Dr. Walter E. Grunden


Walter E. Grunden, Ph.D.

  • Position: Professor
  • Phone: 419-372-8639
  • Email: wgrund@bgsu.edu
  • Address: 134 Williams Hall


  • Association for Asian Studies
  • History of Science Society
  • Ohio Academy of History
  • Pacific Circle


Professor Grunden obtained the Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Santa Barbara with an emphasis in Policy History. A specialist in Modern Japan and China, his primary research interests focus on the intersection of science, warfare, and society, particularly in World War II and the Cold War era. He is the author of the book Secret Weapons and World War II: Japan in the Shadow of Big Science as well as numerous academic articles and book chapters related to science, technology, society, and the military. Grunden has received numerous grants and fellowships including a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship in South Korea, a research grant from the Social Science Research Council, multiple awards from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and more. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia to conduct research and present lectures at professional meetings and conferences. His work has been published in Japanese, German, and Russian. Grunden has also served as a consultant to many media outlets and film makers and has appeared in documentaries aired on The History Channel, The Military History Channel, NHK Japan, NHK World, CCTV China, and most recently, Discovery Science. Professor Grunden concurrently holds a permanent appointment as a Visiting Research Professor at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI) in Hayama, Japan and serves as a consultant to the US federal government on historic preservation as a member of the Cold War Advisory Committee with the status of Special Government Employee under the Department of the Interior.

Fields of Study

  • Modern Japan and China
  • Science and Technology Policy
  • WMD (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare)
  • US Military/Military Intelligence


  • 2001-2002     Post-Doctoral Research Scholar, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan.
  • 1998                Ph.D., History, University of California at Santa Barbara                      
  • 1990                M.A., History, The Ohio State University                      
  • 1987                B.A., Japanese, The Ohio State University, with honors

Selected Publications:

  • Secret Weapons and World War II: Japan in the Shadow of Big Science. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. 335 pp. “Hallucinated Sensations: Brainwashing, CIA Mind Control, and Military Psychochemical Testing.” In Conflict and the Senses in the Global Cold War, ed. Bodo Mrozek. pp. TBD. Penn State University Press, forthcoming 2022.
  • “Japan’s Poison Gas Legacy: Industrial Disease, Environmental Remediation, and the Challenge of Abandoned Chemical Weapons (ACW) in East Asia.” The Korean Journal for the History of Science 43-2 (2021): 401-427.
  • “Physicists and ‘Fellow Travelers’: Nuclear Fear, the Red Scare, and Science Policy in Occupied Japan.” Journal of American-East Asian Relations 25, no. 4 (2018): 337-377.
  • “No Retaliation in Kind: Japanese Chemical Warfare Policy in World War II.” In 100 Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences, eds. Bretislav Friedrich, Dieter Hoffmann, et al., pp. 259-271. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, 2017.
  • “Hŭngnam Revisited: The ‘Secret’ Nuclear History of a North Korean City.” Intelligence and National Security 31 (August 2016): 715-728.
  • “The ‘Paranoid Style’ in the Pacific Theater: Government Cover-Ups, Conspiracy Theory, and War with Japan and Korea.” Journal for the Liberal Arts and Sciences 20 (Spring 2016): 27-64.
  • Grunden, Walter E., Mark Walker, and Masakatsu Yamazaki. “Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Energy in Wartime Germany and Japan.” In Politics and Science in Wartime: Comparative International Perspectives on Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes, eds. Mark Walker and Carola Sachse. Osiris 20 (2005): 107-130.
  • Nagase-Reimer, Keiko, Walter E. Grunden, and Masakatsu Yamazaki, “Nuclear Weapons Research in Japan during the Second World War.” In Comparative History of Nuclear Weapons Projects in Japan, Germany, and Russia in the 1940s, eds, Mark Walker and Masakatsu Yamazaki. Special Issue, Historia Scientiarum [The International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan] 14-3 (March 2005): 201-240.
  • “Voina i nauka v Iaponii” [War and Science in Japan]. Naukovedenie 3 (2001): 189-201.
  • “Hŭngnam and the Japanese Atomic Bomb: Recent Historiography of a Postwar Myth,” Intelligence and National Security 13 (Summer 1998): 32-60.                  

