Chemical Warfare in World War I Essay

5438 WordsJun 13, 201322 Pages
Juliana Amenta 2/18/13 Mr. Zastrow Chemical Warfare During World War 1 The first World War has been reported to be one of the most brutal wars in the history of time for many reasons. One of those reasons was strategic usage of chemical warfare. Chemical gas was used on both sides of the line, which turned out to be fatal for many. World War I was mostly fought in the trenches, where soldiers lived in deep, v-shaped holes or underground bunkers. Both sides would occupy these trenches in order to escape from the constant stream of bullets. These battles often ended in a standoff, or tie, which helped the introduction of a different, brand new style of fighting that included the use of chemicals. These chemicals had a range of…show more content…
This gas may cause temporary blindness and inflammation of the nose and throat of the victim. A gas mask would easily offer good protection against this gas. This chemical and any chemical with bromide were quite popular during World War I since it was easily brewed. Asphyxiates are the poisonous gases which include chlorine, phosgene, and diphosgene. Chlorine inflicts damage by forming hydrochloric acid when it comes in contact with moisture such as what is found in the lungs and eyes. It is lethal at a ratio of 1:5000 (gas/air), whereas phosgene is deadly at 1:10,000 (gas/air) - twice as toxic! Diphosgene, first used by the Germans at Verdun on 22 June, 1916, was deadlier still and could not be effectively filtered by standard issue gas masks. Blistering Agents, like mustard gas, were seen as the most dreadful of all chemical weapons in World War I. Unlike the other gases which attacked the respiratory system, this gas acts on any exposed, moist skin, which makes it extremely dangerous. This includes, but is not limited to, the eyes, lungs, armpits and groin. Obviously, a gas mask that covered one’s face could offer very little to no protection whatsoever. The oily reacting agent would produce large burn-like blisters wherever it came in contact with skin. It also had a way of hanging around in low areas for hours, even days, after being
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