These additional notes supplement those in the book: the numbers reference footnotes in the print edition.
5 An ITN cameraman filmed the attack and its aftermath. ITN. “Vietnam Napalm.” 8 June 1972 rev. 16 July 2007: YouTube.com
1 The day was clear, with a high temperature of 73 and a low of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. See Harvard Business School. “About Baker Library.” 2010: Library.HBS.edu. Fieser wrote in a personal scrapbook “Pond courtesy of the Maintenance Dept. and Cambridge Fire Dept.”
1. Harvard’s Genius
1 The NDRC’s first-year budget was $6.5 million which had the same buying power as $98,757,750 in 2009. National Defense Research Committee. “Status of Contract Funds.” Report of the National Defense Research Committee 6/27/40-6/28/42. 30 June 1941: FDRLibrary.Marist.edu. Current value of $6.5 million 1940 dollars: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Inflation Calculator.” 2009: BLS.gov.
2 The Carnegie Institution of Washington became the Carnegie Institution for Science in 2007. Carnegie Institution for Science. “About Carnegie Institution.” 2009: CIW.edu. See Vannevar Bush. “As We May Think.” July 1945: TheAtlantic.com.
4 Hopkins was confirmed by the Senate on 23 January 1939.
5 The concord was “among the minor miracles,” Bush wrote, given a “deep seated distrust of social innovators, whom I regarded as a bunch of long-haired idealists or do-gooders” on his part and “similar doubts about the men who were geared into the current industrial scene” by Hopkins, as the scientist recalled.
6 The first meeting of the Inventors Council took place on 6 August.
7 Funding came by direct Congressional appropriation after the Office of Scientific Research and Development was organized on 28 June 1941.
18 Fieser kept his initial research on napalm secret from his wife, and Mary does not appear to have played a significant role in its development, although she knew about the project from August 1941 on and assisted with later napalm-related projects. Fieser. The Scientific Method. Initial secrecy: 12-13. Other projects: 111.
Mary Fieser was never paid a salary by Harvard but, 29 years after she had started work at the university, was given the title Research Fellow of Chemistry. Robert D. Simoni, Robert L. Hill, Martha Vaughan and Herbert Tabor. “Contributions of Organic Chemists to Biochemistry: Louis F. Fieser, Mary Fieser, and Max Tishler.” 26 December 2003: 278 The Journal of Biological Chemistry e4-e6.
22 The front, or east side, of the Converse laboratory has window wells approximately 10 feet deep built into an embankment that covers the foundations of that side of the building. Harvard University. Converse Chemistry Lab. 30 May 2011: Visit by the author. Harvard.edu.
24 “Our success in the war research was due to your inspiration,” Hershberg wrote to Fieser in a letter to celebrate his 1967 retirement. E. B. Hershberg to Louis Fieser. “Louis F. Fieser Retirement Volume.” 10 July 1967: Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3. Box 9.
28 Chicago History Museum. “The O’Leary Legend.” 8 October 1996: ChicagoHistory.org. See “Late one night, when we were all in bed,/ Old Mother Leary left a lantern in the shed;/ And when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said,/ ‘There’ll be a hot time in the old town, tonight.’” Unknown Author. “Old Mother Leary (or ‘Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow’ or ‘There’ll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight’).” No Date: NIEHS.NIH.gov. Population of Chicago: History.com. “Oct 8, 1871: Great Chicago Fire begins.” 1996-2011: History.com.
30 Alexander is reported subsequently to have used petroleum twice during his campaign in India. First, he built thousands of life-sized iron horses and riders mounted on hollow wheels filled with naphtha. These rolled toward his enemies and exploded. Second, he constructed a metal moat of iron and copper and filled it with charcoal, sulphur and naphtha. This produced an awesome wall of flame. Unknown Artist. “Iskandar’s Iron Cavalry Battles the Fur of Hind.” Folio from the Great Il-Khanid Shahnama (Book of Kings). Harvard Art Museum/Arthur M. Sackler Museum. c. 1330-1340 rpt. 2008:HarvardArtMuseum.org. Firdawsi. “Iskandar Builds the Iron Rampart.” Folio from the Great Il-Khanid Shahnama (Book of Kings). Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Smithsonian Institution. S1986.104a-b. c. 1330-1340. rpt.:Asia.SI.edu. See Mayor. Greek Fire. 235-36. Centuries later, a similar story appeared in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Faithful Johanes when two ravens predicted the death of a prince: “[H]e will find a ready-made bridal outfit in a basin. It will look as if it were woven out of gold and silver, yet it’s nothing but sulphur and pitch. If he puts it on, it will burn him down to the very bone and marrow” (Faithful Johanes saves the prince). Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Jack Zipes trans. The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. 1812-15 rpt. 2002: Bantam Books. 24.
32 In addition to its experience with liquid incendiaries, imperial engineers were familiar with more peaceable uses of petroleum. “Median oil,” Iranian petroleum, heated enormous baths constructed by the emperor Septimus Severus at the end of the second century and beginning of the third. Lippman. Abhandlungen und Vortrāge. 1913. II. 226. In Partington.Greek Fire and Gunpowder. 30.
38 Brown’s invention was not deployed in the field, but the inventor persevered. On 10 May 1828, the Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy, and numerous engineers advised Congress to appropriate $8,000 for field trials of a ship-mounted flamethrower he had designed. U.S. Congress. “On the Expediency of Testing Uriah Brown’s System of Coast and Harbor Defense by Fire Ships.” 201 20th Congress 1st Session 367. 10 May 1828: IBiblio.org. In 1848, during the Mexican-American War, Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln sponsored Brown’s petition to Congress for funding to develop flamethrowers for ironclads. Robert Bruce. Lincoln and the Tools of War. 1956 rpt 1989: University of Illinois. 171, 180. Books.Google.com.
40 McClellan turned down 2,000 shells offered at two dollars each. Bruce. Lincoln and the Tools of War. 182.Books.Google.com.
45 Germany first bombed London on 24 August 1940, reputedly a mistake by pilots targeting the Thames estuary. A total of 95 Royal Air Force bombers retaliated the next night with an assault on Templehof Airport in the center of Berlin: 81 airplanes dropped bombs in and around the city. Hitler ordered the Blitz in response. “On Saturday 7 September 1940, 348 German bombers escorted by 617 fighters attacked London in the late afternoon, forming a 20 mile wide block of aircraft filling 800 square miles of sky. 448 people were killed. London was bombed every day or night from 7 September until 2 November,” the Museum of London records. The Blitz itself, the most intense period of the attack, is considered to have ended on 11 May 1941. Museum of London. “The Big Story (Facts & Figures).” Remembering the Blitz. 19 April 2005:MuseumOfLondon.org.uk. R.A.F. retaliation: Norman Moss. Nineteen Weeks: America, Britain, and the Fateful Summer of 1940. 2003 rpt. 2004: Mariner Books. 295-96. Books.Google.com. See Jonathan Glover. “Bombing.” Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century. 2001: Yale University Press. 70-71.
The Germans and Japanese also had thickened-fuel bombs but did not use them to a great extent, according to a C.W.S. history. The German bomb carried TNT and 30 pounds of benzene thickened with rubber. Leo P. Brophy, Wyndham D. Miles and Rexmond C. Cochrane. “The Chemical Warfare Service: From Laboratory to Field.” 2 United States Army in World War II: The Technical Services. 1959: Center of Military History, United States Army. 172. The Japanese device carried 35 pounds of white phosphorus and other chemicals packed with rubber pellets one inch long and one inch in diameter. An explosive charge in the nose could scatter the flaming pellets up to 150 feet. Fisher. Incendiary Warfare. 49.
54 Chronicler Frank Howard wrote on 25 January 1944: “Standard Oil Development Company is the central technical organization of Standard Oil Co. (New Jersey) interests. It was an outgrowth of World War I. That struggle convinced the directors of the 50-year-old Standard Oil Co. that they were entering a new age in which rapid and efficient technical progress would be necessary for survival. So, in 1919, there was set up at Bayway, N. J., the first permanent industrial unit of its kind in the world—a complete technical development organization to serve the oil industry and to maintain for Jersey Standard a leading place in the industry’s technical advance. The organization started with about 30 men, but with a complete plan and a definite objective, has expanded through the intervening years to approximately 2,000 employees.” Frank Howard. “The Standard Oil Development Company and Its Contribution to Chemical Technology.” 1944: 22 Chemical and Engineering News 2, 98. ACS.org.
2. Anonymous Research No. 4
1 $359,125 in 1941 dollars: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Inflation Calculator.” 2009:BLS.gov. See Contract OEMsr-179. U.S. O.S.R.D. N.D.R.C. Summary Technical Report of Division 11. Vol. 3. 192.
3 Vulcanized rubber is raw rubber treated with sulphur or other chemicals at high heat to make it more durable.
9 M-47 bombs filled with a rubber-gasoline mixture were used by the U.S. to attack the Ploesti oilfields in Romania in August 1943, but this was a rare use of the weapon. The New Yorker. “Goop and Roe.” 19 May 1945: The New Yorker. Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3 Box 4. “Scrapbook 1937-1960.” No page number.
20 Doctors reported in 1967 that a sample of napalm made in 1942 and preserved by Fieser at his Harvard office for 25 years was in “perfect condition.” Peter Reich and Victor W. Sidel. “Current Concepts: Napalm.” 13 July 1967: 277 The New England Journal of Medicine 2: 86.
27 Hottel was less enthusiastic: “Bomb sighting wasn’t good and, worst of all, the percentage coverage of a rural area with combustible stuff is minute — it’s only two or three percent! It’s not a city; it’s not even a town. It’s the country. Once in a while a rail fence would catch fire, once a barn caught fire, and once we had a bomb actually land in a banker’s prior home, and one in the churchyard. The assessment was very indifferent.” Bohning. “Interview with Hoyt C. Hottel.” 23.
29 Incendiary weapons are most effective only if they start fires at the bottom of buildings because of the properties of fire. See U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use. 23: 78.
Hottel asserted experimenters threw firebombs into bedrooms from a crane.
30 Researchers eventually determined that 500-pound clusters of 38 M-69 bombs maximized damage and minimized risks to other bombers. Workers in a factory at Mays Landing, New Jersey, 25 miles miles northeast of Atlantic City, assembled the cluster bombs. Conus Video. “M-69 Incendiary Bomb.” 1 January 1945: Footage.net. ACT04305. See airboyd. “M-69 Incendiary Bomb.” 12 December 2011: YouTube.com. See also New York Times. “FIRE BOMBS IDENTIFIED; Incendiaries Dropped on Tokyo Are Mays Landing Product.” 16 March 1945: NYTimes.com.
32 Britain had a similar program called Operation Outward: 99,142 balloons with long trigger wires attacked Germany from 1942-44: 53,543 armed with incendiaries and the rest with explosives. A head-on train collision in neutral Sweden, caused by a balloon that knocked out lighting on the railroad, appears to have been the most consequential result of the program. Peebles. The Moby Dick Project. 52-57.
37 The Japanese Village not longer exists although an observation bunker remains near the site. The German Village is “currently in a deteriorated state, but is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places,” according to Dugway administrators. U.S. Army, Dugway Proving Ground. “German Village.” No Date: Dugway.Army.mil.
British experimenters built a German village in 1943 similar to that constructed in Utah, and later added a Japanese equivalent, but had less success with napalm. A meeting between specialists from the two countries in November 1944 concluded the U.S. results for “German” dwellings at Dugway may have been too favorable because of some lucky strikes, and the “Japanese” results in the U.K. perhaps too pessimistic because of the relatively high humidity in Britain, use of wood that was relatively hard to burn, and differences in construction. Stevenson. “Incendiary Bombs.” Chemistry. W. A. Noyes, ed. 393-94. See Baxter. Scientists Against Time. 292. See also Bohning. “Interview with Hoyt C. Hottel.” 31. (G. I. Finch, president of the civilian British Zoroastrian Society of incendiary experts was a particularly vociferous critic of U.S. results. He had invented a 45-pound incendiary bomb that was a rival to napalm. Hottel described it as “in effect a traveling motor-driven oil burner.”)
To resolve the debate, in late 1944 technicians built a massive humidity-controlled chamber to store wood and a model Japanese room furnished with tatami mats, shoji screens, low table and cushions, storage chest, and bedding at Edgewood Arsenal. Workmen could remove panels from the humidity-controlled chamber and slide them into the model in eight minutes to allow them to be burned with a known moisture content. Bohning. “Interview with Hoyt C. Hottel.” 31. Experiments in early 1945 supported the Utah findings about the efficacy of napalm. News of the 9 March attack on Tokyo ended the need for further research. U.S. O.S.R.D. N.D.R.C. Summary Technical Report of Division 11. Vol. 3. 77-80: Figures 25-27.. See Kerr. Flames Over Tokyo. 52-54.
38 A batch of pocket incendiaries shipped from the manufacturer Standard Pyroxoloid corporation in western Massachusetts to Washington D.C. accidentally went off in the Boston South Station railroad station and “destroyed a certain amount of property in the baggage room,” according to Fieser. Fieser. The Scientific Method. 74-75.
39 There does not appear to be any evidence the sabotage napalm pellet was used during the war.
40 Napalm “was discovered by a Harvard Professor, Louis F. Fieser, who was merely looking for some way of burning the crabgrass out of his lawn,” The New Yorker confirmed in May. The New Yorker. “Goop and Roe.” 19 May 1945: The New Yorker. Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3 Box 4. “Scrapbook 1937-1960” No page number. The chemist “was looking for an effective way to burn noxious weeds from his lawn,” Col. William A. Copthrone, the chief chemical officer on MacArthur’s staff, told the AP in September. Associated Press. “Flame Considered Best Weapon Used in Pacific.” 24 September 1945: Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3 Box 4. “Scrapbook 1937-1960.” No page number. See New York Times. “Flame Held Vital Arm: Colonel Calls It Second Only to Atomic Bomb.” 25 September 1945: NYTimes.com.
Fieser’s garden was labeled a “Belmont Beaty Spot” and featured in a photograph published in the town newspaper. No date: no publication. Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3 Box 4. “Scrapbook 1937-1960.” No page number.
3. American Kamikazes: Suicide Bomber Bats
1 For an image of the system, demonstrated on the Mall in Washington D.C. at a 1939 postmasters meeting, see Trimble and Lewis. “Lytle S. Adams.” 29.2 Technology and Culture. 261. April 1988: JSTOR.org.
2 Chinese warriors had devised similar “rat bomb” incendiary weapons centuries earlier: they covered the rodents in flammable materials, packed them in bags, lit the sacks and hurled them over walls onto their enemies. The bags, nicknamed “watermelon bombs,” burst on impact and scattered blazing rats who spread the fire. Alfred W. Crosby. Throwing Fire: Projectile Technology Through History. 2002: Cambridge University Press. 101.
None of the participants expressed any concern about the death of the bats. Couffer. Bat Bomb. 8-9.
4 Stevenson acknowledged damage would be indiscriminate. “It cannot conceivably have any value as an incendiary for use against purely military objectives, as the chances are that the bats would seek the countryside rather than urban districts.” Andrew Carroll, Ed. Behind the Lines: Powerful and Revealing American and Foreign War Letters and One Man’s Search to Find Them. 2005: Simon & Schuster. 271-72. Books.Google.com.
6 Company founder Gilbert was known as “the man who saved Christmas” because he helped convince war regulators not to ban toy production in 1918. A. C. Gilbert Heritage Society. “A. C. Gilbert Company History.” No Date:ACGilbertHeritageSociety.com.
18 Conversion from 1944 dollars: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Inflation Calculator.” 2009: BLS.gov.
4. We’ll Fight Mercilessly
1 Major Harold Adams of the U.S. Corps of Engineers invented a steam-driven fire tank in World War I and a prototype was shipped to Chaumont, France for review by U.S. General Pershing. All went well until a C.W.S. representative demonstrated he could crawl on hands and knees, shielded from the view of the tank’s crew by the glare of the fire stream, to within six feet of the tank — a location from which it could be destroyed with relative ease. Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Amos A. Fries to Maj. Gen. Wm. N. Porter, C.W.S., 12 September 1942. Records of the Chief, C.W.S., RG 175, Box 234. In Mountcastle. Flame On! 17.
