Bob Neer will explain the story of napalm’s creation at Harvard University in 1942 in a top secret military research collaboration; a plan to attack Japan with millions of kamikaze bats armed with tiny napalm time bombs; and its devastating deployment in Europe and Asia in World War II, including the U.S. incineration of over 89,000 people in Tokyo in 1945 (more than died at Hiroshima or Nagasaki). Napalm has been used in virtually every subsequent major military conflict, from the Greek Civil War and Vietnam War to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. In 2009, on his second day in office, President Obama signed a treaty that forbids the use of this weapon against “concentrations of civilians” — subject to a substantial caveat. The accord remains unratified by the Senate.

Neer is a J.D./Ph.D. Candidate in U.S. History at Columbia University in New York City. Focusing in U.S. History, Neer is also interested in political issues and philosophy. Neer co-founded the most widely-read political blog in New England, He has also been involved in encouraging political participation by U.S. citizens abroad. Neer received his undergraduate degree in U.S. History from Harvard College.

Robert Neer is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History at Columbia University.

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