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Three thousand years of biological warfare

Or more. An Italian researcher reckons that the Hittites were engaging in biological warfare as back as 1325BC:

"''The Hittites were the first people to wage bioterrorism,'' [Siro Trevisanato] claims in the Journal of Medical Hypotheses. Trevisanato spent years poring over ancient accounts of Hittite conquests in the 14th century BC. He came to the conclusion that the warrior people used Tularemia, an animal-borne infection that is fatal to humans, to aid their campaigns of expansion. In 1325 BC, for example, the Hittites sacked the Phoenician city of Symra, on the borders of modern-day Lebanon and Syria. ''It is then that we first hear of the so-called Hittite Plague. It appears in several documents. It is no accident, in my view, that it coincides with the first documented appearance of Tularemia''.

Tularemia does sound remarkably unpleasant: "The disease has a very rapid onset, with headache, fatigue, dizziness, muscle pains, loss of appetite and nausea. Face and eyes redden and become inflamed. Inflammation spreads to the lymph nodes, which enlarge and may suppurate (mimicking bubonic plague). Lymph node involvement is accompanied by a high fever. Death may result".

It has been claimed that the Russians used the same biowarfare technique to lift the siege of Stalingrad.

Meanwhile, I do pity the poor Hittite shepherd in charge of the sheep driving.



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Anonymous verity said... 1:29 pm

Horrible to say as, by and large, I am a big fan of the United States, the Americans used biological warfare against the Cherokee Nation when they moved them, after a long and bitter fight though the courts, in 1838, out of Georgia because settlers wanted the land. (One of the most passionate advocates for leaving them alone, by the way,was Davy Crockett.) The courts kept finding for the Cherokee, but in the end, the settlers won and they were moved a thousand miles from their homes.

So many died of feverish sickness that it is now accepted that someone, probably the army, had infected the blankets they had been given with scarlet fever.

A terrible, terrible episode, but it is still impressive that so many white people fought passionately for the Cherokee to be left alone and live in peace in their tribal lands.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 2:25 pm

Verity - Indeed. I have done some digging and there is precious little by way of documentary evidence of infected blankets and the like in North America (which does not mean it did not happen - there is no document signed 'A Hitler' outlining the operational aspects of The Shoah), but rather oral testimonies from the Indian Nations. There is the Amherst / Bouquet correspondence of 1763, however, and it does not paint a pretty picture.

More here.  



Anonymous verity said... 6:27 pm

Ooh, err, I couldn't finish reading it!

It is interesting to note, though, how many white people were outraged by the mere thought of this and fought it bitterly.  



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