´╗┐

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 diedŚoften covered with purple splotches and lying in their own vomit. Locals called it the "rat plague." In fact it was the bubonic plagueŚthe Black Death that killed a third of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!