By Marion Leslie Girard
The appearance of poison gasoline in international struggle I stunned Britons in any respect degrees of society, but through the tip of the clash their country used to be a pacesetter in chemical conflict. even if by no means used at the domestic entrance, poison fuel affected virtually each section of British society bodily, mentally, or emotionally, proving to be an armament of overall conflict. via cartoons, army files, novels, treaties, and different resources, Marion Girard examines the various methods diverse sectors of British society considered chemical struggle, from the industrialists who promoted their poisonous guns whereas protecting deepest keep an eye on of production, to the politicians who used fuel whereas balancing the necessity for victory with the danger of constructing a name for barbarity. even though so much Britons thought of fuel a vile weapon and a symptom of the enemy’s inhumanity, many finally condoned its use. The public debates concerning the way forward for gasoline prolonged to the interwar years, and facts unearths that the taboo opposed to poison gasoline used to be faraway from inevitable. a wierd and ambitious Weapon uncovers the complex heritage of this weapon of overall warfare and illustrates the widening involvement of society in struggle. (20090401)
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Extra info for A Strange and Formidable Weapon: British Responses to World War I Poison Gas (Studies in War, Society, and the Militar)
Each side improved its defensive capabilities, including the alarms that the troops sounded in a gas attack, the chemicals that the respirators could defuse, and drills that the soldiers practiced when wearing them. With regard to offensive aspects, the armies changed the chemicals they used in order to penetrate the increasingly sophisticated helmets. They also attempted to outwit the foe’s antigas procedures over time by switching from lachrymators that temporarily blinded victims to mustard gas, a blistering, persistent agent that burned skin.
Britain had to consider whether she wanted the responsibility for shifting the gas war to a new phase. A third decision arose when Britain had to decide whether to introduce the new weapon into other theaters, spreading the gas war beyond the Western Front. The ﬁnal question was whether to stop the chemical war before the end of the larger conﬂict in response to a multinational International Red Cross appeal in , a request whose existence foreshadowed the postwar efforts to prohibit future gas use.
27 These doubts were few and far between, however, among the British population. m. indd 33 2/29/2008 9:31:19 AM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 The Political Challenge Force leader, sent a telegram to Lord Horatio Kitchener, the secretary of state for war, with the news that Britain’s allies had been devastated with a new weapon: Germans used powerful asphyxiating gases very extensively in attack on French yesterday with serious effect.
A Strange and Formidable Weapon: British Responses to World War I Poison Gas (Studies in War, Society, and the Militar) by Marion Leslie Girard