7 A later M2 version, completed in February 1944, weighed almost 70 pounds but could be operated by a single soldier. Chemical Corps Association. The Chemical Warfare Service in World War II. 183.
Standard Oil also produced prototypes for a tank-mounted napalm flamethrowers and a ship-mounted flamethrower; 20 of the latter saw action in the invasion of Peleliu. Baxter. Scientists Against Time. 295-96.
15 The Army built special flamethrower training centers on Oahu in Hawaii, at Oro Bay on New Guinea and, later, at Manila after experience on Guadalcanal demonstrated the importance of proper training with the equipment. Chemical Corps Association. The Chemical Warfare Service in World War II. 182, 190. A U.S. division in World War II generally contained 10-15,000 men.
17 “In my view it was the flame tank more than any other supporting arm that won this battle,” said Frank C. Caldwell, a company commander in the 26th Marines on Iwo Jima. Joseph H. Alexander. Closing In: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima. 1994 transcribed and reformatted Emily Brickhouse: Marine Corps Historical Center. 37. IBiblio.org. See Chris Bishop, ed. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,500 Weapons Systems, Including Tanks, Small Arms, Warplanes, Artillery, Ships and Submarines. 2002: Metrobooks. 269. Books.Google.com.The Army ordered 620 fire tanks from domestic manufacturers in 1944, but the war ended before they could be deployed. Baxter. Scientists Against Time. 296. Ship-mounted flamethrowers were less popular than either portable or mechanized devices because the range of the weapons was short relative to the distance to shore: only a few dozen were produced; 20, mounted in amphibious cargo tractors, saw action in the battle of Peleliu from September to November 1944. See Mountcastle. Flame On! 97-100. For a general discussion of U.S. flame weapon use in Europe compared to Asia see Kleber and Birdsell. United States Army in World War II. 612-13. In 1944, British engineers persuaded U.S. designers to build an airplane that could shoot napalm. “The unit finally developed had a capacity of 200 gallons which was discharged in one shot through a nozzle projecting from beneath the plane. The load of fuel was discharged in a few seconds by the pressure produced by burning powder,” C.W.S. engineer Hollingsworth recounted. “The effect was spectacular to say the least. During the discharge the rear of the plane appeared to be in flames. Although a considerable portion of the fuel reached the ground before being burned, the whole idea was quickly dropped in favor of the firebomb.” E.W. Hollingsworth. “Use of thickened gasoline in warfare.” June 1951: 4 Armed Forces Chemical Journal 6: 32.
19 U.S. forces dropped 1,054,200 gallons of napalm on Luzon island in the Philippines alone, of which an estimated 989,000 gallons was effectively placed on targets. Kleber and Birdsell. United States Army in World War II. 634.
21 U.S. techniques for using napalm in combat improved over time. After disappointing results against fortifications on Iwo Jima, for example, pilots who attacked Okinawa learned to drop unignited napalm on caves, allow it to drip into air shafts and gun emplacements, then light it on a later pass. Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces, Mid-Pacific. History of Chemical Warfare in the Middle Pacific, 7 December 1941-2 September 1945. Vol. 4. Annex 11g. 20-21. In Mountcastle. Flame On! 109. U.S. commanders on Okinawa developed “blowtorch and corkscrew” tactics to clear caves: “gasoline and flamethrower napalm was brought up in drums, poured into the upper openings, and ignited with a phosphorus grenade.” George Feifer.The Battle of Okinawa: The Blood and the Bomb. 2001: Globe Pequot. 308.
24 Soviet ground forces gutted the building when they conquered the city in 1945. Corbis-Bettman Archive. “The Reich Chancellory After Bombing: Hitler’s personal headquarters, the Reich Chancellory, as it looked after the Soviet invasion of Berlin in May of 1945.” May 1945: CorbisImages.com.
25 The “area” approach followed precepts elucidated by Italian air general Giulio Douhet, who predicted in 1921 that bombers would aim at comprehensive destruction of cities. Giulio Douhet. The Command of the Air. 1921 Dino Ferrari trans. 1942: Coward-McCann. Former, and future, British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, then Conservative Party leader, was unambiguous at the 1932 League of Nations disarmament conference: “I think it is well also for the man on the street to realize there is no power on earth that can protect him from bombing, whatever people may tell him. The bomber will always get through.” Charles A. Selden. “SIGN URGES EUROPE TO BAN USE OF FORCE; British Foreign Secretary Says Pledge Is Vital if Germany Gets Equality Status. ARMS PARLEY TO GET PLAN New Convention, He informs the House of Commons, Would Limit Armaments of All. BALDWIN SEES AIR PERILS Warns That in Next War Nothing Can Protect Women and Children From Bombers’ Attacks.” 11 November 1932: NYTimes.com. For a historical overview of the theory of strategic bombing to 1944 see Kenneth P. Werrell. Blankets of Fire: U.S. Bombers Over Japan during World War II. 1996: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1-35.
British bombing commander Arthur Harris wrote in his memoir: “No air raid ever known before had been so terrible as that which Hamburg had endured; the second largest city in Germany, with a population of nearly 2,000,000, had been wiped out in three nights.” He added, “It is not surprising that the disaster of Hamburg terrified the German war leaders.” Harris reported that German armaments minister Albert Speer said in his July 1945 post-war interrogation: “We were of the opinion that a rapid repetition of this type of attack upon another six German towns would inevitably cripple the will to sustain armament manufacture and war production. It was I who first verbally reported to the Fuehrer at that time that a continuation of these attacks might bring about a rapid end to the war.” Arthur Harris. Bomber Offensive. 1947: Collins. 176. “Consider Boston and the 40-off cities and towns in the Boston metropolitan area,” Horatio Bond, Chief Engineer of the U.S. National Fire Protection Association, based in Boston, wrote in 1946, “A 51 per cent level of destruction in Metropolitan Boston would just about be achieved if every single building in the corporate limits of Boston Proper had been destroyed. Take all of the City of Boston Proper away, and you get a pretty good idea of what Hamburg looked like after the Royal Air Forces got through with it in the summer of 1943.” Horatio Bond. “The Fire Damage Caused by Air Attacks.” Bond, ed. Fire and the Air War. 5.
26 British bombers attacked at night on 13-14 February 1945, which created the firestorm that destroyed the city. U.S. airplanes bombed during the day on the 14th and 15th. “According to the 1944 handbook of the German Army High Command’s Weapon Office, the city of Dresden contained 127 factories that had been assigned their own three-letter manufacturing codes …. Dresden was ranked high among the Reich’s wartime industrial centers.” Frederick Taylor.Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945. 2004: HarperCollins. 148. (See also 416-17, and generally Chapter 13, “A City of No Military or Industrial Importance?” 148-65.) “ Damage from U.S. bombers on the 14th was less than it might have been because the First Bombardment Wing, some 137 aircraft that comprised about one-third of the First Division of the Eighth Air Force, got lost and dropped their bombs on Prague — another architecturally impressive city with a river at its center — by mistake. Taylor. Dresden. 321-22, 332. The second American raid, on the 15th, was even less effective. Taylor. Dresden.341 (“This was the least successful of all the American attacks on Dresden.”) The Eighth Air Force First Division’s commander, in an after-action report dated 25 February on the 14 February bombardment, reported his instructions as “Primary Target — visual — center of built up area Dresden. Secondary Target — Visual — M/Y [Marshaling Yards] Chemnitz H2X [radar] — Center of Dresden Last Resort — Any military objective positively identified as being in Germany and east of the current [Russian front] bomb line.” Taylor. Dresden. 318. U.S. intelligence concluded the Valentine’s Day attack produced “unobserved to fair results.” Taylor. Dresden. 326.
27 The Prime Minister’s position appears to have changed from the previous summer when, in response to German V-1 rocket attacks on London after D-Day he expressed a desire to “drench the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany [with poison gas] in such a way that most of the population would be requiring constant medical attention.” In a memo to his military staff he added, “It is absurd to consider morality on this topic when everybody used it in the last war without a word of complaint from the moralists or the Church. On the other hand, in the last war the bombing of open cities was regarded as forbidden. Now everybody does it as a matter of course. It is simply a question of fashion changing as she does between long and short skirts for women.” Gas was appropriate, Churchill wrote, if “it [is] life or death for us, or [if] it would shorten the war by a year.” He concluded, “I want a cold-blooded calculation made as to how it would pay us to use poison gas. … I want the matter studied in cold blood by sensible people and not by that particular set of psalm-singing uniformed defeatists which one runs across now here now there.” After the review concluded that British gas attacks would divert aircraft from more valuable attacks against industrial targets and invite retaliation, he wrote, “Clearly I cannot make head against the parsons and the warriors at the same time.” Barton J. Bernstein. “Why We Didn’t Use Poison Gas in World War II.” August-September 1985: AmericanHeritage.com. See Barton J. Bernstein. “Churchill’s Secret Biological Weapons.” Jan/Feb 1987: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 49. Books.Google.com.
Harris echoed a comment ascribed to the former German chancellor Otto von Bismarck: “The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.”
The last bombing assault on Dresden took place on 17 April when almost 600 U.S. bombers completed destruction of the railroad station and surrounding yards — the last rail connection between the north and southern parts of Germany still under Nazi control — with about 1,500 tons of high explosives. Taylor. Dresden.
28 U.S. assertions about the accuracy of its daylight high-altitude strategy compared to the night missions of the British may have been misplaced. “Examination of the data reveals that, when [British] Bomber Command and the USAAF [U.S. Army Air Force] were mature, full-strength forces, and when Bomber Command could be enticed away from its area offensive, the difference in their bombing accuracy was not as great as generally has been held to have been the case,” W. Hays Parks wrote in a comprehensive assessment. W. Hays Parks. “‘Precision’ and ‘Area’ Bombing: Who Did Which, and When?” March 1995: 18 Journal of Strategic Studies 1. 145-74. 168. Parks, who served as a Marine Corps Colonel, was a member of U.S. C.C.W. conference delegations; Special Assistant for Law of War Matters in the Office of The Judge Advocate General of the Army from 1979 to 2003; and later the Senior Associate Deputy General Counsel, International Affairs Division, in the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense. He held the Charles H. Stockton Chair in International Law at the U.S. Naval War College from 1984-85, and was an adjunct faculty member at the George Washington School of Law from 1988 to 1997 and subsequently at the Washington College of Law at American University.
33 The Survey, established by the Secretary of War pursuant to a directive from President Roosevelt and inspired by a similar review of the bombing campaign against Germany, was conducted by 300 civilians, 350 officers and 500 enlisted men. This team reviewed the principal surviving Japanese records and interrogated top Army and Navy officers, government officials, industrialists, political leaders, and many hundreds of their subordinates throughout Japan to produce a definitive accounting. United States Strategic Bombing Survey. Summary Report (Pacific War). iii. IBiblio.org.
38 LeMay’s command also attacked Nanking with incendiary weapons, and Americans used napalm “firebombs” — barrel bombs filled in the field — against several other Chinese cities, and in Burma. See Carter and Mueller. Combat Chronology, 1941-1945. Books.Google.com.
52 “In Japan they were set up like this: they’d have a factory; and then the families, in their homes throughout the area, would manufacture small parts,” LeMay asserted. “All you had to do was visit one of those targets after we’d roasted it, and see the ruins of a multitude of tiny houses, with a drill press sticking up through the wreckage of every home” he explained. LeMay with Kantor. Mission With LeMay. 384. The Strategic Bombing Survey concluded differently on the basis of its extensive post-war investigations in Japan: “By 1944 the Japanese had almost eliminated home industry in their war economy.” United States Strategic Bombing Survey. Summary Report (Pacific War). 24. IBiblio.org.
Mobilizations grew more all-encompassing as the war continued. On 19 March 1945, ten days after the Tokyo attack, the Japanese cabinet ordered all schools closed and all students over age six conscripted into a “students’ corps to participate actively in the production of foodstuffs, the production of munitions, air defense, important research works and other undertakings that are immediately and directly concerned with the prosecution of the war.” New York Times. “Japan to Shut Schools for a Year; All Over 6 Will Be Put in War Work.” 19 March 1945: NYTimes.com. On 22 May, Domei, the Japanese news agency, reported that the country had mobilized 20 million students to be trained for “active combat duties,” and formed a separate “agrarian militia” of farmers aged 14 and above. Associated Press. “JAPAN’S STUDENTS TO MEET INVASION; 20,000,000 Are Mobilized — Farmers Also Ordered to Prepare to Fight.” 21 May 1945: NYTimes.com.
53 “Actually, I think it’s more immoral to use less force than necessary, than it is to use more. If you use less force, you kill off more of humanity in the long run, because you are merely protracting the struggle,” he wrote. LeMay with Kantor. Mission With LeMay. 382.
Harris, who implemented Britain’s strategy of area bombardments and was one of its most vigorous proponents, was one of a very few senior British leaders not elevated to the peerage, the highest ranks of the U.K.’s nobility, after the war, perhaps because of post-war discomfort with the policy. In 1953, he was made the 1st Baronet of Chipping Wycombe, a lesser hereditary title, and was formally known as “Sir Arthur Harris GCB, OBE, AFC.” Jonathon Falconer. The Bomber Command Handbook 1939-1945. 2003: Sutton Publishing Ltd. RAF.mod.uk. 1st Baronet: C. Peter Chen. 27 June 2010: World War II Database. WWIIDB.com
5. The American Century
1 Tokyo was the largest city in the world before World War II, but by March 1945 over 1.7 million residents had been called to military service or evacuated. Tokyo Metropolitan Government. “Trends in Population in Tokyo and Gross Metropolitan Product.” Overview of Tokyo. 2008: Tokyo.jp.
14 “One ‘lucky’ crew was caught in a thermal over Kawasaki [Greater Tokyo]. The plane did a complete loop with crew and gear on the ceiling, then righted itself 200 feet above Tokyo Bay, after diving almost 12,000 feet. They got away over the surface of the water before any Jap gunners figured out what a B-29 was doing down there.” Robert Nathans. “Making the Fires that Beat Japan.” Fire and the Air War: A compilation of expert observations on fires of the war set by incendiaries and the atomic bombs, wartime fire fighting, and the work of the fire protection engineers who helped plan the destruction of enemy cities and industrial plants. Horatio Bond, ed. 1946: National Fire Protection Association International. 145-46.HathiTrust.org.
26 Several subsequent attacks exceeded the tonnage of the 9 March raid on Tokyo, but none surpassed its carnage. On May 26, 464 airplanes dropped 3,262 tons of incendiaries and explosives on Tokyo, nearly double the 9 March total, and burned 20 square miles of the city including the imperial palace: more than double the eight square miles incinerated on the 9th. Kerr. Flames over Tokyo. 250-51.
28 Kyoto was spared at the order of Secretary of War Stimson because of its unique cultural and historical value; four substantial cities were initially reserved from napalm attacks to preserve them as virgin targets for atomic attack — which would allow more accurate assessment of the Manhattan Project’s product. Napalm burned the last two after atom bombs annihilated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For comparison, the 21 million people who lived in the incinerated Japanese conurbations was about the same as the population of the 12 largest U.S. metropolises at the time: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Baltimore, St. Louis, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Infoplease. “Population of the 20 Largest U.S. Cities, 1900–2005.” 2007: Pearson Education Inc. Infoplease.com.Kerr lists 67 major cities attacked with incendiaries. Kerr. “Appendix E: Destruction Inflicted on 67 Japanese Cities 1944-45.” Flames Over Tokyo. 337-39.
