An American-Made Miracle: The Politicization of Penicillin During World War II
The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 revolutionized the way infections were treated. In the context of World War II, the government of the United States politicized the production and use of penicillin as yet another weapon to win the war. It was carefully rationed on the home front, while being used with reckless abandon in the treatment battle wounds and venereal diseases on the battlefield. Penicillin was described as a miracle drug that would be able to cure everyone, when in reality it was only being used to benefit the military and the American war effort, at the expense of civilian lives.