WI: Germany Uses Chemical or Biological Weapons on Populations During Invasion of the Soviet Union

Vaporized

Banned
What if Germany started using chemical or biological weapons against the populations of major cities in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe? What if these are used in mass numbers enough to wipe out the populations of Stalingrad, Moscow, and elsewhere?

Does this help accelerate plans for occupation?
 
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No.
The Germans lacked strategic delivery capacity and chemical weapons aren't that useful against area targets. Plus, while the Soviet CBW defense plans weren't great, the German military was very vulnerable to retaliatory CW attacks.
As of Barbarossa the Germans had little biological warfare capability; Blitzableiter wasn't started until '43.
 

nbcman

Donor
They did. They used Zyklon B against the population of those cities in their extermination plants. And the Einsatzgruppen used gas vans in their efforts in the East.
 
Why. Up until they ground to a halt in front of Moscow there weren't enough worthwhile targets to hit.

Besides, the Germans were worried that the Russians had nerve agents. The original scientific research that led to the various German nerve gasses was carried out and published by Russian scientists working on pesticides, the Germans were convinced that the Russians must also have come to the same conclusions and developed similar weapons. Therefore the Germans didn't want to find themselves being hit by Russian versions of Sarin or Soman.

The joke of course was that the Russians hadn't worked out that particular line of development.
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
They did. They used Zyklon B against the population of those cities in their extermination plants. And the Einsatzgruppen used gas vans in their efforts in the East.
Zyklon is no good as a weapon. It needed confined areas to work as it dispersed too easily.

The Nazis didn’t start using zyklon in the concentration camps until ‘42.

Most gas vans used exhaust fumes to do the killing which isn’t any use as a weapon. The others used canisters of carbon monoxide, which again, would disperse too readily if used in the open.
 

nbcman

Donor
Zyklon is no good as a weapon. It needed confined areas to work as it dispersed too easily.

The Nazis didn’t start using zyklon in the concentration camps until ‘42.

Most gas vans used exhaust fumes to do the killing which isn’t any use as a weapon. The others used canisters of carbon monoxide, which again, would disperse too readily if used in the open.
The OP states that it is used against the population of the major cities, not the city itself. So the population doesn’t necessarily need to be in the city when they are affected by the agent which was used to kill them.
 
Hitler didn't like chemical weapons ever since he got gassed in WW1.
And the Nazis were not too keen on using either, unlike the Japanese.
 

nbcman

Donor
Hitler didn't like chemical weapons ever since he got gassed in WW1.
And the Nazis were not too keen on using either, unlike the Japanese.
Amazing how often this lie comes up. Hitler had no compunctions on using chemical agents in the death camps where the prisoners couldn't retaliate. He didn't give permission to use chemical agents because he was afraid of the consequences since the Western Allies would surely counter with their own chemical agents. And with the Germans reliant on animal transportation that was more susceptible to chemical agents than humans, that was a losing prospect.
 
Hitler was against the use or development of offensive biological weapons and specifically barred it. However, the SS had its own secret program Himmler authorized. Himmler was the only top ranking official interested in the idea of developing or potentially deploying biological weapons on Western or Soviet cities. Based on my research into the topic the generals who had some say in the process and probably Hitler as well feared they might end up unleashing a genie like the 1918 Spanish Flu they could not control.

From America's Biological Warfare Program in the Second World War by Barton J. Bernstein below

Unlike the Western allies, Japan, and probably the Soviet Union, Germany never embarked upon a substantial research program for offensive biological warfare. In 1939, Hitler barred all offensive work. and his prohibition, despite the chafing of some German biologists, was periodically reaffirmed during the war. By 1941, German intelligence agents were reporting on British research and even warned that England would initiate biological warfare toward the end of the war after the Luftwaffe had been weakened and German 'reprisals will be at a minimum'. Among the alleged British research projects were those for anthrax, plague, glanders, and dysentry.

Intelligence from 'a very reliable agent' also reported that the United States was working on anthrax, hoof and mouth disease, and glanders.40 Even in early 1942, when German intelligence warned that the western allies might soon drop potato beetles and Texas fever ticks on Germany, Hitler refused to budge. He 'ordered', in the words of the then-secret minutes, 'that no preparations for [offensive] BW are to be made by us', but stres. the need for preparations against possible enemy attacks. The German arnit: bluntly informed scientists, 'the use of BW against England is out of question'.41 'Up to this time the fear of reprisals has prevented mass use [of biologi1 warfare but] the unambiguous fact [is] that our enemies have worked diligent on BW', a German scientist warned in early 1943 in pleading for offensive research.

Yet, Hitler again decreed, in the words of the minutes, 'Bacteria are not to be used as weapons'. According to these minutes, 'It was emphasized that if we did not begin immediately with preparations of our own, countermeasures [German retaliation] could not be applied. Even bacterial activity through [sabotage] is out of the question.' Hitler would still only allow defensive work.42 Some German scientists, perhaps eager to do offensive work, argued, plausibly, that defensive preparations could not be effective unless they also investigated offensive uses and pathogens. Scientists thus received permission for some limited work, mostly on potato beetles and on foot and mouth disease. 'The experiments planned [on offensive bacterial warfare] are not at variance with the Fuhrer's order', a 30 March 1943 military conference concluded.

Actually, the scientists may have cheated a little to edge into offensive work. In July i943, violating Hitler's ban, German scientists recommended some biological weapons in sabotage: injecting botulin toxin or typhoid in toothpaste and in such foods as sausage, sugar, and pudding. Despite military complaints about Polish and Soviet biological-warfare sabotage against German soldiers, nothing came of these scientists' proposals.44 By early 1944, German intelligence told Berlin that the British feared that Hitler might soon start biological warfare. A month before D-Day, German intelligence reported, 'England is expecting more extensive preparations on the part of Germany and assumes that reprisals. will consist of the use of bacteria and their poisons. Therefore England is anxious to obtain information about the type and extent of German preparations. '45

Despite occasional German reports of allied work on anthrax, German defensive precautions in mid-1944 concentrated on protecting livestock in France from foot and mouth disease by inoculating 450,000 animals against it. Curiously, there are neither reports or even hints - at least in the captured German files at the National Archives - of the allies' 1944 botulin threats reaching Germany. The allied strategy of deterrence, with its calculated leak about mass inoculations against botulin, was apparently both ineffective and unnecessary. 46 In late 1943 or 1944, Heinrich Himmler, apparently circumventing Hitler's orders, authorized a laboratory for offensive bacterial research. 'Little progress was made by this group', the post-war American investigation concluded, because the work started so late, the working conditions were unfavorable, and the selection of researchers was poor.'

Hitler's own motives for prohibiting such offensive research remain unclear. Of the top German leaders, only Heinrich Himmler, according to a post-war American report, expressed any desire to use offensive biological warfare.
 
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