• The National WWII Museum
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Lagniappe Lecture
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Dr. Mark Plotkin presents "Quinine, Rubber, Sherman Tanks and Japanese Submarines: How Rainforest Plants Served as Key Strategic Materials in World War II"

Join us for a special presentation on Thursday, September 11, 2014, as world-renowned explorer and Time magazine “Hero for the Planet” Mark Plotkin explores how plants and plant products played an important role in World War II.

Though the role of plants has seldom been featured in the many histories of World War II, their importance is undeniable. Quinine was originally from the Andes but, by the beginning of the 20th century, most of it was being produced in plantations in Southeast Asia. Rubber, too, is native to South America but was transported to the Asian tropics in the 19th century and grown in industrial plantations.

One of the major threats to the Allies when the Japanese seized tropical Asia the day after Pearl Harbor was that they were left with little in the way of quinine and rubber. Quinine was important in battling malaria and, since each Sherman tank required a half ton of rubber, the Japanese takeover of Pacific plantations severely constricted America's ability to produce tanks as fast as they were needed.

Plotkin will give a historical overview of the ways plants have served as strategic necessities in warfare through the ages but will focus most closely on the relatively untold story of the role of these materials in World War II.

Don’t miss this fascinating perspective on the war that changed the world! This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required.

Time: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

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