Lunch Hour Lecture: Looking for the Invisible Enemy: The Threat of Biological Warfare

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During the end stage of the First World War, suspicions spread in the Allied countries that the germ behind the 1918-19 ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic was in fact some form of German bioweapon – possibly launched in a desperate attempt to gain strategic advantage as Germany was sliding towards its eventual defeat. These suspicions resonated strongly with members of the public trying to understand the pandemic. Sometimes. they were also thought to be plausible by civil and military authorities. A variety of threat images emerged, ranging from enemy submarines to aspirin tablets, bars of soap, squirrels and a miniature toy cat. These old conspiracy theories provide an interesting parallel to the current claims that COVID-19, too, is some sort of a bioweapon that escaped from a ‘Chinese lab’. Furthermore, the anti-German hysteria and germ scares of 1918 are comparable to today’s ‘corona racism’, and suspicions that objects such as 5G cell-towers might be spreading the virus. Date: 24 November 2020 Speakers: Dr Mart Kuldkepp, Associate Professor in Scandinavian History and Politics at UCL Free to attend, live stream or watch online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY7vFbAmvRA&t=11s More info : http://events.ucl.ac.uk/lhl Join the conversation on Twitter at #UCLMinds #MadeAtUCL

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