The 1972 U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons calculated the following totals: “Around 100,000 tons of bombs were dropped on 60 Japanese towns and cities, practically all of them incendiaries. Eighty percent by weight of the incendiaries were napalm bombs, the remainder magnesium or thermate. The air raids killed 260,000 people and injured another 412,000. Nearly two and a quarter million homes were destroyed, and 9.2 million people left homeless. In Germany, 1.35 million tons of bombs were dropped on population centers, 49 towns and cities being singled out for large-scale attack. Although less than a quarter of the bombs were incendiaries, more than three quarters of the resultant civilian casualties were due to fire. There are estimated to have been 1.4 million civilian air-raid casualties in Germany, of whom 600,000 died. Civilian air-raid casualties in the United Kingdom amounted to 147,000, including 61,000 dead.” U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use. 44-45: 154.
Fire attacks on other cities produced stories similar to those from Tokyo. In Osaka, for example, 13-year-old Takako Oshima remembered the following: “She got up and thought she had stepped on a log, but knew there shouldn’t have been a log there. Her feet were so very hot; when she looked down at her right foot, it was burning. In fact, almost her whole body was on fire. … [S]he jumped into the water cistern …. That put out the fire. She noticed that the skin of her right hand was hanging down in shreds, so she stuffed her hand back together. She began shouting and crying, ‘Mama, Mama, Mama.’” She found her seven-year-old brother. “Saburo was so badly burned all over his body that Takako did not recognize him. He looked like a little pig that had been cooked. ‘Aren’t you Saburo?’ she asked him. He had changed so much.” The boy was burned over 90 percent of his body, and died three days later. Hoyt. Inferno. 80-1.
29 Torture and execution was the fate of many captured U.S. airmen. Historian Gavan Daws records deaths by rifle, bayonet, decapitation, beating, fire, and boiling water, among other devices. Professors at Kyushu Imperial University dissected eight living crewmen “in a dirty room with a tin table.” After a 24 May incendiary attack on Tokyo by 558 airplanes that burned 5.3 square miles of the capital, 62 captured U.S. aviators, many former B-29 crew members, perished in a Tokyo military prison when guards neglected to release them. Gavan Daws. Prisoners of the Japanese. 1994: William Morrow. 322, 320. See James Bradley. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage. 2003: Little, Brown. The prison commander was convicted of war crimes when American conquerors learned all 400 Japanese inmates survived. Kerr. Flames over Tokyo. 250-51.
30 Suzuki survived a last-minute assassination attempt by fanatical military officers.
31 In Germany, “The photo studies of damage indicated that, ton for ton, incendiaries were 4.8 times as effective as high explosive bombs on residence areas and against the smaller industrial and mercantile properties,” Horatio Bond wrote in 1946. Horatio Bond. “The Fire Attacks on German Cities.” Bond, ed. Fire and the Air War. 80.
“[I]n Japan it was found that incendiaries had been twelve times as destructive as high-explosive bombs against readily-combustible targets, and 1.5 times as effective against fire-resistant targets,” the 1972 U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons observed. U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use. 45: 155. See Table “Efforts and Results.” U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. “The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the Official Report.” Bond, ed. Fire and the Air War. 233.
”The M-47 incendiary weighing 70 pounds was twelve times as effective, bomb for bomb, as the 500-pound HE [High Explosive] bomb against targets classified as readily inflammable, and one and a half times as effective against targets classified as fire-resistant. Vannevar Bush and J. B. Conant. “NDRC Forward.” U.S. O.S.R.D. N.D.R.C. Summary Technical Report of Division 11. Vol. 3. v.
General Arnold wrote of the atomic bombs that they “did not cause the defeat of Japan, however large a part they may have played in assisting the Japanese decision to surrender.” Herman S. Wolk. Strategic Bombing: The American Experience.1981: MA/AH Publishing, Kansas State University. At note 57, no page number.
Bush may have felt some measure of personal responsibility for napalm. His friend, scientist and war researcher Merle Tuve, wrote “For years after the war Van Bush would wake up screaming in the night because … he burned Tokyo. … The proximity fuze didn’t bother him badly. Even the atomic bomb didn’t bother him as much as jellied gasoline. Oh, yes, we all suffer scars you know, and I don’t know how we’d help it.” M. Tuve OH. May 1967: American Institute of Physics. 39. In G. Pascal Zachary. Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century. 1997: The Free Press. 342.
$20 billion in 1996 is equal to $27.5 billion in 2009. U.S. Department of Labor. “Inflation Calculator.” BLS.gov. The destructive power of hydrogen bombs, which developed from insights gained during the Manhattan Project, is orders of magnitude greater than that of the atomic weapons used against Japan. See Richard Rhodes. Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. 1995: Simon & Schuster.
Walter Mondale became the first U.S. Ambassador to attend a memorial service for the 9 March firebomb attack on Tokyo when he attended a 50th anniversary ceremony in 1995. “Whatever our differences in the war, there’s no joy in hurting people or in losing lives, or bloodshed,” he said. New York Times. “Bombing of Tokyo Marked by Mondale.” 11 March 1995:NYTimes.com.
8 In June 1968, Israel paid $3.3 million to the families of the deceased sailors, and $3.6 million to the families of those it wounded. In December 1980, the country paid $6 million to the U.S. Navy for damage to the Liberty, in three equal payments. Bernard Gwertzman. “Israeli Payment to Close the Book On ‘67 Attack on U.S. Navy Vessel; Israel Accepts Responsibility Book Is Closed on ‘67 Israeli Attack.” 19 December 1980: NYTimes.com. See Israel Defense Forces History Department, Research and Instruction Branch. “The Attack on the ‘Liberty’ Incident, June 8 1967.” June 1982. 30-34.TheLibertyIncident.com.
Controversy about whether the attack was accidental or intentional started in 1967 and continues to the present, despite findings from several official investigations that had judged the attack accidental. Associated Press. “Israel Accused at Hearing on U.S. Ship.” 18 June 1967: NYTimes.com. Fred Farrar. “U.S. Silent on Details in Ship Attack.” 15 June 1967: The Chicago Tribune. 16. John Crewdson. “New revelations in attack on American spy ship. Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn’t tell full story of deadly ‘67 incident.” 2 October 2007: ChicagoTribune.com. Israel has asserted that if it had intended to sink the ship, it would have done so. Israel Defense Forces History Department, Research and Instruction Branch. “The Attack on the ‘Liberty’ Incident, June 8 1967.” June 1982. 33-34. TheLibertyIncident.com. See Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). “USS Liberty.” 2007: SixDayWar.org. Journalists and others have variously speculated that the attack was to screen Israeli victories from the world until they were a fait accompli (Israel Defense Forces History Department, Research and Instruction Branch. “The Attack on the ‘Liberty’ Incident, June 8 1967.” June 1982. 34. TheLibertyIncident.com); prevent the U.S. from seeing that Israel was the aggressor in the war (Ennes.Assault on the Liberty. 212); hide a pending attack on the Golan Heights (Christopher Mitchell, Dir. USS Liberty: Dead in the Water.1 October 2002: BBC.com View at: Video.Google.com.); and cover up a massacre of Egyptian prisoners by Israeli soldiers at the Sinai town of El Arish (James Bamford. Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency. 2002: Anchor. 214. Excerpted at James Bamford. “USS Liberty: Cover Up.” 13 August 2001: HNN.com.)
6. Freedom’s Furnace
2 As the U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons observed in 1972 of massive incendiary raids against cities, “The use of incendiary weapons on the scale of the major incendiary air raids of the Second World War is, in economic terms, an extremely costly undertaking. … The poorer nations of the world are therefore more likely to be the recipients of such attacks than the executors, and may suffer irremediable economic hardship from their consequences.” U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use. 51: 178.
3 Jones agrees napalm was used in 1948, but notes the “Greek official history of the war … does not mention napalm” in that year. He asserts the incendiary was used most extensively in the Torch “B” attack on in the Vitsi range. Jones. “A New Kind of War.” 308 n. 10. A cease fire was declared on 16 October 1949. Truman reported victory to Congress in November.
6 “Napalm seldom destroyed a tank by the burst of flame itself. But it did set off chain events that often led to the complete destruction of the tank. The splashing napalm on the bogie wheels set the rubber tires on fire, it heated ammunition to the point where it detonated inside the tank, or it set fuel on fire, and sometimes it splashed into the air intake vents and started fires inside the tank.” Roy E. Appleman. South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu (June-November 1950). 1961: Government Printing Office. 379 History.Army.mil.
7 B-29s dropped 866,914 gallons of napalm between June and late October 1950. Bruce Cumings. “The Roaring of the Cataract 1947-1950.” 2 The Origins of the Korean War. 1990: Princeton University Press. 707.
15 Napalm was often deployed by U.S. ground troops in Korea to aid defense. “Mines were laid and drums of gasoline and napalm, which could be triggered by an electric contact, were added to the minefields,” wrote senior U.S. general Matthew Ridgway. Matthew B. Ridgway. The Korean War. 1967: Doubleday & Company. 174. “You rig some TNT or a mortar shell as a charge, and you run your wires back inside the perimeter so you can set off the drums. When one of those drums blew up it would turn into a mass of flames thirty or forty yards wide,” recalled infantryman Ted White. Ted White in Rudy Tomedi. No Bugles, No Drums: An Oral History of the Korean War. 1994: John Wiley & Sons. 126. Production of napalm for U.S. use in Korea, ironically, provided stimulus for the post-war Japanese economy. Lumsden. Incendiary Weapons. 43 n. 26.
“The tactic worked: “The Chinese offensive of February 1951 broke like a wave on the rock of Chipyong [Jipyeong-ri],” explained historian Rudy Tomedi. Tomedi. No Bugles, No Drums. 123.
20 The air force was not permitted to accomplish this objective initially because of a desire on the part of the U.S. Joint Chiefs to avoid civilian casualties, O’Donnell continued, but “we did it all later anyhow. … [T]he entire peninsula is just a terrible mess. Everything is destroyed. There is nothing standing worthy of the name. … Just before the Chinese came in [October 1950] we were grounded. There were no more targets in Korea.” Lumsden. Incendiary Weapons. 45.
24 “After this pounding P’yongyang possessed too few worthwhile targets to warrant major strikes for a while,” an official Army history reported after the 11 July attack. Walter G. Hermes. United States Army in the Korean War: Truce Tent and Fighting Front. 1966: Government Printing Office. 324-25. See Futrell. The United States Air Force in Korea. 483, 489.
Attacks in Korea were significantly smaller than in Japan. The January 1951 bombardments of Pyongyang involved 60-63 airplanes. Futrell. The United States Air Force in Korea. 278. A May 1951 attack on the city of Sinuiju with 312 Allied planes was one of the largest of the war. George Barrett. “Biggest U. N. Korea Air Blow Wipes Out Foe’s Supply Base; Allied Fighter-Bombers’ All-Day Blasting of Suan, Near North’s Capital of Pyongyang, Seen Also as ‘Warning’ to Communists.” 9 May 1952:NYTimes.com.
News of urban incendiary bombardments was not always reported by U.S. officers. In a November 1952 article for the Army Combat Forces Journal, Chief Chemical officer E. F. Bullene wrote that napalm’s “use in the long-range bombing of North Korea’s industries and supply communications has been negligible. The cities of North Korea are highly inflammable and would make ideal incendiary targets. Docks, supply bases, railroad yards, and bridges, however, are legitimate targets …” E. F. Bullene. “It’s not new but Napalm is an all-purpose WONDER WEAPON.” November 1952: United States Army Combat Forces Journal. 28.
25 The 1972 U.N. experts group says 32,315 tons was dropped. U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use. 47: 164. See Donald D. Bode. “Napalm Bombs in Korea.” In John G. Westover. Combat Support in Korea. 1987 rpt. 1990: Center of Military History. 81-82. History.Army.mil.
Mixing stations on aircraft carriers and local bases produced much of the gel used in Korea. “There’s no long assembly line at the factory, and no long supply line to the carrier. Napalm is concocted on board by crewmen who mix and stir the gasoline and jell [chemicals], then pour it into the 110- or 256-gallon tanks. After four hours of setting, it’s ready. A simple fuse or phosphorus relay is screwed into the tank’s gas lead and the completed bomb is ready,” the Navy’s All Hands magazine reported in April 1951. A shot list for a U.S. Air Force film produced the same year included the following: “[CU] mixer vat for Napalm mixture. 4) CU dry Napalm mix being mixed with 72 octane gas. 5) MS high angle looking down on mixing machine showing the tanks of gas with tubes running from same to mixing vat. Good coverage of the Napalm mixing area showing the old and new methods of mixing Napalm. 6) CU enlisted men working at various duties in the area, some pouring the dry mixtures, others pouring gas, others using air hose to mix the composition.” Department of Defense. Department of the Air Force. “The Napalm Comb Story.” 21 April 1951: Archives.gov.
29 It was “[A] macabre tribute to the totality of modern war,” Barrett concluded.
34. A Cuban Army spokesperson denied the attack at the time. New York Times. “CUBA DENIES BOMBING; Army Spokesman Disavows Air Attack on Rebels” 4 June 1957: NYTimes.com.
President John Kennedy denied a request on 17 April for U.S. air support for C.I.A. ships involved in the invasion, according to historian Tim Weiner. Tim Weiner. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. 2007 rpt. 2008: Anchor. 202. Exiles mounted several subsequent napalm attacks on Cuba. In April 1963 an M.I.T. student prepared four napalm bombs in Florida, flew to Cuba with three co-conspirators, dropped the firebombs and a 100-lb. shell filled with high explosives, and returned to the mainland. None of the devices exploded. United Press International. “Willing to go Back: Student, Pilot Tell of Cuba Bomb Raid.” 30 April 1963: Los Angles Times. 6. ProQuest.UMI.com. A similar operation in January 1965 attacked cane fields and a sugar mill with napalm. Associated Press. “Anti-Castro Exile Gives Details of Cuba Raid.” 19 January 1965:Los Angeles Times. 4. ProQuest.UMI.com.
36 Guatemalan sources alleged that U.S. forces operating from Panama flew into Guatemala on 15 September 1967, dropped napalm on guerrillas, and returned to Panama. Lumsden. Incendiary Weapons. 68. The Venezuelan Air Force in February 1969 stated that it had bombed guerrilla positions in the eastern part of the country; opposition politicians alleged napalm was used. Lumsden. Incendiary Weapons. 68.
37 Louis Fieser wrote that “after the war with the Arabs had broken out,” (presumably in 1956) he “supplied a formulation for preparing Napalm and a literature reference for identification of the igniting fluid as diethylzinc” to researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Fiser. The Scientific Method. 119.
40 Tunisia: Thomas F. Brady. “U.S. Helps Algeria Replant Forests; Surplus Grain Used to Pay Workers on Project.” 4 November 1962: NYTimes.com.
Tunisia became independent in 1956, but France retained a military base at Bizerte. In the summer of 1961, Tuinisians blockaded the base and demanded that its French inhabitants leave. The French reinforced their position with 7,000 paratroopers. Fighting followed that left about 700 Tunisians and 24 French troops dead. The French finally withdrew on 15 October 1963.
The British tested napalm bombs in Malaya, but decided chemical herbicides were more effective at destroying vegetation, and the dispersed small guerrilla units they faced precluded battlefield deployment.
41 See Larry Rohter. “Long After Guerrilla War, Survivors Demand Justice From Brazil’s Government.” 28 March 2004:NYTimes.com. (“To this day, those villagers remain uncompensated and barred from returning to their small farms, which the military summarily expropriated or bombed with napalm three decades ago.”)
7. Vietnam Syndrome
4 In late 1963, some U.S. troops began to mix charcoal into their napalm to extend the range of the burning gel. Soldiers called the result a “Madame Nhu cocktail” in honor of the wife of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem. Jerry Shank. “A Captain’s Last Letters from Vietnam.” 4 May 1964: U.S. News & World Report. In Seymour Melman, Dir. of Research, Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. In the Name of America: The conduct of the war in Vietnam by the armed forces of the United States as shown by published reports Compared with the Laws of War binding on the United States Government and on its citizens. January 1968: The Turnpike Press. 269.
