Fashioning a Frightful Weapon of War

Scott Christianson

in The Last Gasp

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780520255623
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945616 | DOI:
Fashioning a Frightful Weapon of War

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The Great War that began in August 1914 ushered in deadly new weapons, including modern artillery, tanks, airplanes, and machine guns. The terror of modern chemical warfare was unleashed on the world when German troops clandestinely buried thousands of canisters containing the poisonous chlorine gas along the lines at Ypres. As a result of Germany's actions at Ypres, previous agreements had gone out the window, and the resulting arms race to devise more and deadlier gases would transform the nature of war itself and have many profound implications for the development of the gas chamber. Germany's first use of poison gas in World War I reflected its global dominance in the field of chemistry. Not to be outdone by the Germans, Britain set up a massive chemical warfare center at Porton Down. The Allies also established gas schools in France to train every soldier in chemical warfare tactics. In the United States, plants were built to manufacture poison gases for its troops or its allies.

Keywords: World War I; gas chamber; poison gas; Germany; arms race; chemical warfare; Allies; gas schools; Britain; United States

Chapter.  7558 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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