The Development And Usage Of Gas Warfare

1820 words - 8 pages

Gas warfare was first introduced in World War I and continued to be used throughout World War II. It was most commonly used in the front lines, and was feared by many. Gas warfare was a very effective war tactic. The effects of gases were unbearable, which is what caused them to be so heavily feared. Luckily, by the time that World War II came about protective masks called, gas masks had been invented. This resulted in a decrease of use in World War II compared to World War I, however it did not totally destroy the effort (“Poison Gas and World War Two”).
There were many different purposes for gas warfare during World War I and II, gases could do anything from merely disabling soldiers, to killing hundreds at a time. The reasoning behind gas warfare was that it was something easy to use, but yet highly effective. The French were truly the first to use gas warfare, but many only know Germany’s usage as the first. The French however, used gas warfare for the first time in August of 1914. The French filled grenades with tear-gas and then launched them to the front lines of the enemy. That being said what was thought to be the first usage by the Germans was actually the second. Germany did not truly use gas warfare until the Second Battle of Ypres on April 22, 1915 (“Firstworldwar”).
Some common information about gas warfare includes: the different types of gas, common symptoms caused by gas, the effects gas has on the human body, and the overall effectiveness of gas. First, some of different types of gases used were Soman, Chlorine, Mustard Gas, and Phosgene (“Research”). According to Rod Powers, the editor of About.com who received information courtesy of the United States Army, some symptoms and the overall effect gas has on the body include, "A runny nose; tightness of the chest; dimness of vision and pin pointing of the eye pupils; difficulty in breathing; drooling and excessive sweating; nausea; vomiting, cramps, and involuntary defecation and urination; twitching, jerking, and staggering; and headache, confusion, drowsiness, coma, and convulsions. These symptoms are followed by cessation of breathing and death. Symptoms appear much more slowly from a skin dosage than from a respiratory dosage. Although skin absorption great enough to cause death may occur in 1 to 2 minutes, death may be delayed for 1 to 2 hours. Respiratory lethal dosages kill in 1 to 10 minutes, and liquid in the eye kills almost as rapidly." Although most gases are made to be lethal, some gases just inhabilitate soldiers for a period of time, rather than killing them (“Chemical Warfare Weapons Fact Sheets - Tabun - GA Nerve Agent”).
There are many different types of gas, each is unique to producing its own symptoms and effects. “The primary gases of World War I were Mustard, Phosgene, Chlorine, and a mix of Chlorine and Phosgene gases” (“Research”). Mustard gas is probably the most commonly known. Mustard gas was really painful because it caused the soldiers...

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