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Nemislar Ypresda zaharli gaz ishlatilgani haqida bayonot berishdi

Nemislar Ypresda zaharli gaz ishlatilgani haqida bayonot berishdi

1915 yil 25 -iyunda Germaniya matbuoti mamlakat harbiy qo'mondonligining ikki oy oldin Ikkinchi Ypres jangining boshida Germaniyaning zaharli gazdan foydalangani haqidagi rasmiy bayonotini e'lon qiladi.

Germaniya 1915 yil 22 aprelda Belgiyadagi Ypres shahrida frantsuz mustamlakachilarining ikkita bo'linmasiga qarshi 150 tonnadan ortiq halokatli xlorli gazni o'qqa tutishi, Birinchi Jahon Urushidagi ittifoqchilarini dahshatga soldi va dahshatga solib qo'ydi. hatto urush sharoitida ham. Britaniya ekspeditsiya kuchlari (BEF) bosh qo'mondoni ser Jon Frants Germaniyaning Ypresdagi hujumlari haqida qizg'in yozganidek: "Ko'rinib turibdiki, Germaniyaning barcha ilmiy resurslari shunchalik zaharli va zaharli gazni ishlab chiqarish uchun ishlatilgan. "U bilan aloqa qiladigan har qanday odam avval falaj bo'lib qoladi, keyin esa uzoq va og'riqli o'lim bilan uchrashadi."

Germaniyaning 1915 yil 25 iyundagi bayonoti ittifoqchilarning g'azablangan reaktsiyasiga javob bo'ldi; ular buni ikkiyuzlamachilik deb hisoblab, raqiblari - frantsuzlar - Ypres Ikkinchi Jangidan ancha oldin jangda gaz ishlab chiqargan va ishlatgan deb da'vo qilishgan. "Xolis qaror qabul qilgan har bir kishi uchun, - dedi bayonotda, - Germaniya harbiy ma'muriyatining aniq va rost aytilgan rasmiy bayonotlari, bizning raqiblarimiz tomonidan asfiksiyalovchi gazlarni oldindan ishlatilishini isbotlash uchun etarli bo'ladi." U 1915 yil 21-fevralda Frantsiya Harbiy Vazirligi tomonidan chiqarilgan "bizning markaziy fabrikalarimizda ishlab chiqariladigan gazlar bilan chayqaladigan qobiqlarni ishlatish bo'yicha ko'rsatmalarni o'z ichiga olgan memorandumdan iqtibos keltirdi. portlashdan so'ng, ko'zlar, burun va tomoqni bezovta qiladigan bug'lar ko'rinishida ".

Nemislarning xulosasiga ko'ra, bu eslatma "frantsuzlar o'z ustaxonalarida hech bo'lmaganda yarim yil oldin asfiksiyali gazlar bilan qobiq ishlab chiqarishgan" va ular Urush vazirligi qobiqlardan qanday foydalanish bo'yicha ko'rsatma berishlari uchun etarli miqdorda ishlab chiqarganligini isbotlagan. . "Xuddi shu odamlar g'azablansa, bu qanday ikkiyuzlamachilik, chunki nemislar keyinroq ular ko'rsatgan yo'lda ularga ergashdilar!"

Garchi frantsuzlar birinchi jahon urushi paytida birinchi bo'lib gaz ishlatgan bo'lsalar ham-1914 yil avgustda ular Belgiya va Frantsiyaning shimoli-sharqidagi nemislarning birinchi hujumiga qarshi turish uchun ksilil bromidi bo'lgan ko'z yosh gazidan foydalanganlar-Germaniya, shubhasiz, bu davrda birinchi jangovar davlat bo'lgan. Xilil bromid kabi nafaqat tirnash xususiyati beruvchi, balki dushmanni yirik mag'lubiyatga uchratish uchun ishlatilishi mumkin bo'lgan kimyoviy qurollarni ishlab chiqish borasida jiddiy o'ylash va harakat qilish uchun urush.

Birinchi marta nemislar Ypresda halokatli ta'sir ko'rsatgan xlor gazidan tashqari, fosgen gazi va xantal gazi ham Birinchi Jahon urushi maydonlarida ishlatilgan, asosan Germaniya, lekin Angliya va Frantsiya ham tez yetib olishga majbur bo'lgan. kimyoviy qurol texnologiyasi sohasida nemislarga. Garchi zaharli gazning psixologik ta'siri shubhasiz katta bo'lsa -da, uning urushga bo'lgan haqiqiy ta'siri, masalan, tanklar kabi, gaz hujumlari bilan bog'liq o'lim darajasi pastligi sababli bahsli. Umuman olganda, urushda 1,25 millionga yaqin gaz halok bo'lgan, faqat 91 ming kishi gazdan zaharlanish oqibatida halok bo'lgan, bu halokatlarning 50 foizdan ortig'i kam ta'minlangan rus armiyasi tomonidan sodir etilgan.


