This chapter explores the medical and scientific experiments that were conducted on army personnel between 1939 and 1945. These included trials of therapeutic drugs, synthetic stimulants and exposure to chemical agents. It examines the aims and objectives of agencies like the Medical Research Council and the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment at Porton Down, which conducted wartime research. These provide glimpses into the mind-set and decisions made by experimenters regarding the types of bodies that were considered most useful and the levels of risk to which they were to be exposed. The chapter then explores how servicemen encountered medical and scientific experiments. It shows that while some men were forced to take part in human trials by military superiors, many others willingly volunteered. They did so for extra money, time off or to enjoy an enhanced sense of status. Participants also had clear ethical expectations for their bodies, such as being informed about the nature of tests, providing voluntary consent and receiving safeguards to protect their health. This chapter therefore highlights the active role that soldiers played in shaping wartime research as they engaged, and indeed withdrew, their bodies in the demands of experimental science.
Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.