Gas In Wwi Essay

1492 words - 6 pages

The Use of Gas in WW I The modern-day use of chemical warfare first arrived in World War I. The utilization of gas did not significantly cause more deaths than conventional weapons but did cause vast pain and misery not only to those killed but to those injured by chemical weapons. The ghastly effects of these weapons barred their prevalent use in battles ever since. Adolph Hitler refused to use it as a tactical weapon in the Second World War because of his fear of gas because he was temporarily blinded by contact to gas in World War I. Even before the war started the harms of chemical warfare were recognized and treaties had been entered into to avert the use of it in forthcoming warfare. Germany was the first to break these treaties. Throughout World War I Germany headed the expansion and implementation of gas. Allies focused on security from chemical warfare rather than developing newer and more lethal gasses. For these reason Germany is chiefly liable for the use of chemical warfare in World War I.Germany employed the first use of chemical weapons in World War I which began making use of gas on both sides, which caused unheard of and uncalled for misery on both sides. First of all, Germany should not have done this because it was a violation of both Hague I and Hague II conventions which they had signed. These agreements outlawed the use of gases as weaponry. Hague I prohibited the use of projectiles for the lone intention of dispersing poisonous gases. Hague II on the other hand prohibited the use of poisoned weapons in any form. Every country involved in World War I, with the exception of Italy, the United States, and Turkey, had signed The Hague II agreement. Germany first violated this pact on 3 January 1915 when they used artillery shells to scatter tear gas on the eastern front. The first use on the western front was on 22 April 1915 at the battle of Ypres where the Germans released a cloud of chlorine gas on the French. The Germans tried to rationalize their procedures by stating that the French had violated the agreement based on the death of German soldiers from asphyxiation as a result from a French attack in August of 1914. These deaths resulted from the French use of grenades which contained a new liquid explosive that gave of lethal fumes. Since this was only a by-product of the explosive and the intention was not to use the weapons as chemical agents the French had not technically violated the agreement. In addition to attempting to claim the French had violated the agreement first the Germans also tried to justify their use of gas. They justified their use of shells by saying that the shells also produced shrapnel so that their sole purpose was not to distribute the gas so therefore did not violate the agreement. Secondly, they tried to defend their release of gas by saying that The Hague agreements only discussed projectiles and not cover gasses released from cylinders. It is obvious that the Germans were looking for a way to...

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