Yangi nemis quroli: gazli bulut

Dushman pozitsiyasi bo'ylab nemislar portlatib yuborishi mumkin bo'lgan gaz bulutini yaratish g'oyasini taniqli professor doktor Frits Xaber ilgari surdi. Chizma xandaq tubiga suyuq xlorli bosimli tsilindrlarni qazish usulini ko'rsatadi. Valflar ochilganda, tsilindrlarga biriktirilgan qo'rg'oshinli quvurlar suyuq gazni nemis xandaqining parapetiga olib borishi mumkin edi. Suyuq xlor havo bilan aloqa qilganda, u gazsimon moddaga aylanadi. Dushmanning xandaqlari bo'ylab esayotgan yumshoq shamol gaz bulutini dushman pozitsiyalariga olib borardi.


Birinchi jahon urushida Germaniya ham, ittifoqchilar ham zaharli gazdan foydalanishgan

Urush paytida dushmanga qarshi kurashishga qodir bo'lgan dahshatlar eng yuqori cho'qqisiga chiqdi Birinchi jahon urushi, Qachonki, ikkalasi ham bir -biriga qarshi zaharli gazni erkin ishlatsa.

Birinchi jahon urushi birinchi mojaro edi xandaq urushiQachonki, teng keladigan qo'shinlar frantsuz qishloqlarini vayron qilingan holda qazishganida "Hech kimning erlari" ular orasida. Ko'p sonli qonli janglardan so'ng, oldinga siljish uchun hech narsa qilinmadi, har ikki tomon ham kampaniyalarda g'alaba qozonish yo'lini qidirishdi.

Yangi zaharli gaz texnologiyasi ularning ibodatlariga javob bo'ldi!

Xlor gazi birinchi bo'lib Germaniya harbiylari tomonidan joylashtirilgan Ikkinchi Ypres jangi1915 yil 22 aprelda. Frantsiya, Britaniya va Kanada qo'shinlari 10 mil uzunlikdagi frontda nemis qo'shiniga qarshi saf tortishdi. Soat 17.00da, kunduzgi o'q otish to'xtatilgach va shamol g'arbga yaxshi esganda, nemis qo'shinlari oldingi xandaqlarda yashiringan xlor gazli tanklarni ochishdi.

Frantsuz qo'riqchilari g'alati narsani payqashdi yashil-sariq bulut ularga qarab harakatlanmoqda. Nemislarning oldinga siljishlarini tutun pardasi deb o'ylagan holda, barcha qo'shinlar o'z xandaqlarining zinapoyalariga buyurilgan. Gazning ta'siri darhol va dahshatli bo'lib, erkakning nafas olish qobiliyatini yo'q qildi soniyalarda. Omon qolgan frantsuz qo'shinlari qo'rqib qochib ketishdi. Hatto nemislar ham gazning halokatli ta'siridan shunchalik hayratda edilarki, ular hech qachon to'liq hujum qilishmagan.

Germaniyaning zaharli gazdan foydalanishi butun dunyoda darhol va keng qoralanishga sabab bo'ldi. Shunga qaramay, gazli mushuk sumkadan chiqib ketdi, shunday qilib aytganda, va undan foydalanish Ulug 'Urushning qolgan qismida avj oldi Har ikki tomon tomonidan.

Birinchi ittifoqchilar 1915 yil 25 sentyabrda Britaniya edi. Yangi tuzilgan Maxsus gaz bo'linmalari ertalabki soat 5 larda Loosda nemis liniyalariga yangi "aksessuarlari" bilan hujum qildi. Ko'ryapsizmi, ularga "zaharli gaz" so'zini ishlatish taqiqlangan edi. Afsuski, Britaniya frontining ba'zi qismlarida, shamol kutilmaganda yo'nalishini o'zgartirdi! Xlor gazi ingliz qo'shinlariga qaytarildi, natijada nemislardan ko'ra 2000 dan ortiq odam halok bo'ldi.

Yaxshi etkazib berish vositasi kerak edi, shuning uchun har ikki tomon ham zaharli gazni artilleriya o'qlariga o'qqa tuta boshladi.

Xlor fosgen kelgandan keyin, yo'talni kamaytiradigan gaz, baxtsiz qurbonlar tomonidan ko'proq nafas oladi, o'ldirish darajasini oshirish. Ammo o'rtacha askar nima qilishi kerak edi? Avvaliga ularga a siydik bilan namlangan ro'mol ta'siridan himoya qilish uchun yuzlari ustidan! Aytishga hojat yo'q, bu muvaffaqiyatsiz tugadi. Gaz niqoblarini ishlab chiqarish ortda qoldi va qo'shinlar ishonchli model bilan ta'minlanmaguncha, bir nechta samarasiz versiyalarni oldi. Dumaloq ko'zoynakli va bitta filtrli kartridjli noqulay niqoblar etarlicha tez qo'llanilsa samarali bo'ladi.

