French in Morocco, and the Russians in Central Asia. Strong evidence has been presented that it was used by the Italians in Abyssinia and the Japanese in China. In the beginning of World War II (WWII), the specter of chemical warfare was again raised by reports of the use of mustard by the Germans and the Poles against each other in 1939 (Medema, 1986; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 1971; Tanaka, 1988).
Thus, as engagement of U.S. forces in the European conflict began to look inevitable, preparations against the accompanying threat of chemical attack were given a high priority. These preparations included the establishment of secret research programs to develop better protective clothing for the troops and to investigate ointments and salves that might be effective in reducing the blistering effects of sulfur and nitrogen mustard (collectively termed mustard agents) and Lewisite, an organic arsenic-containing compound that shared some properties with mustard agents (Stewart, 1948).
The researchers involved in these programs, frustrated by the lack of adequate animal models of human injury from these chemicals, decided in 1942 that human subjects were needed for experiments with protective clothing materials and ointments (National Research Council, 1942; Office of Scientific Research and Development, 1946). At several centers around the country, top secret research using military personnel as human subjects was begun. The specific protocols, outlined in more detail in the next chapter, included putting drops of sulfur mustard or Lewisite on subjects' arms, either with or without test ointments, and clothing human subjects in suits impregnated with chemicals designed to retard vapor penetration. These subjects repeatedly entered gas chambers filled with vapors of mustard agents or Lewisite until their skin reddened, an indication that the protection of the clothing was failing.
The fears of chemical attacks in the course of WWII were never realized. Military and civilian personnel were injured by sulfur mustard in Bari, Italy, following a German air raid that destroyed a U.S. ship carrying sulfur mustard bombs (Infield, 1976; Perera and Thomas, 1986). The only other individuals injured by mustard agents and Lewisite in WWII were among those who served as subjects in the experiments or who worked with the agents as part of their military, or sometimes civilian, assignments.
In the early 1980s, reports of such injuries and ensuing health problems began to emerge. This seemingly long delay was due to the highly classified nature of the experiments with chemical warfare agents during WWII. After keeping silent for four decades, a few of the human subjects, believing their exposure to these agents was the cause of numerous debilitating diseases, attempted to seek compensation. As time passed and more information became public, claims by individuals