Biological Warfare Another French Connection

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Biological Warfare – Another French Connection, is the first book to summarize the history of France’s biological warfare programs. Highlighting the complex and always secret conceptual genesis of the notion of biological warfare in France, Etienne Aucouturier shows that the contemporary institutional separation between chemical and biological weapons converges in reality on the same project, that of providing armies with the capability to selectively target living organisms or physiology by means of surgical strikes that use poisons or pathogens.

From the invention of microbial aerosols before the First World War, to the last chemical weapons tests in the Algerian desert in the 1970s, the book documents the scientific and technical research conducted to achieve this military capability. It reports on the constant interaction between the military and civil biomedical research spheres in France during the 20th century, while at the same time retracing the history of the debates between politicians, soldiers and scientists on the subject of biological warfare, and reveals how this important aspect of the military strategy of the last three French Republics was discussed at the highest levels of state, scientific and military hierarchies. Drawing on a large number of archival documents that have subsequently become difficult to consult, Aucouturier demonstrates the way in which these secret interactions gave rise to a sort of covert agreement between France’s biomedical institutions and its military strategists.

By reversing the order of current analysis - which dissociates, in principle, chemical and biological weapons - and focusing on the military's goal of selectively targeting the living, the book also provides a dynamic and historically justified conceptual framework that permits the reader to consider, and to fear, the possible future forms that biological warfare may take.

Ce livre est la traduction anglaise de La guerre biologique. Aventures françaises, paru aux Editions Matériologiques en 2017.

Auteurs Etienne Aucouturier
Titre Biological Warfare
Sous-titre Another French Connection
Édition 2e (1re ed. in french, 2017)
Préface Jeanne Guillemin
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Foreword by Jeanne Guillemin (2017)

Foreword by the author (2019)

Introduction

Definitions

Structure

Context and limits

Chapter 1. Microbial warfare, bacteriological warfare

The art of artificial epidemics

Microbial warfare, bacteriological warfare and WWI

WWI

Chapter 2. Gestation and birth of the French CBW programs

Trillat’s research: artificial clouds and biological warfare

Military applications

Chapter 3. Inventing the French CBW program

The Poudrerie du Bouchet

The German threat

Chapter 4. What happened to the French CBW program under Nazi occupation?

The SIPN and the Omnium des produits azotiques

The ‘Débacle’ and the Station d’Essais du Bouchet

Biological warfare in (yet another) population-level sense

Chapter 5. The Libération and the understanding of Biological Warfare in France

Physician Lieutenant-Colonel Jude’s conference

The resumption and the Medical Defence Board against Modern Warfare

Institut Pasteur and the civilian-military commission on CBW

Chapter 6. German know-how and the “unbearable constraint”

The “unbearable constraint” to think as an aggressor

Aerosols and clouds: “making the rain and the sunshine”

A vaccine against radioactivity?

Chapter 7. Towards biochemical defence

The temporary end of «bacteriological» warfare

A renewed trust in Institut Pasteur

Chapter 8. Special weapons: The Commission on Chemical and Bacteriological Studies and Experiments (CEECB)

Mass destruction and ecological warfare

Statistics and populations

Chapter 9. Mass destruction and chain reaction

Producing well-defined results in space and time 

Decay Weapons

Mechanical vectors: fuses and shells

Chapter 10. Towards rearmament: 1959-1965

Some collaborations with the USA and the Netherlands

A slow recovery

A focus on incapacitants?

Chapter 11. Reorganizations and privatizations

An unprecedented recourse to the private sector

Small and large animals

Chapter 12. The Sahara trials and the Sodeteg

Aromas, spices and B2-Namous

The Sodeteg sheep

Lamppost and marjoram

Chapter 13. State secrecy and the law

What happened to the French biological warfare program after 1972?

Dealing with the law: offense and prophylaxis

The disturbing fate of Sodeteg

Conclusion

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