A Strange and Formidable Weapon: British Responses to World by Marion Leslie Girard

By Marion Leslie Girard

The arrival of poison fuel in global conflict I surprised Britons in any respect degrees of society, but through the top of the clash their kingdom used to be a pacesetter in chemical battle. even if by no means used at the domestic entrance, poison fuel affected nearly each phase of British society bodily, mentally, or emotionally, proving to be an armament of overall battle. via cartoons, army files, novels, treaties, and different resources, Marion Girard examines the numerous methods diversified sectors of British society considered chemical conflict, from the industrialists who promoted their poisonous guns whereas keeping inner most regulate of production, to the politicians who used gasoline whereas balancing the necessity for victory with the chance of constructing a name for barbarity. even supposing such a lot Britons thought of gasoline a vile weapon and a symptom of the enemy’s inhumanity, many ultimately condoned its use. The public debates in regards to the way forward for gasoline prolonged to the interwar years, and facts unearths that the taboo opposed to poison fuel was once faraway from inevitable. a wierd and ambitious Weapon uncovers the complex historical past of this weapon of overall warfare and illustrates the widening involvement of society in war. (20090401)

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15 Gas appeared to be the miracle weapon at this point, capable of breaking the stalemate of the Western Front. Two days later, the Canadians proved that troops could withstand gas, although at a great cost in lives, even without sophisticated antigas helmets. Although there was no way of knowing whether the Germans would use gas again, the general assumption was that they would, and thus Britain needed to start an antigas helmet industry as well as institute military training to respond to the threat.

Because gas had never been used, it was unclear exactly how a chemical weapon would work. The best that the diplomats could do was to envision an existing weapon modified to deploy gas; they tried to put gas into their conceptual framework of weapons. Shells were a sophisticated, modern armament, and thus they imagined that a dedicated scientist or soldier could turn a shell into a conveyor of gas. The Hague treaties were never intended to limit the distribution of gas specifically from shells, but to ban gas weapons altogether.

They provided links between multiple segments of society and the groups’ separate opinions of gas. The Basics of Gas Examining gas in terms of some of the major issues of the twentieth century has been a complex undertaking from World War I onward, but gas has also inspired questions and confusion in those who have simply tried to define it. Prototypes of chemical weapons had been discussed and proposed before the end of the nineteenth century. 48 Looking back further in history, some scholars argue that rudimentary chemical weapons have been in use for centuries.

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