In an interesting and backed-by-research documentary aired on the French language TV channel, TV5Monde, on Tuesday morning (Indian time), it was shown that Adolf Hitler had rejected the idea of using biological weapons, but the British were for it. The Allies were of the firm view that the Germans were already working on a biological weapons project and they were even ahead of the Allies in terms of achieving a breakthrough. The Allies at the time did not know that there was no such programme in Germany. Of course, the Germans were working on a nuclear weapon programme and so were the Japanese. The Americans beat them to it.
The Allies had chosen an island in Quebec provice of Canada in 1942, to experiment with anthrax production and test its lethal effects on animals. Most of the people in the Canadian province did not know about it. It it took nearly a year and more for the Canadian scientists to work out the anthrax bombs. The soldiers who were put on duty there and also the scientists who were working on it were susceptible to the dangers of the side-effects of the toxic research.
When it seemed quite feasible to pack the anthrax into bombs which then could be dropped on enemy territory -- in this case, Germany -- Winston Churchill, the war-time prime minister of Britain wanted the anthrax bombs to be used for destroying Aix-la-Chappelle, Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg. When some of the military officers expressed reservations against its use, he was supposed to have chided them not to behave like "maids singing hymns".
The war in Europe ended in 1945, and the anthrax research facility was closed in the Quebec province. The anthrax was detoxified and dumped into the Lawrence River. But the Americans showed great interest in it and wanted to develop biological weapons with the intention of using them against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The research in the US had apparently gone on till 1956.
It should not then come as a surprise that Churchill, the liberal-conservative democrat, did not worry about the famine conditions in Bengal in 1943 and refused to divert ships and food supplies. He was more than anything else a ruthless leader who believed in his own cause, and he thought that no price is too high for it.