Selected Presentations:

  • “Japan’s Poison Gas Legacy: The Environmental Remediation of Abandoned Chemical Weapons in East Asia,” Modern Industrial Natures in Twentieth Century East Asia, Korean History of Science Society, Daejeon, South Korea (Virtual), April 26, 2021.
  • “MKULTRA and the Making of an American Zombie: CIA Human Experimentation in Hypnosis, Hallucinogens, Sensory Deprivation, and Mind Control,” Conflict and the Senses in the Global Cold War: From Propaganda to Sensory Warfare, Berlin Center for Cold War Studies of the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ), Stiftung Ernst‐Reuter‐Archiv Berlin, and the Université du Luxembourg (Virtual), October 13-16, 2020.
  • “Physicists and ‘Fellow Travelers’: Nuclear Fear and Japanese Scientists as Transmitters of Atomic Secrets,” Panel: Science on the Move: The Transnational Migration of Science, Technology, and Personnel in the Cold War, Asian Studies Conference Japan, International Christian University, Mitaka, Tokyo, June 30-July 1, 2018.
  • “The ‘Secret History’ of Hŭngnam: North Korea’s First WMD Research and Development City?” The University of Science and Technology (UST, Korea) and SOKENDAI Joint Science, Technology, and Society Workshop, Tamachi, Tokyo, June 21, 2018.
  • “The Left Behind: Travel Restrictions, Science Policy, and the Cold War in Occupied Japan,” The Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, April 3, 2018.
  • “Abhorrence and Moral High Ground: The Rhetoric of U.S. and Japanese Chemical WarfarePolicy in the Pacific War,” Panel: The Poison Gas Taboo: A Global Perspective, 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Arlington, VA, June 23, 2017.
  • “No Retaliation in Kind: Japanese Chemical Weapons Policy in China and the Pacific,”Symposium: 100 Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences, Sponsored by the Fritz Haber Institute and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Harnack House, Berlin, Germany, April 21-22, 2015.


Recent Grants:

  • Fulbright Korean-American Educational Commission, University of Science and Technology,
  • Daejeon, S. Korea in partnership with the U.S. Institute of International Education. (2020)
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, “Scientists under MacArthur: The Cold War and
  • Science Policy in Occupied Japan,” Invitational Fellowship for Research in Japan, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI). (2018)
  • Ohio History Connection, “Experiencing War: A Project to Preserve and Make Accessible Oral Histories of World War II,” Co-Principal Investigator with Michelle Sweetser, Nick Pavlik, and Kaysie Harrington. (2018)
  • Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS) Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship, Bowling Green State University. (2017)
  • Japan-United States Friendship Commission and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, Research Travel Grant for the United States. (2015)

Selected Media Appearances:

  • “Hitler’s Secret Bomb,” Discovery Science Channel, SeaLight Pictures, Sydney Australia, air date, August 22, 2021. (Consultant and Featured Commentator)
  • “The Hidden Poison Gas Battle,” [Japanese] NHK Tokyo, Japan, air date September 12, 2020.
  • Also broadcast as “Poisonous Secrets: What Did the US and Japan Bury?” [English] NHK World Prime-TV, November 14 and 20, 2020. (Consultant and Featured Commentator)
  • “Weird Weapons: The Axis,” The History Channel, Darlow Smithson Productions, London, England, airdate December 17, 2005. (Consultant and Featured Commentator)

Recent Courses Taught:

  • History of Asia (HIST 1800)
  • American Military History (HIST 3014)
  • World War II (HIST 3034)
  • Modern China (HIST 3675)
  • Pre-Modern Japan (HIST 3683)
  • Modern Japan (HIST 3695)
  • Problems in History: US & Asia in the Cold War (HIST 5820)
  • Introduction to Policy History (HIST 6120)
  • History of American Science Policy (HIST 6180)
  • Problems in History: The World War II Experience (HIST 6820)

Updated: 08/16/2022 01:57PM