6 Indian journal Economic and Political Weekly reported different totals, without specific attribution, in 1970: “In 1968 the Defence Department revealed the quantity of napalm used in Vietnam: 1963: 2,181 tons; 1964: 1,777 tons; 1965: 17,000 tons; 1966: 54,000 tons; and in 1968, it was estimated that the Air Force alone dropped more than 100,000 tonnes. (This does not include figures for Laos and Cambodia).” Navroz Mody “Chemical Warfare in Vietnam.” 13 June 1970: 5 Economic and Political Weekly 24. 948-49. JSTOR.org. See Clodfelter. Warfare and Armed Conflicts. 2nd Ed. 2002: McFarland & Co. 784. (“U.S. and South Vietnamese aircraft dropped 400,000 tons of napalm (making up 10% of all munitions expended by fighter-bomber sorties during the war). This compares to 14,000 tons dropped by American aircraft in the Second World War (two-thirds of it in the Pacific Theater) and 32,557 tons dumped out onto the hills of Korea, 1950-53.”). Gulf war deployments totaled around 11 tons.
9 “The firebomb is a cigar-shaped, thin-casing tank filled with thickened gasoline. Fighter, fighter-bomber, and other aircraft may carry from two to eleven bombs under the wings. On impact, the bomb produces a fireball and spreads thickened fuel over an elliptical area that varies with the speed of delivery and size of the bomb. The fireball is usually of short duration, about 5 seconds, with intense heat; the fuel may burn about five minutes, depending upon the type of impact, with reduced intensity,” Army Field Manual FM 20-33 explained in more detail. Department of the Army Headquarters. “Combat Flame Operations.” Field Manual FM 20-33. July 1970: Department of the Army. 7-1.
“An incendiary bomb is a cluster of small bomblets that contain incendiary material. The cluster opens at a predetermined altitude to spread the bomblets over the target area to start a number of individual fires,” the Manual continued. Department of the Army Headquarters. “Combat Flame Operations.” Army Field Manual FM 20-33. 1-7.
10 Parker also described the use of napalm fougass defenses. “The use of flame weapons in the final defensive perimeter was very effective. “Foogas” … was a 55-gallon barrel of napalm, equipped with an ignitor and burster, which would cover a twenty or thirty meter area in front of where it was emplaced.” Capt. Bob Parker. “Chemicals and People Sniffers.” Hunter-Killer Squadron: Aero-Weapons, Aero-Scouts, Aero-Rifles, Vietnam 1965-1972. 235. Similar defensive flame weapons were used by British, German and Russian forces in World War II and by U.S. soldiers in Korea, who filled them with napalm. H. Gilman Wing. “Flame.” July 1953: 7 Armed Forces Chemical Journal 1. 12.
11 U.S. and South Vietnamese efforts in 1965-67 to use napalm bombs to burn jungle proved unsuccessful. Large fires destroyed tens of square kilometers of forest but could not be expanded to the desired firestorm proportions. D. Sharpley. “Technology in Viet-Nam: firestorm project fizzled out.” 1972: 177 Science 239-41. K. Hartmann. “Chemische kriegführung 1966-67.” 1967: 7 Wehrkunde 341-43. In U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons.Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use. 47: 162.
12 Russell defended his assertions in a rebuttal published on 4 May. Napalm was atrocious, he wrote, because bombs filled with the jelly “do not simply kill, but which burn and torture.” The Times edited this reply, and did not publish any of three further follow-up letters from the laureate. Bertrand Russell. War Crimes in Vietnam. 1967: Monthly Review Press. 36-41. Britain provided an occasional refuge and platform for U.S. anti-Vietnam War activists. Conscientious objector and peace activist Staughton Lynd, for example excoriated American policies toward Vietnam in a speech in London on 5 February 1966. “A 45-minute film on the war produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Company began the show. … It showed, among other things, the torture of Vietcong soldiers and the rejoicing of an American pilot over an effective napalm raid,” The New York Times reported. New York Times. “Lynd, In England, Assails U.S. Policy In Vietnam on TV.” 6 February 1966: NYTimes.com.
19 Brandt worked in public relations for Dow for many years and rose to be director of public relations for the company.
23 Dow boosted its polystyrene prices 10 percent after the contracts were announced: national production in 1965 was about 60 million pounds per month, so the military demand represented a significant expansion of the market.
25 Adding some credence to those who charged that anti-napalm activists were communist sympathizers, U.S.S.R. General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev condemned the U.S. use of napalm in Vietnam in a speech on 30 March at the opening session of the Soviet Party Congress. “More than 200,000 United States troops, aircraft carriers, huge bombers, poison gases and napalm are being used against the heroic patriots of Vietnam,” he thundered. Excerpts From Brezhnev Speech at Opening Session of Soviet Party Congress. 30 March 1966: NYTimes.com.
28 Of the 30 religious congregations in Redwood City, eight Protestant ministers made public statements in support of the Committee Against Napalm. Colaianni. “Napalm: Made in U.S.A., A Smalltown Diary.” Ramparts. 47.
31 The Pentagon denied that napalm was used against civilians. In a 1966 letter to Prokosch the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force wrote of the napalm, “It is mixed in California for employment in Vietnam against selected targets such as caves, reinforced supply areas, and the like, which do not involve civilians.” William E. Poe to Eric Prokosch. 24 May 1968: author’s collection. See Prokosch, 130-31.
32 San Francisco attorney Vincent Hallinan agreed to help the Redwood City Committee appeal the case to the California District Court of Appeals. Colaianni. “Napalm: Made in U.S.A., A Smalltown Diary.” Ramparts. 50. The factory in Redwood City, however, continued to produce napalm bombs until early 1967. Prokosch. The Technology of Killing. 130.
A sign of things to come appeared almost immediately. On 27 May, four San Jose housewives dressed in high heeled shoes, stockings, gloves and pearls blocked trucks loading napalm bombs at the offices of a local trucking company for seven hours. The next day the women, dubbed the “napalm ladies” by the media, which gave the story wide coverage, moved on to a massive bomb storage facility in the nearby town of Alviso. The quartet delayed a forklift truck trying to place bombs on a barge for over an hour, caused the vessel to miss the tide, and delayed the shipment by a day. The women were arrested but received suspended sentences. Wells. The War Within. 85.
33 Communications scholars Huxman and Bruce assert the anti-napalm campaign against Dow was “the first large-scale public efforts to hold a corporation morally responsible for its actions.” Susan Schultz Huxman and Denice Beatty Bruce. “Toward a dynamic generic framework of apologia: A case study of Dow chemical, Vietnam, and the napalm controversy.” Spring/Summer 1995: 46 Communication Studies 1-2. 61. InformaWorld.com.
In England, the indefatigable Bertrand Russell announced on 24 May that he planned a war crimes tribunal to try Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Henry Cabot Lodge and other US leaders for “the use of gas and chemicals, the torture and mutilation, the napalm … the terrible bombardments and the brutal treatment of the people of Vietnam for 12 years.” New York Times. “Lord Russell Seeks to Try U.S. Leaders.” 8 June 1966: NYTimes.com.
34 An earlier Easter Sunday march by 50 protesters on 11 April 1966 was perhaps the first public protest against napalm in New York City. “Fine clothing in America, Napalm and Death in Vietnam,” read one sign. Franklin Whitehouse. “Antiwar Pickets March on 5th Ave.; Police Separate Pacifists From Easter Strollers.” 12 April 1966: NYTimes.com.
37 But see Gerstacker, “We have always avoided debate or discussion under the auspices of the Students for a Democratic Society or any other group that believes in violence.” Brandt. Chairman of the Board. 101.
The company said it produced about 25 million pounds of napalm at the Torrance plant for $3.5 million under two Air Force contracts. This figure did not, however, include the value of its military contracts for polystyrene. Journalist Seymour Hersh later estimated, based on an analysis of Pentagon budgets, that Dow received at least $18 million for napalm-related work between June 1966 and March 1967 — still under one percent of of Dow’s worldwide revenue. Hersh. Chemical and Biological Warfare. 254. $3.5 million: Douglas Robinson. “Dow Chemical Office Picketed For Its Manufacture of Napalm.” 29 May 1966: The New York Times. See Doan. “Why Does Dow Chemical Make Napalm?” 8 December 1967: The Wall Street Journal. 18. ProQuest.UMI.com. (“[Napalm] amounted to less than one half of one percent of total sales [in 1966] — in the range of $5 million …. This year it will be in the range of one-fourth of one percent …”) See also Huxman and Bruce. “Toward a dynamic generic framework of apologia: A case study of Dow chemical, Vietnam, and the napalm controversy.” Spring/Summer 1995: 46 Communication Studies 1-2. 61. InformaWorld.com. (“No more than twelve of Dow Chemical’s 50,000 employees worked on napalm at any given time. The chemical of war was only one of more than 800 products Dow manufactured.”)
38 Evidence emerged of continuing munitions research on napalm in June 1966, when military engineers announced they had integrated the gel into cluster bombs, and could now cover the ground with “both napalm and lethal steel pellets from bomblets.” Charles Mohr. “Vast U.S. Firepower Arrayed in Vietnam Against Guerrillas.” 28 June 1966: New York Times.
40 The C.O.R. met with resistance from U.S. and South Vietnamese government officials, who worried about the reaction large numbers of burned children transported for treatment might produce, and argued that more could be done directly in South Vietnam. “[T]he arrival of the first group of children [in England, under a program similar to the one proposed for the U.S.] had caused a tremendous stir about the cruel effect of the bombing,” Pepper observed The group eventually managed to bring just 87 patients to the U.S., despite health care pledges that would have accommodated hundreds. Pepper. “The Children of Vietnam.” January 1967: 5 Ramparts 7. 87.
8. Seeing is Believing
2 Pepper conducted research for the article on a six week leave of absence from the Children’s Institute.
Ramparts estimated that at least a quarter of a million children had been killed since 1961 based on an overall civilian casualty figure of at least 415,000, a 1964 UNESCO population study that estimated that 47.5 percent of the country was under age 16, a projected rate of increase to 50 percent by 1967, and the conjecture that about 70 percent of the population of the rural villages that bore the brunt of U.S. attacks were children because most of the older males were away fighting. Based on a “military rule-of-thumb of 3-1 casualties to deaths,” and available mortality figures, the magazine concluded that there had been at least one million child casualties since 1961. William F. Pepper. “The Children of Vietnam.” January 1967: 5 Ramparts 7. 53. The estimate has been challenged by some observers and supported by others. See United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations. Impact of the Vietnam War. 1971: Government Printing Office. Introduction. The General Accounting Office and Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s Subcommittee on Refugees estimated in 1971 that 150,000 Vietnamese civilians had been killed and 350,000 injured since 1965 by U.S. military action, or weapons supplied by the U.S. Neil Sheehan. “Should We Have War Crime Trials?” 28 March 1971: NYTimes.com.
3 An advertisement on the same page suggested the suffering described was still distant for most Americas. “Who would have thought a patch of dry, flaky skin could lead to something serious? Dry, flaky skin … a persistent itch … a scaly patch? Ask your doctor: you may have the Heartbreak of Psoriasis,” read the advertisement for Tegrin skin cream. Martha Gellhorn. “Suffer the Little Children …” January, 1967: Ladies Home Journal. 108.
6 Susan O’Neill, who served as an Army Nurse Corps operating room nurse in three locations in Vietnam in 1969-70, highlighted the risks napalm posed to U.S. troops, and offered additional details about the effects of the weapon in an interview after she returned to the U.S.: “The problem with napalm is that when you drop it, if the wind shifts, there’s really no telling where it’s going to go. It was more than once, we would get in members of [an American] platoon who had run afoul of napalm that was dropped and suffered a wind shift or something of that sort, and [it] ended up getting our people instead of their people or their forest or whatever the hell we were aiming for. It was very nasty because it would stick to you, being the gel sort of thing it was. You could actually find sometimes, if you were to strip off a burned shirt or something, you could see where the buttons were and you could see where the cuffs were … because where the lines were, it would burn into them; where the seams were, it would burn into them. It was just awful, awful stuff. The real pity about this, I think in some ways, is that a lot of these guys would come in — and civilians too because when napalm [is] dropped, it’s not a precision instrument — but the people would come in often quite sensate. I mean, they’d be talking to you and they would be alert. They would be in pain or maybe not in as much [pain] as they should’ve been, because the burning … [had] gone past the nerve endings, which was really awful because of the ramifications of that.” Richard Burks Verrone and Laura M. Calkins.Voices from Vietnam: Eye-witness accounts of the war, 1954-1975. 2005: David & Charles. 154-55. Books.Google.com.
7 ”It has been told so often, in so many publications and on so many TV programs, that no one ever thinks to question one of the more shocking horror stories of the Vietnam War: that thousands of Vietnamese children have been savagely burned by U.S. napalm. … The trouble with the story, says New York Times Medical Columnist Dr. Howard Rusk, is that it is not true.” Time Magazine. “Reporting: The Napalm Story.” 24 March 1967: Time.com.
H. Charles Scharnweber, from Dow’s medical division, visited Vietnam during this period and reported that he also was unable to find any women or children killed by napalm. He attributed burn injuries he observed to “careless or ignorant use of gasoline.” Brant. Chairman of the Board. 98.
9 On 16 May, several thousand anti-war students at Madison staged the first sit-in at the University of Wisconsin and peacefully occupied an administration building for several days before a compromise was reached. Robert Kenner, Producer and Director. “Timeline: 1966.” Two Days in October. 2005: PBS.org. Soglin was elected Mayor of Madison in 1973 and re-elected several times.
10 In November, for example, pro-napalm spectators threw mud at 75 members of the Kent Committee to End the War in Vietnam as they protested the presence of a Dow recruiter at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. The counter-protesters tore away several placards that read “Dow Burns Babies” and burned them. Committee members, however, considered the protest a success. Heineman. Campus Wars. 180.
12 “After King delivered the speech, Smiley reports, ‘168 major newspapers the next day denounced him.’ Not only that, but then-President Lyndon Johnson disinvited King to the White House. ‘It basically ruins their relationship,’ says Smiley. ‘This was a huge, huge speech,’ he continues, ‘that got Martin King in more trouble than anything he had ever seen or done.’” Neal Conan and Tavis Smiley. “The Story Of King’s ‘Beyond Vietnam’ Speech.” 30 March 2010: Talk of the Nation. NPR.org.
14 “Once on the freeway, which would take him back to Los Angeles, he picked up speed and attempted to shake us, doing 80 mph and weaving in and out of lanes on the congested freeway. We stuck with him until he was five miles outside town and then turned off,” activist Mike Truman wrote in the S.D.S. newsletter New Left Notes. Mike Truman. “Dow Run Out of Town.” New Left Notes. 1 May 1967. 2.
Bertrand Russell convened his War Crimes Tribunal in Stockholm in May 1967 after French President Charles de Gaulle refused to allow the gathering to take place in France (it “exceed[ed] the limits of international law and custom,” according to the president). Jean Paul Sarte provided the Inaugural Statement. A second session took place later in the year in Copenhagen. The convocation attracted significant attention outside the U.S., but was largely dismissed domestically as propaganda financed by the North Vietnamese government (”a farce” according to Morley Safer of CBS News; an “anti-American propaganda ploy” per his colleague Eric Sevareid, in comments characteristic of establishment outlets. “Media Reaction Analysis — The Russell Tribunal” 5 May 1967: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam. Box 191. In Wells. The War Within. 142). See Harvey A. DeWeerd. “Lord Russell’s War Crimes Tribunal.” March 1967: Rand.org. Napalm, in any event, received relatively little attention. “Napalm and its Effects on Human Beings,” by University of Paris Medical School professor of biochemistry Gilbert Dreyfus was the only one of approximately 64 evidentiary submissions that specifically addressed U.S. use of the incendiary gel; by contrast, multiple testimonials reviewed deployments of gas weapons and herbicides, and many discussants described the effects of cluster munitions. The Tribunal — which condemned the “wholesale and indiscriminate use of napalm” by the U.S., among other conclusions — did not publish its findings until 1968, after information comparable to that delivered by Dreyfus appeared domestically, and condemnations of American napalm bombardments were commonplace. John Duffett. Against the Crime of Silence: Proceedings of the Russell International War Crimes Tribunal, Stockholm, Copenhagen. 1968: O’Hare Books. DeGaulle 27-28. Dreyfus: 374-82. Condemnation: 646. See Zaroulis and Sullivan. Who Spoke Up? 353. Wells. The War Within. 142.
