UK Considered Using Biological and Chemical Weapons

26 Jun 2009

More than a year before the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, British officials had reviewed academic evaluations of conducting chemical warfare against Tokyo. The two chemical agents considered were phosgene and mustard gas, and Tokyo was suggested for its temperature in the summer, high population density, and political importance. There were also recommendations on delivery techniques, for example:

It is therefore recommended that the initial attack on Tokyo should be made against the areas of densely packed Japanese buildings using incendiaries on a scale sufficient to set the large areas involved on fire... When the inflammable buildings had been eliminated, attack on the modern-type streets would be made with persistent or non-persistent gas....

As the consideration of poison attacks were revealed by the United Kingdom's National Archives, detailed plans for the usage of darts containing poison were also made public. They were designed to be dropped by Royal Air Force bombers on German troop concentrations. This plan, drawn up in late 1941, predated the chemical attack considerations on Tokyo by more than two years as the British feared a possible invasion of the UK by German troops.

For more information:
Times Online: Britain considered chemical attack on Tokyo in 1944
BBC: WWII poison darts secret emerges

Back to Main | Back to 2009 News Index

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code



1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites

Famous WW2 Quote
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!