Nemis kimyogarlari ittifoqchilardan bir qadam oldinda edilar va 1917 yilda Xantal gaziga o'tdilar.

Oltingugurt diklorididan tayyorlangan, yog'li, jigarrang suyuqlik tirik qolganlarga sarimsoq, ot yoki xantal hidini ta'riflagan. Xantal gazi deyarli ko'rinmas edi, aksincha qurbonni bo'g'ib qo'ydi katta, og'ir va og'riqli pufakchalar ham og'izda, ham terida. Xantal gazi ham bir necha hafta davomida tuproqda kuchli bo'lib, infektsiyalangan xandaqlarda yashashni imkonsiz qildi.

Flandriyada jang qilayotgan minglab jonlarga, Xandaq urushi do'zaxi qanday yomonlashishi mumkinligini tasavvur qilish qiyin edi. 1917 yil 12 -iyulda nemis pulemyotchilari Britaniya va Kanada chiziqlariga 50 mingdan ortiq artilleriya xantal gazidan o'q uzdilar. Tez orada old va tepadagi shifoxona chodirlarida 2000 dan ortiq qurbonlar paydo bo'ldi, ular badanlarida chidab bo'lmas pufakchalardan azob chekishdi. Ko‘plarining ko‘zi ojiz edi, boshqalari asta -sekin bo‘g‘ilib, qolganlari qiyshayib, iztirob chekishdi.

Germaniya g'azabiga qaramay, ittifoqchilar zaharli gaz zaxiralarini yaratdilar.

Kuzga kelib, xantal gazi G'arbiy frontda yuqoriga va pastga ishlatila boshlandi yana ikki tomondan. Yil oxiriga kelib, inglizlar xantal gazini nemis xandaqlariga tashladilar. Amerikalik Dow Chemical AQSh qo'shinlari uchun zahar ishlab chiqargan.

Bu askarlarni juda qo'rqitdi, chunki xlordan farqli o'laroq, qurbonlar gazlanganini bilishmagan. Gaz niqoblari o'pkani faqat kuygan hamma narsani, hatto kiyim ostidagi terini ham himoya qilgan. Havodan og'irroq bo'lgani uchun, bulutlar bomba kraterlari va xandaqlariga joylashib, u erda bir necha soat turar edi.

Germaniya halokatli etkazib berish usullarini ishlab chiqishda davom etdi, jumladan, artilleriya o'qlari, minomyotlardan o'q otish, erkin tushayotgan bombalar va hatto minalar. Faqatgina ingliz armiyasi urushning oxirgi yilida 20 ming dona xantal gazidan zarar ko'rdi.

Xantal gazidan foydalanish Parij sulh bitimiga qadar, 1918 yil 11 -noyabr, soat 23.00gacha davom etadi.

Garchi zaharli gazdan foydalanish 1925 yilgi Jeneva konventsiyasi tomonidan taqiqlangan bo'lsa -da, butun dunyodagi qo'shinlar uni 1930 -yillargacha yaponlar gaz chiqarganda ham ishlatishni davom ettirdilar. Xitoy qo'shinlari ham, tinch aholi ham Manchjuriyaga bostirib kirishda.

Ikkinchi jahon urushi paytida ittifoqchilar front ortida millionlab tonna xantal gazini to'plashdi har qanday ehtimolga qarshi natsistlar undan foydalanishga qaror qilishdi. Xantal gazi oxirgi marta 1980 -yillarda ishlatilgan Saddam Husayn Eron armiyasi va Iroqning o'z kurd aholisiga qarshi, u erda 5 mingdan ziyod tinch aholi halok bo'lgan.

Garchi bugungi kunda bizda zamonaviyroq Nerv -agent gazlari va, albatta, yadroviy qurollar bo'lsa -da, ular asosan ishlatilmay qolmoqda, zaxiralar faqat to'xtatuvchi vosita sifatida saqlanmoqda yoki dushman birinchi bo'lib ishlatishga qaror qilmaguncha. Ikkinchi jahon urushi paytida ko'rgan halokatli tsikl yana boshlanishi mumkin edi.


Birinchi jahon urushi: Birinchi nemis qurolini nemislar ozod qilishdi Tarix

SGT Jon & quot; Mac & quot; McConnell

Nemislar Ypresda zaharli gaz ishlatilgani haqida bayonot berishdi

1915 yil 25 -iyun, Germaniya matbuoti mamlakat urush qo'mondonligining ikki oy oldin Ikkinchi Ypres urushi boshlanishida Germaniyaning zaharli gazdan foydalanganligi haqidagi rasmiy bayonotini e'lon qiladi.