15 Doan remembered: “It was a very open debate. There were no set positions. Frequently the board broke into small groups for very intense discussion. Members talked back and forth. At the end of the first day, with nothing firmly decided, but with three or four members looking as if they might take a stand against napalm, everyone went home and must have had a very troubled sleep. The next morning each of these men individually came to my office and said that after careful and troubled consideration they agreed that the company should continue doing what it was doing.” Brandt. Chairman. 2003: Michigan State University Press. 97.
16 The group won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.
17 “As a practical matter, a burn of more than 20 percent of the body surface endangers life. … A burn of more than 30 percent is generally fatal to adults in the absence of adequate treatment,” the U.S. Department of Defense concluded in a 1958 N.A.T.O. handbook. United States Department of Defense. Emergency War Surgery: U.S. Armed Forces Issue of NATO Handbook Prepared for use by the Medical Services of NATO Nations. 1958: Government Printing Office. 22. The U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons wrote in 1972: “It must be stated that, despite the large quantities of napalm that have been employed in war, the medical literature so far contains rather little information on the direct effects of napalm and its combustion products on the human body. One team of surgeons serving in a civilian hospital in an active conflict area in South Viet-Nam in 1966 and 1967 have remarked that napalm is an ‘all-or-nothing weapon.’ Because of the infrequency with which they saw napalm burns, they concluded that its victims were more likely to be killed than to require medical aid. Another field observation made among the victims of napalm attack suggests that about a third of the casualties are likely to die within half an hour. An additional, and higher, proportion are likely to die within the next 24 hours. If this is so, napalm must be one of the most lethal weapons in existence today. U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use. 33: 114.
“The phosphorus in napalm is finely divided and may lodge deep in the tissues. Adequate debridement of such contaminated wounds will be difficult at best, and under field conditions may be impossible,” they elaborated. Reich and Sidel. “Napalm.” 87.
“In the civilian hospital at Can Tho, I saw a man who had a piece of white phosphorus in his flesh. It was still burning,” aviation specialist Frank Harvey reported in 1966. Frank Harvey. “The Air War in Vietnam.” November 1966: Flying. 54. See Norman M. Rich, Egon V. Johnson, and Francis C. Diamond, Jr. “Wounding Power of the Missiles Used in the Republic of Vietnam.” 2 January 1967: Journal of the American Medical Association (white phosphorus grenades add “the problem of continuing tissue destruction from the burning phosphorus until all the phosphorus is removed …”). In Melman. In the Name of America. 271. See also U.N. Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. “Effects of White Phosphorus.” Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use. 35: 122-23.
Phosphorus was also a poison. “As far as phosphorus is concerned, as well as horrible burning this compound causes a severe intoxication and hepato-nephritis (liver and kidney poisoning), which in most cases is fatal, even when the burning appears superficial. In fact, phosphorus penetrates deeply into the skin and the subcutaneous tissues, since it produces phosphoric acids which are very acidic, and spreads all over the body,” Kahn lectured. Finally, the professor noted, phosphorus has toxic effects on cattle, poultry and fish, and bombs that contained phosphorus which missed their targets and landed in lakes or waterways used for breeding fish could introduce poisons into the human food chain. M. F. Khan. “CBW in Use: Vietnam, Comment on the use of Napalm and Phosphorus.” Steven Rose, ed. CBW: Chemical and Biological Warfare. 1968 rpt. 1969: Beacon Press. 88.
Carbon monoxide produced by napalm, especially when burned in enclosed spaces and with incomplete combustion, was also a frequent cause of injury. M. F. Khan, a professor at the Faculté de Médecine de Paris and expert on the use of napalm in Vietnam, explained the risks at a 1968 Conference on Chemical and Biological Warfare held in London. “There are reports of Japanese soldiers killed in World War II by napalm without any visible burns,” he observed. “It is worth pointing out that carbon monoxide intoxication greatly increases the lethality of napalm since it prevents the victim from escaping the fire,” he added.
The impact of napalm on the natural environment in Vietnam remains largely unknown. In their 2006 book Vietnam: A Natural History Eleanor Sterling, Martha Hurley and Le Duc Minh wrote, “During the war, the U.S. military dropped 14 million tons of bombs, or cluster-bomb units onto northern and southern Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, leaving an estimated 10 to 15 million large bomb craters and extensive unexploded ordinance. Little is known about the effects of these bombs, or of napalm, land mines, and other wartime technology, on Vietnam’s biological communities.” Eleanor Jane Sterling, Martha Maud Hurley and Le Duc Minh. Vietnam: A Natural History. 2006: Yale University Press. 42.
18 The article received much less attention than an earlier evaluation of the medical effects of thermonuclear war produced by the same physicians’ group. A Journal editorial echoed the conclusions of that piece, and the military ordered thousands of copies for base libraries worldwide. However, “Thermonuclear war was such an overwhelming kind of problem virtually nothing could be done after thermonuclear weapons,” Sidel said. Napalm, a weapon about which something could perhaps have been done received comparatively little notice from the Journal and the military. Nonetheless, Sidel recalled, “The N.E.J.M. is a powerful communications medium and many people read the piece and were aware of it. … People did indeed contact us with respect to joining PSR as part of overall opposition to Vietnam War.” Victor Sidel. Interview with the author. 3 September 2009.
2. In the wake of the protest, students called a strike. The university ultimately temporarily banned Dow from campus, suspended 13 students, and fired three faculty members who joined the strike. Robert Kenner, Producer and Director. Two Days in October. 2005: PBS.org.
A large peaceful anti-war protest on the 17th of October was conducted without incident. Silber and Brown. The War Within. 35’20”. The Commerce building was later renamed Mark Ingraham Hall and became part of the university’s School of Music. University of Wisconsin School of Music. “Facilities and Resources: Ingraham Hall.” 2010: Music.Wisc.edu.
3 The transformation was national. As El Paso Texas resident Jean Ponder Allen, married to an Army Lieutenant Colonel who was fighting in Vietnam, said of the time: “Assumptions that I had never questioned were being challenged. I was being assaulted by these images. What was being shown on television, every night in the nightly news; the bloody combat, the body bags that were coming back, shots of protestors in other parts of the country, and all of a sudden there was a whole new dimension to the war in Vietnam that was opened up to me. It was shattering. It felt as though I had been living a lie. And it did seem like a huge backdrop of Disneyland had all of a sudden been ripped apart, and in its place you saw women and children and soldiers on both sides being blown up, and body parts, and blood, and body bags, and people crying. And you had to ask: what is my role in this, what have I done, or what am I doing, that is keeping this going. How am I contributing to this devastation.” Jean Ponder Allen. Robert Kenner, Producer and Director. “Transcript.” Two Days in October. 2005:PBS.org.
4 “Dow has become anathema to anti-war groups because of its production of napalm. The substance is intended to burn out jungle overgrowth, but it falls all too often on Vietnamese civilians,” the editorial board wrote. The Harvard Crimson. “A Justified Demonstration.” 26 October 1967: TheCrimson.com. A minority opinion signed by 14 staff members appeared on 27 October: “But the protest was irrelevant and inappropriate since a change in Dow’s policies will not stop the war or even obstruct the use of napalm. If Dow suddenly refused to manufacture napalm, there are dozens of companies that would vie for the government contract to carry on production.” Boisfeuillet Jones Jr. et al. “The Wrong Way to Peace: On the Other Hand.” 27 October 1967: TheCrimson.com.
6 “Dow is also the maker of Saran Wrap, which some amorous college students have found handy in nonmilitary emergencies,” the journal added in an arch aside. Time. “Ire Against Fire.” 3 November 1967: Time.com.
7 Over the course of the afternoon, “virtually the entire Harvard Administration milled in and out of Mallinckrodt M-102,” according to the Crimson. Deans collected between 350 and 400 student IDs, some offered by sympathizers who did not join the sit-in.
Fieser also delivered undergraduate chemistry lectures in Mallinckrodt Hall. Peter V. Tishler. “Remarks.” Louis Frederick Fieser, 1899-1977 memorial service program. 7 October 1977: Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3. Box 1. Folder: “Louis Fieser — biographical materials.” 3.
9 Fieser himself started smoking as a teenager and smoked four packs a day by 1964. “If I woke up during the night or early morning, I would reach for a cigarette instinctively,” he told Reader’s Digest. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1965, underwent surgery, and quit. Louis Fieser. “The Story of an Ex-Smoker.” April 1966: Reader’s Digest. 68. Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3 Box 7. See Louis Fieser. Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3. Box 1. Folder: “Louis Fieser — autobiographical accounts.”
10 With respect to Vietnam specifically, Fieser’s closest connection was that he administered Ph.D. examinations in Chemistry at the University of Saigon in 1964. The Harvard Crimson. “University of Saigon Invites Fieser to Administer Ph.D. examinations.” 12 November 1964: The Harvard Crimson. No page number. Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3 Box 6. Scrapbook. No page number
12 A single couplet in a hagiographical poem was the only reference to the munition at the dinner. Guest P. D. Bartlett rhymed: “Napalm was meant for factories, all quite neuter;/ Who could forsee ‘twould stop a Dow recruiter?” P. D. Bartlett “Louis F. Fieser Dinner.” 10 November 1967: Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3 Box 1. Folder: “Louis Fieser — retirement dinner, 1967.”
Europeans were less circumspect. See Dieter Lenoir and Thomas T. Tidwell. “In Memoriam: Louis Fieser: An Organic Chemist in Peace and War. February 2009: 2009 European Journal of Organic Chemistry 4. 481–491. Wiley.com. (extensive discussion of “war work.”). “[H]is major contributions lay in the area of development of new materials for offensive warfare” was about as pointed as commentary got about the departed. Robert B. Woodward. “Remarks.” Louis Frederick Fieser, 1899-1977 memorial service program. 7 October 1977: Fieser Papers. HUGFP 20.3. Box 1. Folder: “Louis Fieser — biographical materials.” 14.
14 Zinn served as a crewman in a 1,150 bomber April 1945 napalm attack that obliterated a German garrison trapped in the small French city of Royan, near Bordeaux. Carroll. “Interview with Howard Zinn.” House of War. 88. See Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle. A People’s History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation. 2008: Henry Holt & Co. 129-32.
16 ”Save yourself through the window, Mr. Jones” headlined Pravda’s coverage of the event.” Brandt. Growth Company.355-56.
21 Catonsville, interestingly, is just 50 miles from the Aberdeen Proving Ground where Fieser conducted one of the first demonstrations of napalm in 1942. Google Maps. “Catonsville, MD to Aberdeen Proving Ground.” 5 May 2010:Maps.Google.com.
The recipe was based loosely on a formula in the Special Forces Handbook published by the School for Special Warfare at Fort Bragg, Darst testified. “We did not use all the ingredients called for. We made a very crude form of napalm consisting of two parts gasoline one part soap flakes. Nor did we cook our mix into a jelly. We left it in liquid form so we could pour it on the files,” he said. Berrigan. The Trial of the Catonsville Nine. 34.The handbook referenced may have been the 1969 Army Special Forces Improvised Munitions Handbook, which provides detailed instructions for making “gelled flame fuels” from gasoline mixed with soap, egg whites, animal blood, and other thickeners. Headquarters, Department of the Army. “Improvised Munitions Handbook.” TM 31-210 Department of the Army Technical Manual. 1969: Frankford Arsenal. V:4-1-7. 159-70. Scribd.com. See LibertyReferences.com. Subsequent authors gave this recipe wide distribution. Youth International Party founder Abbie Hoffman, for example, gave the following instructions for a Molotov Cocktail in his 1970 work Steal This Book: “Fill a thin-walled bottle half full with gasoline. Break up a section of styrofoam (cups made of this substance work fine) and let it sit in the gasoline for a few days. The mixture should be slushy and almost fill the bottle. The styrofoam spreads the flames around and regulates the burning. The mixture has nearly the same properties as napalm. Soap flakes (not detergents) can be substituted for styrofoam. Rubber cement and sterno also work.” Abbie Hoffman. Steal This Book. 1971: Pirate Editions. Tenant.net. See “Dean Pappas, a longtime political activist from Baltimore, helped the Catonsville Nine make the napalm from soap chips and gasoline.” Andrea Seabrook. “Fire Sparked Push to End Vietnam War.” 17 May 2008: All Things Considered. NPR.org
About three dozen activists picketed the vandalized Washington, D.C. offices the next day. Brandt. Growth Company. 361.
22 One of the three was later revealed to be an undercover police officer, which presumably lessened the risk to the sales team. Brandt. Growth Company. 203-04.
23 On 7 November 1969, eight members of “Beaver 55,” a group “gnawing away at a wrong” broke into a Dow computer facility in Midland, removed magnetic tapes, and, in their words, “destroyed Dow’s napalm data and records.” Brandt.Growth Company. 361.
24 No Dow employee ever suffered physical harm as a result of the demonstrations against the company, except for being spit upon, Gerstacker said in 1970. Brandt. Growth Company. 361.
The chairman noted that a 1970 study by Opinion Research found that the number of people who viewed Dow “Very Favorably” or “Favorably” declined from 64 precent to 60 percent between 1965 and 1970. During the same period, he added, “the percentage of persons who viewed the chemical industry favorably declined from 55 percent to 43.” His conclusion: “We were actually bucking a trend.” Brandt. Growth Company. 361. See Huxman and Bruce. “Toward a dynamic generic framework of apologia: A case study of Dow chemical, Vietnam, and the napalm controversy.” Spring/Summer 1995: 46 Communication Studies 1-2. 62. InformaWorld.com. (“Chairman Gerstacker announced, ‘… In the last year our total number of stockholders dropped by more than 5,000. This is by far the biggest drop we have ever had.”)
26 A 4 November 1971 accident in which a semi-trailer loaded with napalm went off a curve on a suburban street in Fallbrook California while on its way to the nearby Naval Weapons Station at 700 Ammunition Road (adjacent to Camp Pendleton, near San Diego), received front-page coverage in the local newspaper, a quick response from firefighters, and no apparent protests. Betty Johnson. “35 YEARS AGO: Napalm trucking accident on East Mission makes headline news.” 2 November 2006: NCTimes.com.
33 Kim’s family was devastated by the deaths and injuries they suffered in the 8 June attack. Their home was damaged (and subsequently destroyed), their domestic animals killed, and their primary source of livelihood — the noodle stall managed by Kim’s mother — severely disrupted. See New York Times. “Misfortune Revisits a Vietnamese Girl.” 12 November 1972:NYTimes.com. They endured extreme poverty after the war, and Kim Phúc was required by the government to tell her story to foreign journalists on numerous occasions. She eventually married, and defected to Canada with her husband. They now live near Toronto with their two sons. Kim Phúc has established a foundation, the Kim Phuc Foundation, to aid child victims of warfare. Kim Foudation. “History.” 9 May 2009: KimFoundation.com. See Michael Nicholson. “Kim Phuc Made UNESCO Ambassador.” 10 November 1997: Bishari Films Toronto. ITNSource.com.
