Tripping Through the Cold War: Drug Warfare in the Retrofuture
Chemical warfare is nothing new. As early as 428 BC the Spartans were burning wood soaked in resin and sulfur for use against their enemies. And the First World War is often remembered for its horrific deaths due to mustard gas. But the mid-20th century ushered in a new futuristic chemical weapon: LSD.
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline (peyote), and psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms) were all seen as possible contenders for non-lethal weapons of the future; sprayed on an unsuspecting army or civilian population and making them vulnerable to invasion.
An Associated Press story from the September 6, 1959 Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa warned that the nuclear stalemate with the Soviet Union might prompt the Russians to develop chemicals that could be used against the United States. Americans scientists were said to have developed their own weapons to counter-attack.
Working in deep secrecy, U.S. scientists almost overnight have developed an arsenal of fantastic new weapons, variously known as psycho-chemicals and “madness” gases, which could virtually paralyze an enemy nation without firing a shot