uring World War II, Japanese scientists, led by Shiro Ishii, built a medical facility in Manchuria. It is in this place, Unit 731, that Ishii and his scientists conducted some of the most horrific war crimes of the 20th century. The goal of Unit 731 was to experiment with germ warfare, with the ultimate aim of using these weapons on the United States during the war. Experiments were conducted on Chinese civilians, soldiers and American prisoners of war. They ranged from live dissections to the deliberate infection of surrounding villages with diseases such as the bubonic plague. Now, over fifty years later, activists, journalists and historians are uncovering the story of Unit 731, and the American complicity that let these war crimes go unpunished.
Unit 731: Nightmare in Manchuria would be useful for classes on World History, Asian History, American History, Military History, History of Medicine and Ethics. It is appropriate for middle school, high school and college students.
Students will explore the ethics of war and war crimes. They will analyze the political expediency that permitted the United States to cover-up these crimes. They will also examine how activists, journalists, and historians are uncovering these atrocities and the role of human rights in war and politics.
Unit 731: Nightmare in Manchuria fulfills the following National Standards for History for grades 5-12: chronological thinking, historical comprehension, historical analysis and interpretations, and historical research capabilities for World History eras 8 and 9.