1 Apocalypse Now grossed $79 million in its initial U.S. release. Worldwide revenue figures are not available and are estimated at approximately twice domestic revenues. At an average ticket price of $4, perhaps 40 million people paid to see the film in a cinema; far more have seen it on television, video, DVD, and other recorded media. Gross Revenues: Box Office Mojo. “Apocalypse Now.” 2009: BoxOfficeMojo.com. It remains widely known and influential. A 2005 survey of 6,500 British movie fans conducted by Blockbuster U.K., the British subsidiary of the U.S. video rental firm, judged Kilgore’s “napalm in the morning” commentary to be the best speech in the history of cinema. BBC. “‘Napalm’ speech tops movie poll.” 2 January 2004: BBC.co.uk. See John Ezard. “We love sound of napalm in the movies: Poll on best film speeches puts Apocalypse Now, A Few Good Men and On the Waterfront at head of list with Britain’s Trainspotting seventh.” 1 January 2004: Guardian.co.uk. See also Mark Caro. “Top film quotes list will make your day; As AFI winnows its rolls down from 400 entries, readers weigh in with favorites of their own.” 24 December 2004: Los Angeles Times. E15. ProQuest.UMI.com. (Tied for 17th most favorite movie line in reader survey). In 2001, as another example of the enduring fame of the line, German thrash metal band Sodom released its song “Napalm in the Morning:” “Skin peeling off to drop your timid mask/ You wish that death redeems you fast/ Creation of the fire seems the perfect nude/ Your carbonized torso just a part of you/ … you’re gonna die!/ Unholy evil prophets rise/ Fire is raining from the endless skies/ Can you hear the final thunder roaring/ Napalm in the morning.” Sodom. “Napalm in the Morning.” M-16. 22 October 2001: Steamhammer/Sony Music.Sodomized.info.
10. Baby Burners
1 “Scenes, dramatizing the value of human life (or lack of it), of war, the meaning of conquest and disaster, give the play universal qualities rather than circumscribing it in the usual obsessively anti-American pattern so characteristic of French political playwrights.” Bettina L. Knapp. “Reviewed work(s): Napalm by André Benedetto.” Autumn 1969: 43 Books Abroad4. 557. JSTOR.org.
4 The entire lyrics are as follows:
“We shoot the sick, the young, the lame,/ We do our best to maim,/ Because the kills all count the same,/ Napalm sticks to kids./ Flying low across the trees,/ Pilots doing what they please,/ Dropping frags on refugees,/ Napalm sticks to kids./ Flying low and looking mean,/ See that family by the stream/ Drop some nape and hear ‘em scream/ Napalm sticks to kids./ A group of gooks in the grass,/ But all the fightin’s long since past/ Crispy youngsters in a mass/ Napalm sticks to kids./ Drop some napalm on the barn,/ It won’t do too much harm,/ Just burn off a leg or arm/ Napalm sticks to kids./ CIA with guns for hire/ Montagnards around a fire/ Napalm makes the fire higher/ Napalm sticks to kids./ A baby sucking on his mother’s tit/ Children cowering in a pit/ Dow Chemical doesn’t give a shit/ Napalm sticks to kids./ Eighteen kids in a ‘no fire zone’/ Books under arms as they go home/ Last in line goes home alone/ Napalm sticks to kids./ Gather kids as you fly over town/ By tossing candy on the ground/ Then grease ‘em when they gather round./ Napalm sticks to kids./ Ox cart rolling down the road/ Peasants with a heavy load/ They’re all V.C. when the bombs explode/ Napalm sticks to kids./ Cobras flying in the sun,/ Killing gooks is lots of fun,/ Get one pregnant and it’s two for one,/ Napalm sticks to kids./ There’s a gook down on her knees/ Launch some flechettes into the breeze,/ Her arms are nailed to the trees/ Napalm sticks to kids./ Blues out on a road recon./ See some children with their mom./ What the hell, let’s drop the bomb./ Napalm sticks to kids./ They’re in good shape for the shape they’re in/ But, God, I wonder how they can win./ With napalm running down their skin./ Napalm sticks to kids.” John Boychuck “Liner Notes: Napalm Sticks to Kids.” Covered Wagon Musicians. We Say No to Your War! 1972: Paredon Records. Folkways.SI.edu.
9 Yankee Station was the northern analog to Dixie Station described by Frank Harvey.
10 Napalm received less coverage in newspapers outside the U.S. Between 1945 and 2010, 2,365 articles mentioned napalm in The New York Times and 1,712 in The Los Angeles Times. The Times of London, by contrast, published just 36 articles that cited the gel between 1945 and 1985, many of them reprints of New York Times wire stories. The New York Times. “Mentions of ‘Napalm’ 1945-2010.” 2011: Query.NYTimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. “Mentions of ‘Napalm’ 1945-2010.” 2011: Los Angeles Times. ProQuest.UMI.edu. The Times. “The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985.” 2011: GaleGroup.com.
11 A reference to Dow Chemical in the script for An Officer and a Gentleman was removed in the film. Douglas Day Stewart.An Officer and a Gentleman, 28. DailyScript.com.
13 The 21 April 1992 video for anti-war hit “Something’s got to give” by the U.S. hip hip group Beastie Boys (concluding couplet: “Someday we shall all be one/ Jesus Christ we’re nice”) also showed a montage of napalm explosions filmed from the air — many from Vietnam — without any visible people. Beastie Boys. “Something’s Got to Give. 21 April 1992 posted 15 May 2007: YouTube.com.
14 USA Today never retracted the napalm dispatch. It did declare that an accompanying photograph showed only a regular household match. Photograph: USA Today “Additional Kelley stories questioned.” 22 April 2004: USAToday.com (”The USA TODAY photographer who took that shot, as well as another USA TODAY photo staffer present at the time, recall being worried about lighting matches that Kelley had described as quite powerful. But the matches, the two staffers say, proved to be regular matches — with no unusual flame and easily blown out.”) Pulitzer finalist: The Pulitzer Prizes. “2002 Finalists.” 2002: Pulitzer.org. Kelley fired: Blake Morrison. “Ex-USA TODAY reporter faked major stories.” 19 March 2004:USAToday.com. See Bill Hilliard, Bill Kovach and John Seigenthaler. “THE PROBLEMS OF JACK KELLEY AND USA TODAY.” 22 April 2004: USAToday.com.
15 None of the recipes produce an effective form of napalm, although they are flammable (see note 26 below). In a 2007 interview Palahniuk claimed that he included a workable recipe of gasoline and styrofoam in his book. Geoffrey Kleinman. “Chuck Palahniuk – Author of Fight Club.” 2007: DVDTalk.com. Examination of the book suggests thus is unlikely.
17 For description of a somewhat similar friendly fire incident with napalm in 1966 see New York Times. “U.S. Troops Bombed In Error: Napalm causes severe losses.” 26 August 1966 rpt. 27 August 1966: The Times. Col. 6. GaleGroup.com. Nakayama’s wife learned the details of his death almost four decades later when she saw the film. Associated Press. “Wife sees re-creation of her soldier husband’s death in “We were soldiers.’” 3 April 2002: NavyTimes.com.
The 1998 film Saving Private Ryan showed napalm flamethrowers in action on Omaha Beach, but the munition played a relatively minor, if dramatic, role. Steven Spielberg, Dir. Saving Private Ryan. 24 July 1998: Dreamworks SKG.YouTube.com.
In 1988, video game manufacturer GT Interactive released Napalm (AKA NAM). Marketing material promised “[T]he intense action and real ambiance of war. Devastating air strikes, mines, and ambushes. … True U.S. military standard-issue weapons and equipment.” GT Interactive Software Corp. Napalm (AKA NAM). 1998: Amazon.com. The game itself, however, delivered little more than crude fire clouds and generic landscapes: the principle that napalm was involved was enough, the producers hoped, to spur sales. Classic Gaming Network. “Screenshot.” Nam (a.k.a. Napalm). 1999: Classic-Gaming.net.
19 See Jonathan Rauch. “Firebombs Over Tokyo.” July-August 2002: TheAtlantic.com. (”I believe the firebombing of Tokyo should be considered a war crime, a terror bombing, if those terms are to have any meaning at all.”)
22 Get Big Supplements offers a Muscle Warfare Napalm product line. Its NMDA product is “Highly Explosive Amino Acid Anabolic Hormone Ammunition” and is “Napalm Mini-Gun” is “Highly Explosive Amino Acid Anabolic Hormone Ammunition.” No Date: GetBigSupplements.ca.
24 Death Race was a remake of 1975 movie Death Race 2000. Paul Bartel, Dir. 27 April 1975: New World Pictures.
26 The results of mixing gasoline and frozen orange juice have also been documented. wearetylerdurden. Fight Club Napalm: Orange Concentrate. 21 May 2009: YouTube.com (it does not burn). Technical books and websites contain a wealth of information about incendiary devices in general. See Pyroinfo.com: Homemade Explosives, Pyrotechnics and Improvised Rocketry Information Archive. About The Explosives & Pyrotechnics Information Site. 2010: Pyronfo.com.; Troy A. Lettieri. “PYROMANIAC: A Guide To Recreation & Mayhem Amazon Listmania List.” Listmania. No Date:Amazon.com. Their report continued, “The landlord, who was inexplicably watching from the balcony, started to shout something about tripping the sprinklers and before long insisted that it be put out. The foamed nitrogen from the fire extinguisher combined with the smoke to create noxious plumes of gas that forced everyone from the building.” Rocco Castoro. “TECH-ARCHY – Beyond the Pages of The Anarchist Cookbook” April 2009: Vice.com. More serious consequences might have followed. In October 2001, as post-9/11 hysteria swept the country, a 15-year-old resident of Bowie, Maryland, just south of Fort Meade, was arrested, charged with multiple counts of manufacturing an incendiary device, and held overnight in jail after experiments with napalm started a small fire in his bedroom. Investigators searched his house for 12 hours until 6:00 a.m. Jamie Stockwell. “Bowie Youth Charged With Making Napalm.” 11 October 2001: Washington Post.B03.
27 Urban Dictionary lists a less common contemporary usage: “The act of taking off ones own clothing and dousing the body in syrup, followed by a surprise leap onto an unsuspecting individual. ‘I napalmed Steve last night while he was sleeping.’” N. K. “napalm.” 23 March 2006: UrbanDictionary.com.
11. Trial of Fire
1 International laws of war, in the absence of a global sovereign, are statements of public opinion as much as enforceable codes of conduct. But see creation of the International Criminal Court on 17 July 1998: “The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.” International Criminal Court. “About the Court.” No Date: ICC-CPI.int. The full name of the C.C.W. is the “Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects as amended on 21 December 2001.” United Nations Office at Geneva. “Disarmament.” No Date:UNOG.ch.
4 Dunant also wrote, “The horses, more merciful than the men on their backs, kept trying to pick their way so as to avoid stepping on the victims of this furious, passionate battle.” Dunant. A Memory of Solferino. 15. ICRC.org.
Over 40,000 men died in the battle, and another 40,000 died or were hospitalized over the next two months, Dunant wrote. 24-25. ICRC.org. “There is need, therefore, for voluntary orderlies and volunteer nurses, zealous, trained and experienced, whose position would be recognized by the commanders or armies in the field, and their mission facilitated and supported. …. The only possible way is to turn to the public. … The imploring appeal must therefore be made to men of all countries and of all classes, to the mighty ones of this world, and to the poorest workman …. Such an appeal is made to ladies as well as to men — to the mighty princess seated on the steps of the throne — to the poor devoted orphan serving maid — to the poor widow alone in the world and anxious to devote her last strength to the welfare of her neighbour. It is an appeal which is addressed equally to General and Corporal; to the philanthropist and to the writer who, in the quiet of his study, can give his talent to publications relating to a question which concerns all the human race and in a more particular sense, concerns every nation, every district, and every family, since no man can say with certainty that he is forever safe from the possibility of war. … On certain special occasions, as, for example, when princes of the military art belonging to different nationalities meet at Cologne or Châlons, would it not be desirable that they should take advantage of this sort of congress to formulate some international principle, sanctioned by a Convention inviolate in character, which, once agreed upon and ratified, might constitute the basis for societies for the relief of the wounded in the different European countries? … Humanity and civilization call imperiously for such an organization.” Dunant. A Memory of Solferino. 30-31. ICRC.org
5 The United States, with its civil war raging, was one of 16 states that attended the conference. But it did not immediately sign the convention.
Dunant’s own life spiraled down almost as quickly as the Red Cross organization he established rose. He never won the water rights he sought from Napoleon, and declared bankruptcy in 1867. Many acquaintances, some of whom had lost money in his ventures, shunned him. He left Geneva. In a few years, according to the Red Cross, “he was literally living at the level of the beggar. There were times, he says, when he dined on a crust of bread, blackened his coat with ink, whitened his collar with chalk, slept out of doors.” Gifts from friends and small allowances from his family sustained him. After 1875, he disappeared from public view and did not surface until 1890, when a local teacher reported he was living in a small Swiss village. Illness forced him to move to a community hostel in 1892, and he maintained a withdrawn existence for the rest of his life. An 1895 newspaper profile brought him back to world attention, and he won the 1901 Nobel Peace Prize and other awards. At his death in 1910, he was carried to his grave “like a dog,” in accordance with his wishes. No mourners attended, and there was no funeral. He donated his prize monies posthumously to philanthropies in Switzerland and Norway. Dunant.A Memory of Solferino. 2-3. NobelPrize.org. “Biography: Henry Dunant.” 20 July 2012: NobelPrize.org.
6 The Grand Duchy of Baden and Brazil ratified the Declaration on 11 January and 23 October 1869, respectively. No other states have subscribed to the accord.
Follow-on discussions at Brussels in 1874, also instigated by Russia under Gorchakov, asserted that “The laws of war do not recognize in belligerents an unlimited power in the adoption of means of injuring the enemy,” and redefined “uselessly aggravate” as “superfluous injury.” See “Introduction: Project of an International Declaration concerning the Laws and Customs of War. Brussels, 27 August 1874.” D. Schindler and J. Toman, eds. The Laws of Armed Conflicts. 1988: Martinus Nihjoff. 22-34. ICRC.org. “Artillery:” Hans-Peter Gasser. “A Look at the Declaration of St. Petersburg of 1868.” 33International Review of the Red Cross 297. 1993: I.C.R.C. 512. (Gasser worked for the Red Cross for almost 30 years and was Editor of the International Review from 1996 to 2001. François Bugnion. “Hans-Peter Gasser steps down as Editor of the Review.” 83 International Review of the Red Cross 844. 1 December 2001: ICRC.org.)
The 1868 Declaration was reaffirmed by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1965 and the U.N. General Assembly in 1968 and 1971. United Nations General Assembly. “Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflicts. Resolution 2444 (XXIII) of the United Nations General Assembly, 19 December 1968.” D. Schindler and J. Toman, eds. The Laws of Armed Conflicts. 1988: Martinus Nihjoff. 263-64. ICRC.org. United Nations General Assembly. “Basic Principles for the Protection of Civilian Populations in Armed Conflicts. Resolution 2675 (XXV) of the United Nations General Assembly, 9 December 1970.” 1971: U.N. G.A.O.R. 23rd Sess. Supp. 18 (A/8028). 76. See Philippe Abplanalp. “The International Conferences of the Red Cross as a factor for the development of international humanitarian law and the cohesion of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.” 31 October 1995: 35 International Review of the Red Cross 308.ICRC.org. (Referencing I.C.R.C. resolution XXVIII adopted at the XX International Conference in Vienna 1965). See Gasser. “A Look at the Declaration of St. Petersburg of 1868.” 512 (”[T]he small number of participating States in no way limits the Declaration’s significance or its effect — it is today part of customary international law, by which the entire community of States is bound.”)
8 As a practical matter, as Julius Stone has written, “‘[N]ot defended’ still means not only that the city is not fortified, but also that the attacker is put in a position to take the town …. Certainly, no other interpretation has commanded the obedience of belligerents under modern conditions.” Thus population centers located behind front lines — hence not subject to immediate capture — are considered “defended.” Stone. Legal Controls of International Conflict. 621.
