Chemical Warfare During World War I Essay example
Chemical warfare can be traced as far back as fifth century B.C when Athens and Sparta were at the height of their series of wars. While, the agents created were rudimentary, nothing but a lighted mixture of wood, pitch, and sulfur thrown under walls, it laid the foundation for the beginning chemical warfare used by empires and countries for decades to come (Charles E. Heller, 1984). World War I created an environment that allowed the most intelligent scientists from around the world to research and develop chemical agents to be used against their enemies.
Throughout World War I many chemical agents were researched, developed and utilized by German and Allied forces. While we might first think only of tear gas, we must also consider liquid flammable material, thermite and smoke as part of the chemical warfare used throughout the War. Many different categories of chemical agents were created including tear gases such as xylyl bromide, asphyxiators, toxic gases, hydrogen cyanide, sternutators, and blister agents. Each of agents proved to be devastating to the enemy when utilized on the battlefield and each brought with it substantial injuries and loss of life throughout the War.
While all the above-mentioned agents were important in their production and part in the evolution of chemical agents, the agent that stands out in the history books is the production of chlorine gas by the Germans. Chlorine gas was one of the very first chemical weapon…