. However, a leading source of their "cache" of evidence is Beria's NKVD, which is well known for producing false accusations against all and sundry. The claim that "their conclusions have been generally accepted" is not supported by the evidence within the article itself, which shows continuing support for the BW allegation. In fact, citations to back this claim are articles by Weathersby and Leitenberg themselves! The article should be reworded more neutrally.--Jack Upland (talk) 04:06, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

  Yes more neutrality please. And this sentence: "The book received mixed reviews; out of 20 reviews cited, 2 reviews were negative"? So 18/20 is mixed?! 

Pips 00:54, 16 August 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jojonouvo (talkcontribs)

Brand New Source[edit]

CIA Document Suggests U.S. Lied About Biological, Chemical Weapon Use In The Korean War, By Jeffrey Kaye, The Public Record, Dec 16th, 2013 It is somewhat about Chemical War and goes into Japan's experts. I do not think chemical war in Korea is worthy of its own entry and I would like to integrate this some how. Thank you. For whats its worth, I know from another entry I'm working on that Chemical agents were on Okinawa by 1950ish.

I don't see this in use either United States Biological Warfare during the Korean War: rhetoric and reality, by Stephen Endicott & Edward Hagerman, York UniversityJohnvr4 (talk) 22:22, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Crawford Sams[edit]

Is there better information about Sams' undercover mission behind enemy lines? The same story, based on Sams' own account, is given in Jager, Brothers at War, pp 242-244. But it seems strange to risk a Brigadier General to investigate a disease outbreak in enemy-held territory.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:22, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

I have now consolidated the details of this dubious story in one section.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:55, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

New document added[edit]

I added an item from Chinese sources published in late 2013. A Chinese historical magazine published a posthumous article by Wu, Zhi-Li, then Surgeon General of CPVA (Chinese People's Volunteer Army) during Korean War. Wu admitted that the "germ war" was caused by a false alarm. His team and even the best Chinese scientists sent from Beijing could not find any harmful germs. He and the experts had no way but fabricating the evidences.

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