Skip to Main Content
Pathogens for War

Pathogens for War: Biological Weapons, Canadian Life Scientists, and North American Biodefence

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 448
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Pathogens for War
    Book Description:

    Pathogens for Warexplores how Canada and its allies have attempted to deal with the threat of germ warfare, one of the most fearful weapons of mass destruction, since the Second World War.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6498-2
    Subjects: History, History of Science & Technology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    Since the tragic events of the 1972 Munich Olympics, there have been fears that terrorist groups might exploit these high-profile international sporting events “to make a grandiose and symbolic statement with a potential for mass casualties.”¹ This was certainly the mindset of Canadian security officials in 1976 when they had to deal with the possibility that radical organizations would attack the Montreal Summer Olympics with-chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons (CBRN).² Fortunately, this did not occur, but fears about such assaults resurfaced during the 1990s with the emergence of ever more ruthless terrorist organizations. This sense of vulnerability about the...

  5. 1 Canadaʹs Role in Allied Biological Warfare Planning in the Second World War
    (pp. 14-55)

    Canada’s biological warfare program during the Second World War was part of a broader system of Anglo-American military cooperation that included a number of weapon systems – radar / sonar, radar / proximity fuze, explosives / propellants, poison gas / military medicine, and the atomic bomb. This defence science coordination, within the North Atlantic triangle, began well before the United States formally became a belligerent and was driven by mutual fear of Nazi Germany. In June 1940, for instance, it was the possibility of imminent invasion that forced the British government to seek assistance from the United States as well...

  6. 2 Bioweapons in the Cold War: Scientific Research, Civil Defence, and International Controversy
    (pp. 56-89)

    With the advent of the Cold War, many nations were keenly interested in the potential of biological weapons. This was certainly the case for Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, who resumed their wartime biowarfare alliance through the 1947 Tripartite Biological and Chemical Weapons Agreement. Yet despite many shared interests, notably the importance of deterring Soviet use of biological weapons, the three countries had quite different views on how these military devices could be used. For British military planners, there was the awareness that since their country lived in a dangerous neighbourhood there were powerful strategic reasons for...

  7. 3 Operational Biological Weapons and Alliance Cooperation, 1955–1969
    (pp. 90-118)

    Any country intending to incorporate bioweapons into its military arsenal would have a predictable developmental pattern regardless of whether the ultimate goal in using these weapons was deterrence or offensive first use. The six major stages in this weaponization process would be (1) the research, development, and testing of the selected pathogenic agent; (2) the mass production and storage of these agents; (3) the design and field use of suitable munitions (bombs / sprays); (4) the utilization of long-range delivery systems (rockets / high-performance aircraft); (5) the creation of effective civil defence protective measures for friendly troops and civilians (vaccines,...

  8. 4 Canada and BW Disarmament: National and International Developments, 1968–1975
    (pp. 119-146)

    In 1968 there was a surge of interest, at home and abroad, in what Canada was doing in the fields of biological and chemical warfare. In part, this was associated with the global debate about weapons of mass destruction and allegations that the United States was violating the 1925 Geneva Protocol through its extensive use of tear gas and herbicides in Vietnam. Unlike the 1952 germ warfare propaganda campaign, opponents of Washington’s CBW policies came from respectable peace groups and scientific organizations. As a result, American policy makers, and their Quadripartite allies, were forced to justify why the research, development,...

  9. 5 Triple Threats: Biowarfare, Terrorism, and Pandemics, 1970–1985
    (pp. 147-178)

    The 1969 American unilateral renunciation of offensive biological warfare had a dramatic impact on the defence priorities and diplomatic policies of all members of the Western military alliance. For the US Department of Defense this transition was particularly difficult, given its sustained efforts to develop operational bioweapons, using both lethal and incapacitating munitions. Now that this program had been terminated, there were challenging questions of what would happen to the Pentagon’s three major BW facilities – Fort Detrick, the Pine Bluff Arsenal, and the Dugway / Deseret Testing Grounds. Of these, Detrick’s future seemed most assured, largely because of the...

  10. 6 Preventing Germ Warfare in the Age of the Biotechnology Revolution
    (pp. 179-212)

    The ratification of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in March 1975 was a remarkable event since it outlawed an entire weapon system. Most countries of the world pledged that they would renounce the research, development, stockpiling, or use of germ weapons. Unfortunately, this did not occur. Indeed, even before the ink was dry on the original disarmament agreement, the Soviet Union intensified its efforts to develop the world’s most formidable biological weapons arsenal. While many questions about the offensive dimensions of the Soviet program remain unanswered, available evidence indicates that many of the world’s most frightening pathogens were weaponized...

  11. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  12. 7 Biodefence after 9/11: Old Problems and New Directions
    (pp. 213-244)

    The sense of foreboding about a possible bioterrorist attack on Canada was evident in the 1999 report of DRDC Suffield entitled “Hogtown Disaster: A BW Terrorist Attack on a Major Canadian City.”² In this simulated study, metropolitan Toronto’s 4.5 million people were the target of a group of domestic terrorists using the deadly pathogenBacillus anthracis, which caused “casualties in at least 20% of the exposed population.”³ A year later, Health Canada’s Centre for Preparedness and Response (CEPR) prepared its own BW disaster model, based on those developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.⁴ Again the projections...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 245-258)

    In 1992 the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as part of a BWC international exercise in transparency, submitted a summary of Canada’s involvement with biological warfare since the Second World War. Unfortunately, this document was seriously flawed in terms of historical accuracy. Instead of providing a reliable account of the country’s BW legacy, it attempted to minimize the role that Canadian defence scientists had assumed in the Allied offensive programs during the Second World War and the Cold War. More recent portrayals of Canada’s biodefence activities by the federal government, either in its official statements or commissioned studies,...

  14. List of Biological Agents and Toxins
    (pp. 259-260)
  15. Biographical Profile of Key Biowarfare Scientists
    (pp. 261-264)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 265-378)
  17. Glossary of Terms
    (pp. 379-382)
  18. Note on Sources
    (pp. 383-386)
  19. Primary Sources
    (pp. 387-392)
  20. Index
    (pp. 393-410)