9 These declarations were later recognized as elements of international law. “[B]y 1939 these rules [the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions]… were recognized by all civilized nations and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war,” wrote the 1946 Nuremberg International Military Tribunal. The 1948 International Military Tribunal for the Far East expressed the same view. D.Schindler and J. Toman. “Introduction: Convention (II) with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land. The Hague, 29 July 1899.”The Laws of Armed Conflicts. 1988: Martinus Nihjoff. 69-93. 2005: ICRC.org. Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, adopted in 1977 under the auspices of the Red Cross, reaffirmed and elaborated rules that emerged from the Conventions. International Committee of the Red Cross. “Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.” 1977: I.C.R.C. 3-87. 2005: ICRC.org. Since there has been no Third Peace Conference of The Hague, the prohibition remains in force.
10 The Hague Conventions did not apply because most of the parties to World War I did not sign the 1907 agreement, which only regulated combat between signatories.
11 Article 176 of the Treaty of Sèvres, signed 10 August 1920 with Turkey but annulled by the Turkish War of Independence which ended the Ottoman government, also contained this language. “Article 176.” The Treaty of Peace Between the Allied and Associated Powers and Turkey Signed at Sèvres August 10, 1920. 5 November 2011: The World War I Document Archive. BYU.edu.
12 The 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of Poisonous Gases and Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, which outlawed use of poison gas and was eventually signed by 136 states, did not mention incendiaries. Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of Poisonous Gases and Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, Geneva, June 17, 1925. 20 May 2009: The World War I Document Archive. BYU.edu. State parties: “State Parties: Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. Geneva, 17 June 1925.” 2005: International Committee of the Red Cross. ICRC.org. See Federation of American Scientists. “Geneva Protocol.” FAS Weapons of Mass Destruction. No Date: FAS.org.
13 The draft proposed by the British read: “The prohibition of the use of incendiary weapons shall apply to: (1). The use of projectiles specifically intended to cause fires. This prohibition shall not apply to: (a) Projectiles specially constructed to give light or to be luminous and generally to pyrotechnics not intended to cause fires, or to projectiles of all kinds capable of producing incendiary effects accidentally; (b) Incendiary projectiles designed specifically for defence against aircraft, provided that they are used exclusively for that purpose. (2) The use of appliances designed to attack persons by fire, such as flame projectors.” Lumsden. Incendiary Weapons. 24.
15 Stone suggested a designation of some individuals as “quasi-civilians” as a way to accommodate international law to this changed reality: “The principle of civilian immunity does not make sense when it is offered to protect the men and women in the hinterland who make, equip or service the airplanes, tanks, ships, and munitions, and the multitude of machine tools and precision instruments on which military success depends. If true civilians are to receive any protection, these latter must be set apart, perhaps under the title ‘quasi-civilians’ as not entitled to that same protection.” Stone. Legal Controls of International Conflict. 628.
16 “The universal use of these [explosive or incendiary] bullets in the last war [WWII] and the lack of any protest strongly suggest their legitimation, and the desuetude of the prohibition at least in aerial war,” law of war scholars Myres McDougal and Florentino Feliciano concluded in 1961. Myres McDougal and Florentino Feliciano. Law and Minimum World Public Order. 1961: Yale University Press. 621.
17 Indeed, as Parks wrote, “The legality of weapons was a field not easily entered. Governments historically viewed determinations of legality of weapons as within their prerogative, a view reaffirmed in Additional Protocol I [to the 1949 Geneva Conventions], which makes each State Party responsible for determining whether its weapons are consistent with its law of war obligations.” Parks. “Means and Methods of Warfare.” 2006: 38 George Washington Int’l. Law Rev. 514-15.
The I.C.R.C., felt that “damage to the civilian population by incendiary bombs was due to their indiscriminate use,” Parks concluded in a review of the history of the international law of incendiary warfare. W. Hays Parks. “The Protocol on Incendiary Weapons.” 1990: 279 International Review of the Red Cross. 536.
12. The Third Protocol
1 The Warsaw Pact nations were Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the U.S.S.R.
North Vietnam and its allies did not publicize the 5 December 1967 flamethrower attack against the village of Dak Son, inhabited by Montagnard tribespeople who supported the South Vietnamese government, in Phuoc Long Province. “Some 600 Communist soldiers with 60 flamethrowers destroyed the village, burning to death 252 Montagnard men, women, and children and injuring 50 more.” Michael Clodfelter. Warfare and Armed Conflicts, A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500-2000. 2nd Ed. 2002: McFarland & Co. 784.
2 The conference was called to “review progress which has been made in the field of human rights” since passage of the International Declaration of Human Rights 20 years earlier, and “prepare a programme of further measures.” United Nations. Final Act of the International Conference on Human Rights, Teheran, 22 April to 13 May 1968. 1968: U.N. Doc. A/CONF. 32/41. 1:1. No Date: UNTreaty.UN.org. Note that “The majority of General Assembly resolutions are adopted without a vote,” according to the United Nations. United Nations. “General Assembly: Voting Information.” United Nations Documentation: Research Guide. 21 June 2012: UN.org.
5 The non-governmental Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) issued a companion report Napalm and Incendiary Weapons: SIPRI Interim Report to accompany the expert findings. This was expanded by SIPRI researcher Malvern Lumsden and published by M.I.T. Press in 1975 as Incendiary Weapons, which remains a definitive reference. See Sydney D. Bailey. “Book Review: ‘Napalm and Incendiary Weapons: SIPRI Interim Report’ and ‘Report of the UN Secretary-General on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and all Aspects of their Possible Use.’” 1973: 15 Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 4. 203-4.
6 “It is important to recognize that the care and treatment of burn casualties represents a more difficult problem for hospitals than the treatment of other kinds of casualty,” the experts continued. Inclusion of phosphorus in napalm weapons made the problem even more dire: “Napalm weapons often contain white phosphorus, and this may further aggravate the burn injuries they cause.” United Nations Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and All Aspects of Their Possible Use. 54: 187. Hospitals: 52: 182. Phosphorus: 55: 188. See Bailey. “Book Review” 1973: 15 Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 4. 203 (“At the expert conference called by the International Committee of the Red Cross last year , an attempt was made to single out weapons containing napalm and phosphorus from other incendiary weapons, because particles of these agents adhere to surfaces while they burn.”) Use of the term “superfluous” had an obvious resonance with the prohibition on superfluous injuries defined in the 1868 St. Petersburg and 1899 Hague conventions.
7 The panel reiterated: “Incendiary weapons, when used in massive raids against urban targets, demonstrate the total quality of war: its savage and cruel consequences for all of society.” United Nations Consultant Experts. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. 51: 177.
10 Bailey. “Book Review” 1973: 15 Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 4. 204 (“For a ban on using certain incendiaries, other control measures [than reprisal] could be added: standardization of military manuals; the possibility of prosecuting violators before an international criminal court; and a complaints procedure similar to that contained in the recent Biological Weapons Convention.”)
11 Politics was never far from the debate. As J. Ashley Roach, head of the Law of Armed Conflict Branch of the International Law Division in the Judge Advocate General’s office of the U.S. Navy has observed, efforts to reform the international law of war “purported to be motivated by purely humanitarian concerns,but the subject matter necessarily involved political views about the Vietnam conflict and questions of national security.” Roach. “Certain Conventional Weapons Convention: Arms Control or Humanitarian Law?” 1984: 105 Military Law Review. 6.
12 “Conscious that incendiary weapons have always constituted a category of arms viewed with horror and that the International Conference on Human Rights, held at Teheran in 1968, in its Resolution XXIII on human rights in armed conflicts considered napalm bombing to be among the methods and means that erode human rights … Deplores the use of napalm and other incendiary weapons in all armed conflicts.”
Precision: “the massive spread of fire through incendiary weapons is largely indiscriminate in its effect on military and civilian targets.”
Civilians: “the long upheld principle of the immunity of the non-combatant appears to be receding from the military consciousness.”
Injuries: “[B]urn injuries, whether sustained directly from the action of incendiaries or as a result of fires initiated by them, are intensely painful and require exceptional resources for their medical treatment that are far beyond the read of most countries” (citing United Nations Group of Consultant Experts on Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons. Napalm and Other Incendiary Weapons and All Aspects of Their Possible Use. 54:187). United Nations General Assembly. “Resolution 2932 (XXVII). General and complete disarmament.” 29 November 1972: UN.org. United Nations Secretariat. Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflict. 7 November 1973: U.N. Document A/9215 (Vol. I). 145: 82.
The British armed forces Manual, U.S. Army Field Manual, and statements by various national authorities, among other evidence, supported the argument that use of napalm was generally considered legal, the Report explained. United Nations Secretariat. Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflict: Existing rules of international law concerning the prohibition or restriction of use of specific weapons. 7 November 1973: U.N. Document A/9215 (Vol. I). 141: 67, 141: 68-71.
13 “If anything, the report demonstrated that generic rules are very difficult to apply to particular weapons and that the specific rules do not cope with the weapons that are the most likely to do harm to the civilian population or to cause injury and suffering out of proportion to the military advantage to be gained from the use of such weapons,” he wrote of the Secretary General’s 1973 Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflict report. Baxter. “Conventional Weapons Under Legal Prohibitions.” International Security. 47.
16 “Some I.C.R.C. representatives believed the I.C.R.C. should not be seen as regarding any weapon as acceptable. Challenging one weapon might suggest it was putting its ‘seal of approval’ on weapons it did not challenge, an action inconsistent with its humanitarian mission,” the U.S. expert continued. Parks. “Means and Methods of Warfare.” 2006: 38George Washington Int’l. Law Rev. 515.
19 The Lucerne report was based to an important degree on another Red Cross report: Weapons that may Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects: Report of the work of experts released in Geneva in 1973. That document, which asserted that it was limited to “facts — legal, military and medical” concluded “that several categories of weapon tend to cause excessive suffering and particularly severe injuries or may, either by their nature or because of the way in which they are commonly used, strike civilians and combatants indiscriminately,” but offered no suggestions about what, if anything, should be done in response. International Committee of the Red Cross. Weapons that may Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects: Report of the work of experts. 1973: I.C.R.C., Geneva. 71: 243-44. LOC.gov.
21 William Fenrick, Director of International Law at the Canadian Department of Defense, observed “It was not uncommon during the Vietnam conflict for local American commanders in extreme situations to call for napalm strikes immediately adjacent to their own positions on the assumption that the enemy, being in the open, would receive the full force of the attack while American troops, being under cover in defensive positions, would suffer relatively little harm.” W. J. Fenrick. “New Developments in the Law Concerning the Use of Conventional Weapons in Armed Conflict.” 1981: 19 Canadian Yearbook of International Law. 247.
“[T]hey felt there could be little doubt that the massive use of incendiary weapons against civilian population centres was either already in contravention of existing international law, or should be banned one way or another,” the expert report stated. However, “The question whether it would be preferable to supplement such a general rule with a specific prohibition on the use of incendiary weapons against such targets, was answered affirmatively by some of these experts, while others preferred to leave it open for the moment.” International Committee of the Red Cross. Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (Lucerne, 24.9-18.10.1974): Report. 32: 105, 34: 112. LOC.gov. As Parks summarized the point, “One group felt strongly that all incendiaries should be prohibited without exception, while the other group was equally adamant that the use of incendiaries against military targets was neither inhumane nor inherently indiscriminate, and in many circumstances had unique military value.” In a harbinger of decisions to come, he continued “However, members of the second group were in agreement with the first group that measures should be taken to protect areas populated by civilians from mass incendiary attacks of the kind that occurred during World War II.” W. Hays Parks. “The Protocol on Incendiary Weapons.” 1990: 279 International Review of the Red Cross. 537-38.
26 Spain argued for a special prohibition on napalm, and for protection of combatants as well as civilians. “[T]he shocking effects of this weapon justify its being expressly banned even though it falls within the general prohibition … In all cases napalm causes unnecessary suffering and serious or irreparable consequences. This means that the most important aspect of the problem — the protection of combatants — is not covered by this [Dutch] proposal.” Government of Spain. “Analysis of the Proposals Submitted Concerning Incendiary Weapons.” International Committee of the Red Cross. Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session—Lugano, 28.1-26.2.1976): Report. 188.
28 A report on victims from seven napalm accidents in 1968-69 found that injuries to the 51 people caught within fireballs were similar to victims of burns received from other vectors. An expert who had treated 34 napalm burn cases from 1966-1970 reported comparable findings. Skeptics rejected these results because of the small sample size. International Committee of the Red Cross. Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session—Lugano, 28.1-26.2.1976): Report. 111-12: 35-37.
31 An 11 April 1975 report by The New York Times, “Ban on Cruel Arms Adopted at Geneva,” underlined the confusion that can arise from these concepts: “An international conference on bringing the Geneva war conventions up to date has agreed to ban weapons that cause unnecessary suffering or that permanently harm the environment, a conference communiqué said today. The communiqué did not list the weapons, but an International Red Cross Meeting last September specified napalm, white phosphorus, fragmentation weapons, and time bombs among weapons considered excessively cruel.” The September meeting presumably refers to the Lucerne Conference. In fact, of course, no such specific determination about napalm was adopted. The New York Times. “Ban on Cruel Arms Adopted at Geneva.” 12 April 1975: NYTimes.com.
36 On triethylaluminium see: Safety Officer in Physical Chemistry at Oxford University “Safety data for triethylaluminium.” 26 January 2009: Chem.Ox.ac.uk (”Colourless liquid with a characteristic smell. … Spontaneously flammable in air. … Corrosive — causes burns. Very destructive of respiratory tract.”) Classified documents released through Wikileaks.org suggest the U.S. deployed these armaments to Afghanistan in 2001, despite official denials. David Hambling. “U.S. Denies Incendiary Weapon Use in Afghanistan.” 15 May 2009: Wired.com. FLASH weapons appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers and the 1995 Commando movie. thrushjz. “carrie fisher as deadly mistress in blues brothers movie.” 12 November 2009: YouTube.com. 1’30”. TheRareVideoChannel. “Arnold Schwarzenegger | Commando  | Theatrical Trailer [HD].” 2 July 2010: YouTube.com. 0’45”.
37 The conference was authorized by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 32/152 (XXXII). 19 December 1977. See William G. Schmidt. “The Conventional Weapons Convention: Implications for the American Soldier.” 1984: 24 Air Force Law Review.281 note 11. Preparatory discussions took place in September 1978 and March-April 1979. Fenrick. “New Developments in the Law Concerning the Use of Conventional Weapons in Armed Conflict.” 1981: 19 Canadian Yearbook of International Law. 238. The official title of the gathering was: “United Nations Conference on Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects.” United Nations Office at Geneva. Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects As Amended on 21 December 2001. 21 December 2001: UNOG.ch. See United Nations Conference on Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects. Final Act of the United Nations Conference on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, 19 I.L.M. 1523, Oct. 10 1980. Preamble. 10 October 1980: UMN.edu. (”Eighty-five States participated in the work of the Conference, 82 at the 1979 session, 76 at the 1980 session.”) On the prevalence of “arms control and disarmament personnel” at the C.C.W., and the minimal overlap between these delegates and attendees of the just-completed Diplomatic Conference, see Roach. “Certain Conventional Weapons Convention: Arms Control or Humanitarian Law?” 1984: 105 Military Law Review. 14.
Some argued that Protocol I covered a non-existent weapon, since no examples of such weapons had ever been located. Delegates amended Protocol II on 3 May 1996 “in response to the increasing human toll taken by these weapons.” Dignitaries added blinding laser weapons (Protocol IV), and “Explosive Remnants of War” (Protocol V — “the first multilaterally negotiated instrument to deal with the problem of unexploded and abandoned ordnance”) on 13 October 1995 and 28 November 2003, respectively. The Convention initially applied only to international armed conflicts. On 21 December 2001, delegates amended Article 1 to extend its authority to non-international disputes. United Nations Office at Geneva. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. No Date: UNOG.ch
Parks On post-World War II conflicts: “Controversy arose during the United States’ war in Vietnam as to weapons it employed there: its new, smaller-caliber (5.56x45mm) M-16 rifle, napalm, cluster munitions, flechettes, blast (high explosive) munitions, and so-called ‘plastic fragmenting munitions,’ for example.” Parks. “Means and Methods of Warfare.” 2006: 38 George Washington Int’l. Law Rev. 521. 512. See Parks. “The Protocol on Incendiary Weapons.” 1990: 279International Review of the Red Cross. 539, 541. (“In the conflicts since 1945, civilians had suffered all too often as a result of aerially-delivered incendiaries; even if incendiaries were lawful, new rules were necessary to increase protection of innocent civilians.”)
