Did Nazis Try to Weaponize Mosquitoes?

Researcher thinks documents prove Hitler's biological weapon ban was ignored
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2014 12:50 PM CST
A female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquires a blood meal from a human host at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, James Gathany, File)

(Newser) – Were Nazi scientists planning to unleash disease-carrying mosquitoes on the Allies? It's a long-running debate, but one biologist thinks he's uncovered evidence that indicates they were. Klaus Reinhardt believes that the entomological institute at Dachau was actually working on weaponizing mosquitoes, National Geographic reports. As evidence, he cites reports written by the institute's insect researcher, Eduard May, that discuss the "practical execution" of dropping malaria-infected pests from a plane.

The documents show that the institute researched how long the mosquitoes could live inside a plane, and which species would be best suited to the task. But even Reinhardt admits that the evidence isn't airtight, and given that Hitler prohibited biological weapons, other scholars believe May's work was defensive in nature, given that the Allies definitely were researching and producing biological weapons during the war, as was Japan. Adding insult to the doubt, Reinhardt also notes that "the equipment May had at hand was actually rather pathetic."

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