When we expect of weapons of war, most of us consider tanks, fighters, and artillery. Those who’ve experienced war within the Middle East over the previous few many years may consider improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and chemical weapons. But a weapon doesn’t should be a tool that may cause quick death and destruction. Some weapons are way more insidious. The latest movie from Forgotten weapons shows an example of a highly effective secret weapon created by Imperial Japan during World War II to overthrow and demoralize their enemies: opium cigarettes. These armed cigarettes were secretly flavored with opium and distributed throughout China for the aim cause widespread addictionresulting in a gradual source of income for Japan in addition to reducing Chinese resistance to Japanese invasion.
Opium Cigarettes: Using Addiction as a Weapon
Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons discussed the history of those opium cigarettes with Patrick Phillips, creator Emperor tobacco. Phillips explains that the pinnacle of Japanese intelligence in Manchuria, General Kenji Doihara, initiated the opium cigarette program, distributing them to warlords throughout China. These warlords then placed cigarettes in bars, brothels and gaming houses where unsuspecting Chinese residents bought and smoked them.
Since Golden Bat was already a cheap and well-known brand of cigarettes in China before this program, and there have been no visible signs of the addition of trace amounts of opium, smokers suspected nothing. The drug created a pleasing relaxing effect that kept smokers coming back for more and shortly became addicted. It may be very likely that this idea was inspired by the British involvement in opium smuggling to China in 1700 and 1800.
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We assumed it may very well be a mostly failed experiment, identical to in Japan high altitude incendiary balloons against the continental United States. However, Phillips says that was not the case with opium cigarettes. “It was on a big scale and it worked. In fact, it worked very well for the Japanese. Authorities later testified that this system generated as much as $300 million a yr for the Japanese government.
The leader of the combat cigarette program, General Doihara, was convicted of various war crimes and hanged after World War II. According to former SOE agent Ronald Sydney Seth, “[Doihara’s] played a key role in destroying China’s ability to withstand Japan’s expansion by generating chaotic conditions that prevented a mass response within the occupied country.“
Watch the complete Forgotten Weapons video below for more, or grab a replica of Patrick Phillips’ book here.
History likes to repeat itself, so we won’t help but wonder in regards to the existence of contemporary programs inspired by the success of this opium cigarette program, just as Imperial Japan was inspired by 18th-century British opium distribution.
Consider the incontrovertible fact that China is the important exporter of fentanyl, the opioid drug it generates record overdose and year-by-year addiction rates within the United States. China has also expressed great interest in using unconventional and “War Without Limits” agendas akin to economic warfare, political warfare, and cultural subversion against technologically superior adversaries (namely, the United States). The CCP’s military officers stated that these programs could “have the identical and much more destructive power than military war.While it’s definitely possible (even plausible) that China’s fentanyl exports are being deliberately used to demoralize and destabilize the CCP’s enemies, there is no such thing as a solution to conclusively prove it.
For one other example of using drug exports as a source of military funding, we recommend reading about opium production in Afghanistan and its ties to the Taliban.