Sandoz has appointments at the University of Fribourg and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. He was based at I.C.R.C. headquarters from 1975 to 2000, and served as Director of International Law and Policy from 1983. United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law. “Biography: Mr. Yves Sandoz.” 2008:UNTreaty.UN.org.
38 Artillery, for example, killed more civilians in World War II than bombardment, and even in cases of incendiary attacks burial under rubble and debris and injury from flying fragments, and secondary injuries from explosions, surpassed burns as causes of civilian casualties. Parks. “The Protocol on Incendiary Weapons.” 1990: 279 International Review of the Red Cross. 539 (citing United States Strategic Bombing Survey). Unidentified delegates submitted the study during preparatory conferences.
Parks. “The Protocol on Incendiary Weapons.” 1990: 279 International Review of the Red Cross. 540. U.S. representative Michael J. Matheson also made a case for napalm’s value as a defensive munition. Schmidt. “The Conventional Weapons Convention.” 1984: 24 Air Force Law Review. 344
39 Compromises between Sweden and the United States established the final language. “I locked horns with my Swedish counterpart daily. But when it came time for agreement, he and I sat down and drafted what became Protocol III. … once the United States and Sweden were in agreement, it was a text to be taken to the bank,” Parks wrote. Parks. “Means and Methods of Warfare.” 2006: 38 George Washington Int’l. Law Rev. 536.
40 Parks wrote: “Agreement proved unobtainable … some delegations continuing to argue that protection for combatants from the effects of a lawful weapon was unprecedented and ill-advised.” Parks. “The Protocol on Incendiary Weapons.” 1990: 279 International Review of the Red Cross. 542-43. Sandoz asserted that the reason Protocol III does not cover combatants “is because emphasis was placed on the indiscriminate nature of these weapons and on the danger they present for civilians, rather than on their cruelty, an aspect which would have justified restriction of their use against combatants also. Sandoz. “Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons.” January-February 1981: 220International Review of the Red Cross. 13.
For U.S. negotiating strategy see Schmidt. “The Conventional Weapons Convention.” 1984: 24 Air Force Law Review. 293-4. Of “combined-effects munitions” Canadian Delegation member William Fenrick noted, “The exclusion of combined effect munitions from the application of the Protocol will probably limit the effect of the document over time as pure incendiary weapons are retired from national military stocks.” Fenrick. “New Developments in the Law Concerning the Use of Conventional Weapons in Armed Conflict.” 1981: 19 Canadian Yearbook of International Law. 255.
41 In sum, as Parks wrote, “Thermite (or thermate) munitions, flame throwers, and napalm are incendiary weapons, but weapons with incidental incendiary effects, such as white phosphorus and small arms tracer ammunition, are not.” Parks. “Means and Methods of Warfare.” 2006: 38 George Washington Int’l. Law Rev. 521-22. The Conference’s Working Group on Incendiary Weapons elaborated as follows on the meaning of “concentration of civilians:” the term “is intended to convey a word picture to the military commander regarding the protected character of the civilian population, rather than to present a precise mathematical or geographical formulation of what is a ‘concentration’ of civilians. The commander’s attention is directed by the definition to the concern he must have for the presence or absence of the civilian population, which is fluid in wartime, rather than to the character or size of the city, town, or village as such.” Schmidt. “The Conventional Weapons Convention.” 1984: 24 Air Force Law Review. 343.
42 Canadian Department of Defense Director of International Law William Fenrick asserts that “In practice this will mean that, even if civilians are present, incendiary attacks can be made if the civilians have taken shelter in bunkers or are at such a distance from the objective that the effects of the incendiary weapon will not affect them.” Fenrick. “New Developments in the Law Concerning the Use of Conventional Weapons in Armed Conflict.” 1981: 19 Canadian Yearbook of International Law. 249-50.
The meaning of “Air-delivered” is not defined, and at least one author has speculated it may include artillery. Schmidt. “The Conventional Weapons Convention.” 1984: 24 Air Force Law Review. 342-43. Soviet sponsorship of Article 2(4): Schmidt. “The Conventional Weapons Convention.” 1984: 24 Air Force Law Review. 345. On enforcement see W. J. Fenrick. “New Developments in the Law Concerning the Use of Conventional Weapons in Armed Conflict.” 1981: 19 Canadian Yearbook of International Law. 254-55.
43 “The Soviet Union’s acceptance today of a ban on using incendiaries on populated areas removed a major obstacle to the success of a 72-nation conference drafting a treaty to limit inhumane practices in nonnuclear wars,” the newspaper wrote. New York Times. “Soviet Accepts Curb on Bombing; The Treaty and Protocols.” 8 October 1980: NYTimes.com.
44 But see Fenrick, who downplayed the practical importance of this limitation: “[T]he primary effect of the incendiaries Protocol is to ban fire-bombing raids of urban complexes as practised in World War II, a method of warfare which is probably obsolete.” Fenrick. “New Developments in the Law Concerning the Use of Conventional Weapons in Armed Conflict.” 1981: 19 Canadian Yearbook of International Law. 255.
“[A] significant step forward by the international community to restrict especially cruel and inhumane weapons,” in the words of Mikhail D. Sytenko, a Russian U.N. Under-Secretary General. “[A]n illustrative example of the possibility of reaching agreements on measures aimed at curbing the arms race and disarmament even in a complex international situation,” according to Chief Soviet U.N. representative Oleg A. Troyanovsky. Bernard D. Nossiter. “U.N. Members Sign Treaty on Napalm and Land Mines.” 11 April 1981: NYTimes.com.
The U.S.S.R., now the Russian Federation, signed Protocol III on 10 June 1982. United Nations Office at Geneva. “Russian Federation.” States parties and signatories C.C.W.. No Date: UNOG.ch. More generally, “The greatest development in the law of war with respect to means and methods of warfare in recent history has been in the area of regulation of certain conventional weapons,” Parks wrote in 2006. Parks. “Means and Methods of Warfare.” 2006: 38 George Washington Int’l. Law Rev. 511.
45 Countries that wanted to be designated “original parties” to the agreement had one year to endorse the C.C.W. and at least two of its protocols at U.N. headquarters in New York. U.S. representatives signed the main treaty and Protocols I (”Non-Detectable Fragments”) and II (”Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices”) just 48 hours before the deadline. United Nations Office at Geneva. “United States of America.” States parties and signatories C.C.W.. No Date: UNOG.ch. Despite a significant initial group of signatories, broader global acceptance took several decades. “[After 2 December 1983] acceptance of the C.C.W. was, at best, underwhelming. Ten years after entry into force, only thirty-nine nations were State Parties,” Parks observed. “Means and Methods of Warfare.” 2006: 38 George Washington Int’l. Law Rev. 524.
13. Judgment Day
2 Ethiopia: See Dean Brelis. “Notes on a Land of Mirages” 25 July 1977: Time.com. Dan Connell. “Ethiopia uses napalm in battle to save port.” 20 January 1978: The Times. GaleGroup.com. John Darnton. “Addis Ababa’s Forces Launch Major Drive on Eritrean Rebels, Heavy Fighting Around Asmara. 20,000 Ethiopians Reported Involved — Role of Cubans and Soviet Union Is Uncertain.” 17 May 1978: NYTimes.com. (”[F]ighter planes based in Asmara have intensified bombing raids, using napalm and cluster bombs.”) New York Times. “ETHIOPIA SAID TO OPEN DRIVE AGAINST ERITREA REBELS.” 21 February 1982: NYTimes.com. (Rebels claim that “Ethiopian Government was using chemical weapons, napalm and cluster bombs against the rebel forces.”) The Economist. “Ethiopia: Back to the Trenches.” 23 November 1985: The Economist.LexisNexis.com. (”Napalm has been used against the camps where civilians displaced by the famine have been resettled.”) Secessionists defeated Ethiopia in 1991. Eritrea was admitted to the United Nations in 1993. United Nations. “Member States of the United Nations.” 3 July 2006: UN.org. Rhodesia and Angola: See Robin Wright. “Rhodesia Reports Extending Raids Into Mozambique.” 31 May 1977: The Washington Post in Los Angeles Times. B10. ProQuest.UMI.com. New York Times. “Angola Drive Reported Against Guerrillas.” 5 April 1978: NYTimes.com. (”Western diplomats say Cuban troops backed by Angolan forces, Soviet jet fighters and napalm bombs attack pro-Western guerrilla forces in Angola.”).
5 The Post’s editors wrote: “During a satellite telephone call from Grozny last week, President Dzhokhar Dudayev of Chechnya called for a cutoff of U.S. aid to Russia. The Russians, said Dudayev, are deliberately attacking the civilian population in Chechnya, using multiple rocket launchers, napalm, cluster bombs and phosphorus bombs.” Washington Post. “Chechnya’s Resolve.” 30 January 1995: The Washington Post. A15. Veteran Financial Times reporter Anatol Lieven rejected the claim. “Nor did the Russians ever use napalm or its equivalent in Chechnya — they were accused of doing so, but neither I nor any other Western journalist I knew ever saw any evidence of it.” Anatol Lieven. Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power. 1998: Yale University Press. 33. Books.Google.com.
6 Napalm was only in Marine Corps inventory during Operation Desert Storm. Dennis P. Levin. “Oral History Interview. DSIT AE 015. MAJ Walter Wilson, Jr. S-3, 1st Battalion, 504th Infantry.” Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. 14 January 1991: History.Army.mil. (”MAJ WILSON: According to the Air Force guys that is not in their inventory, it is only in the Navy’s. … We talked about that one night and he said the Air Force didn’t have napalm anymore, it is just a Navy/Marine thing.”) See Michael Kennedy. “Iraqis Torch Scores of Oil Facilities in Kuwait Gulf War: At least 150 of the emirate’s wells are set ablaze. Allies continue to hammer enemy forces.” 23 February 1991: Los Angeles Times. 1. ProQuest.com. (“Photographers near the front said they watched Marines load canisters of the jellied gasoline onto combat support aircraft that took off moments later for the north. One photographer said pilots told him they had been using the napalm on ‘bunkers, artillery positions’ and other emplacements. A senior Marine officer, who asked not to be named, told the Associated Press that the napalm was to be used against entrenched enemy troops, ‘just like in Vietnam.’ However, Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Tull, a Central Command spokesman, said the napalm was being used only on the oil-filled trenches Iraqi troops are using as defense barriers. ‘It is not being used on personnel,’ Tull said. ‘Warfare is a very nasty business, and this is one of the nasty weapons that is, from time to time, used,’ Air Chief Marshal Michael Armitage told British Broadcasting Corp. radio in London. ‘If you’re trying to dig out troops from well-entrenched bunkers and so on along the Kuwait border . . . then one of the ways which you might do it is by using napalm,’ he said.”)
7 The other towns designated U.N. “safe havens” were Srebrenica, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Žepa and Goražde.
10 The Pittsburgh airport uses eight plowing, sweeping and blowing machines that move side by side, followed by a snow thrower, to clear runways. A chemical truck follows and sprays anti-skid agent as needed. It has won the International Balchen/Post award for excellence in the performance of airport snow and ice control four times and received an honorable mention six times. Pittsburgh International Airport. “ACAA Recognizes Success of Snow Removal Program at PIT.” 30 October 2009: PittAirport.com.
11 The island is now home to a thriving tourism industry and was voted Best Caribbean Island by Travel & Leisure magazine in 2008. “Where getting away from the everyday means stepping back into when time stood still,” according to the luxury W Retreat and Spa. W Hotels. “W Retreat and Spa – Vieques Island.” 2012: StarwoodHotels.com.
14 Contractors floated the bow and attempted to tow it to sea for disposal. A storm snapped the tow cable, however, and the hulk drifted to shore. It had to be refloated and towed a second time. Finally, a destroyer and submarine sank it with explosive charges, shells from a deck gun, and a torpedo. Engineers could not float the stern, and had to build a system of fixed barges, cranes, and a cable car to cut it into pieces that could be removed. The process took nine years and engendered intense debate and numerous lawsuits over issues of cost, procedure, legal precedent, and environmental impact. Oregon Department of State Lands. “The Wreck of the New Carissa.” 2 August 2011: Oregon.gov.
A 1967 attempt by British authorities to use napalm bombs to burn the oil tanker Torrey Canyon, which ran aground near Land’s End, was even less successful. Relatively little of the oil burned. About 119,000 tons of crude polluted 120 miles of the Cornish coast and killed 15,000 sea birds. Reports that one-quarter of the bombs missed their target subjected the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to ridicule. BBC. “On This Day: 1967: Bombs rain down on Torrey Canyon.” 18 March 1967 rpt. 29 March 2008: BBC.co.uk. Pollution statistics: BBC. “Torrey Canyon ‘lessons learned.’” 19 March 2007: BBC.co.uk. See “Torrey Canyon.” 29 March 1967: GettyImages.com.
30 Army Chief Chemical Officer E. F. Bullene offered an innovative etymological derivation in 1952 when he wrote “After many trials and tests, our scientists finally settled on a mixture of aluminum napthenate and certain fatty compounds of coconuts. From these came the name napalm; the nap from napthenate and the palm from the coconut palm.” E. F. Bullene. “It’s not new but Napalm is an all-purpose WONDER WEAPON.” November 1952: United States Army Combat Forces Journal. 26.
14. The Weapon That Dare Not Speak Its Name
27 “Cluster munitions are large weapons which are deployed from the air and from the ground and release dozens or hundreds of smaller submunitions. Submunitions released by air-dropped cluster bombs are most often called ‘bomblets,’ while those delivered from the ground by artillery or rockets are usually referred to as ‘grenades.’ … [T]heir widespread dispersal means they cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so the humanitarian impact can be extreme … Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and become de facto antipersonnel mines killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended. Cluster Munition Coalition. “The Problem.” No Date: StopClusterMunitions.org.
In 2008, 97 countries and 10 non-governmental groups gathered in Geneva to discuss expanding the C.C.W. to cover cluster weapons (a total of 104 countries had declared their support for the Cluster Weapons Convention’s comprehensive ban at the time) but reached no conclusion. Jeff Abramson. “Senate Mulls C.C.W. Edits; Cluster Munitions Debated.” July/August 2008 corrected 8 October 2008: ArmsControl.org.
31 See United States Joint Forces Command. “Strategy and Policy Directorate (J5).” No Date: JFCom.mil. (”J5 builds and refines strategy and policy on a national and command level through the analysis of current documents, development and coordination of strategy and policy as well as laying the foundation to optimize strategic decisions at the command group level.”) See also Richard Lugar. “Prepared Statement of Hon. Richard G. Lugar, U.S. Senator from Indiana.” U.S. Senate Exec. Report 110-22. 38. FAS.org. (”Some members of the international community have proposed addressing issues related to cluster munitions and other weapons outside the Convention on Conventional Weapons. Some have suggested creating new forums or treaty organizations. This administration and its predecessors have made important progress in constructing the C.C.W.. It strikes the right balance in addressing important deficiencies in international law, while preserving critical U.S. national security interests. Scuttling all of this hard work and starting anew is unlikely to prove beneficial to U.S. interests.”)
34 Obama also approved the other C.C.W. Protocols which the U.S. had not yet endorsed — IV, on “blinding laser weapons,” and V, on the “explosive remnants of war” — an endorsed an amendment to the convention that expanded its scope to “non-international armed conflicts.” U.S. Department of State. “Media Note: ‘U.S. Joins Four Law of War Treaties.” 23 January 2009: State.gov.
35 Article 20(5): “[A] reservation is considered to have been accepted by a State if it shall have raised no objection to the reservation by the end of a period of twelve months after it was notified of the reservation or by the date on which it expressed its consent to be bound by the treaty, whichever is later.” United Nations. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. 1969: UN.org.