Black Death

The fleas bit into Huang Yuefeng as he pulled the socks onto a friend's corpse, which he was preparing to bury. The young peasant didn't know at the time that the bugs had dropped from a Japanese airplane, or that his village in central China's Hunan province had fallen victim to World War II's most devastating germ warfare attack. He knew only that first the rats died, then the people died—often covered with purple splotches and lying in their own vomit. Locals called it the "rat plague." In fact it was the bubonic plague—the Black Death that killed a third of...

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