The Dangerous Effects of Chemical Warfare in World War One

787 WordsFeb 17, 20183 Pages
Upon the battlefield of World War One, soldiers huddle in trenches, faces veiled behind gas masks. These bulky facial coverings were designed to protect the soldiers from deadly gases used by the enemy. The use of chemical agents in World War One led to the need for the production of better protection from the deadly effects of the agents. Chlorine gas could be dropped from cylinders above the victims, its high density causing it to flow downwards onto its unsuspecting foe (Fire 121). Also, the British Authorities struggled to decide whether or not to approve the use of gas for offensive use, and whether a large scale chemical war was something to be avoided at all costs (Girard 107). The gas masks worn by soldiers increased their discomfort and made it hard to move around, instilling a sense of panic in them when a gas raid was underway (Fire 121). The French were the first to fire asphyxiating gas shells from field guns and pioneered the use of gas as a neutralization weapon (Krause 553). The psychological damage of gas attacks on soldiers was mainly because of the horror of seeing their unprepared comrades suffocating and screaming in agony from burns inflicted by mustard gas (Fitzgerald 611). Animals were used in the World War, horses for transport, pigeons for contact, and dogs for protection and defense (Walk). Obviously, there would have to be modified gas masks for the animals on the battle field (Walk.) The panic of the early days of gas research led to
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