Gas Mask Essay

1176 Words 5 Pages
The WWI gas mask emerged out of desperation as a result of the use of chemical weapons in the war of attrition that was World War I. The gas mask was not only a lifesaving invention, but it is symbolic of the fear that the threat of chemical warfare had on society. The gas mask was developed directly to combat the morally questionable act of using chemical weapons on the battlefield alongside with the intention of saving soldiers and civilians from dying in a gruesome and ‘inhumane way’ (Slotten 1990, 480). Why should the gas mask be featured in the Canadian Museum of Civilization? The gas mask is an exceptionally important piece of technology, not solely for the innovation (gas masks had existed in some way or another for hundreds of years) (Tucker, Roberts, and Mary 2006, 474), but because of what the gas mask represents. The gas mask represents a cultural fear of chemical weapons, …show more content…
These things historically have always caused civilization to discard the morally right decision. Starting with the use of gas attacks in WWI, then the use of the atomic bomb in WWII, Agent Orange in Vietnam and so on. At times of desperation people opt to do the thing that they believe will benefit themselves the most, not what will benefit civilization. We know that when faced with fear and a situation with no right answers there seems to one option; drop the bomb, launch the poison etc. But we also know that out of desperation some good things can arise as well, an example of this would be the gas mask. This is why I believe the gas mask should be displayed in the museum, firstly as a reminder of human kind’s potential to use science for good, but also of a warning of human kind’s ability to use science to inflict fear, pain, and

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