Chemical warfare during world war 1 essay

Definitions of Japanese war crimes SoochowChina, A ditch full of the bodies of Chinese civilians killed by Japanese soldiers.

Chemical warfare during world war 1 essay

The German scientist had proposed using chlorine gas on Allied troops, overseen its development as a weapon, and gone to the front lines himself to supervise placement of 5, gas cylinders along a 4-mile stretch of road near the trenches outside the Belgian town of Ypres.

And then Haber waited at the front lines for weeks, until the prevailing wind turned northwest. Fritz Haber Haber had fought his own battle to just get the opportunity to try out the gas.

Most of the German High Command was skeptical of poison gas as a weapon. Six months into the war, Haber had managed to convince only one commander on the Western Front to try out chlorine gas. After this chlorine attack killed more than 1, soldiers and injured many more, the lack of support changed dramatically.

Chemical warfare during world war 1 essay

The first large-scale use of chemical weapons that day in ignited a chemical arms race among the warring parties. By the end of World War I, scientists working for both sides had evaluated some 3, different chemicals for use as possible weapons; around 50 of these poisons were actually tried out on the battlefield, says Joseph Gala historian of chemistry at the University of Colorado, Denver.

The strategic power of chemical weapons in WWI was in the psychological terror they caused rather than the number of soldiers they killed: It might have done more damage, but both sides quickly developed protective gas masks that contained a wide variety of neutralizing agents.

Even though poison gas was not an efficient killing weapon on WWI battlefields, its adoption set a precedent for using chemicals to murder en masse.

In the past century, poison gas has killed millions of civilians around the world: By chance, the test site—what was to become known as Flanders Fields—also happened to be of strategic importance.

The Allies held Ypres, located about 25 miles from the Atlantic coast and near a major supply port.


In the first weeks of WWI, Germany had marched, seemingly unstoppable, through Belgium and France, occupying land quickly and easily.

But the Allied defense ramped up. Both sides capitalized on the Industrial Revolution to mass-produce weapons that could kill at close range—grenades, machine guns, shell artillery, and more—but neither warring party could get the upper hand.

Haber argued that chemical weapons could help end the impasse—and the war—in a matter of months. WWI raged on for another three-and-a-half years after chlorine gas was first deployed near Ypres.

Then late that afternoon, around 5: The others, gasping, stumbling, with faces contorted, hands wildly gesticulating, and uttering hoarse cries of pain, fled madly through the villages and farms and through Ypres itself, carrying panic to the remnants of the civilian population and filling the roads with fugitives of both sexes and all ages.

Hunter Haber and his scientific team had chosen chlorine gas for a few reasons. It was widely used in the German dye industry and thus widely available. From a practicality standpoint, chlorine gas was heavier than air and could sink into the trenches instead of disappearing up into the sky.

Finally, the gas was a powerful irritant to eyes, noses, lungs, and throats. At high enough concentrations, exposed victims would die of asphyxiation.The world was stunned to learn that India has now tested nuclear weapons.

For many years, all nations have been concerned about the proliferation of atomic explosives.

Chemical weapons in World War I - Wikipedia

Even in their distress, no one seems to be interested in the historic or the psychological record of why these weapons were developed, and what special breed of mankind devoted themselves to this diabolical goal.

First seen during World War I (WWI), the devastating effects of widespread chemical warfare were eventually deemed inhumane by an international consensus and chemical agents were subsequently banned from use. War crimes of the Empire of Japan occurred in many Asia-Pacific countries during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War incidents have been described as an Asian Holocaust.

Some war crimes were committed by military personnel from the Empire of Japan in the late 19th century, although most took place during the first . I’ll be accompanying some of the students from my school on a history trip to Ypres and a few other World War 1 battlefields in a few weeks’ time.

Obviously, they’d much rather be learning chemistry, so I’ve been reading up on the different chemical agents used during World War 1, and this.

The horrors of gas warfare caused public indignation, both during and after World War I. In a Geneva convention was signed outlawing the use of chemical weapons. Adolf Hitler, who had himself been a victim of mustard gas in , indignantly refused to deploy poison gas during World War II.

Fritz Haber - Wikipedia

The widespread use of these agents of chemical warfare, and wartime advances in the composition of high explosives, about 85% of the 90, deaths caused by chemical weapons during World War I. Austrian use. Italian dead after the Austrian gas attack on Monte San Michele.

The Tragedy of the Commons, by Garrett Hardin ()