Germaniyaning 1915 yil 22 aprelda Belgiyadagi Ypres shahrida frantsuz koloniyalarining ikkita bo'linmasiga qarshi Germaniyaning 150 tonnadan ortiq halokatli xlor gazini o'qqa tutishi, Birinchi Jahon Urushidagi ittifoqchilarini dahshatga soldi va dahshatga soldi. hatto urush sharoitida ham. Britaniya ekspeditsiya kuchlari (BEF) bosh qo'mondoni ser Jon Frants Germaniyaning Ypresdagi hujumlari haqida qizg'in yozganidek: "Ko'rinib turibdiki, Germaniyaning barcha ilmiy resurslari shunchalik zaharli va zaharli gazni ishlab chiqarish uchun ishlatilgan. U bilan aloqa qiladigan har qanday odam avval falaj bo'lib qoladi, keyin esa uzoq va azobli o'lim bilan uchrashadi ”.

Germaniyaning 1915 yil 25 iyundagi bayonoti ittifoqchilarning g'azablangan reaktsiyasiga javob bo'ldi, ular buni ikkiyuzlamachilik deb hisoblab, raqiblari - frantsuzlar Ikkinchi Ypres jangidan ancha oldin gaz ishlab chiqargan va ishlatgan. "Xolis qaror qabul qilgan har bir kishi uchun, - dedi bayonotda, - Germaniya harbiy ma'muriyatining aniq va rost aytilgan rasmiy bayonotlari, bizning raqiblarimiz tomonidan asfiksiyalovchi gazlarni oldindan ishlatilishini isbotlash uchun etarli bo'ladi." U 1915 yil 21-fevralda Frantsiya Harbiy Vazirligi tomonidan chiqarilgan "bizning markaziy fabrikalarimizda ishlab chiqariladigan gazlar bilan chig'anoqli qobiqlarni ishlatish bo'yicha ko'rsatmalarni o'z ichiga olgan memorandumdan iqtibos keltirdi. portlashdan keyin, ko'zlar, burun va tomoqni bezovta qiladigan bug'lar ko'rinishida ".

Nemislarning xulosasiga ko'ra, bu eslatma "frantsuzlar o'z ustaxonalarida hech bo'lmaganda yarim yil oldin asfiksiyali gazlar bilan qobiq ishlab chiqarishgan" va ular Urush vazirligi qobiqlardan qanday foydalanish bo'yicha ko'rsatma berishlari uchun etarli miqdorda ishlab chiqarganligini isbotlagan. . "Xuddi shu odamlar g'azablansa, bu qanday ikkiyuzlamachilik, chunki nemislar keyinroq ular ko'rsatgan yo'lda ularga ergashdilar!"

Garchi frantsuzlar birinchi jahon urushi paytida birinchi bo'lib gaz ishlatgan bo'lsalar ham-1914 yil avgustda ular Belgiya va Frantsiyaning shimoli-sharqidagi nemislarning birinchi hujumiga qarshi turish uchun ksilil bromidi bo'lgan ko'z yosh gazidan foydalanganlar-Germaniya, shubhasiz, bu davrda birinchi jangovar davlat bo'lgan. Xilil bromid kabi nafaqat tirnash xususiyati beruvchi, balki dushmanni yirik mag'lubiyatga uchratish uchun ishlatilishi mumkin bo'lgan kimyoviy qurollarni ishlab chiqish borasida jiddiy o'ylash va harakat qilish uchun urush. Birinchi marta nemislar Ypresda halokatli ta'sir ko'rsatgan xlor gazidan tashqari, fosgen gazi va xantal gazi ham Birinchi Jahon urushi maydonlarida ishlatilgan, asosan Germaniya, lekin Angliya va Frantsiya ham tez yetib olishga majbur bo'lgan. kimyoviy qurol texnologiyasi sohasida nemislarga. Garchi zaharli gazning psixologik ta'siri shubhasiz katta bo'lsa -da, uning urushga bo'lgan haqiqiy ta'siri, masalan, tanklar kabi, gaz hujumlari bilan bog'liq o'lim darajasi pastligi sababli bahsli. Umuman olganda, urushda 1,25 millionga yaqin gaz halok bo'lgan, faqat 91 ming kishi gazdan zaharlanish oqibatida halok bo'lgan, bu halokatlarning 50 foizdan ortig'i kam ta'minlangan rus armiyasi tomonidan sodir etilgan.
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/germans-release-statement-on-use-of-poison-gas-at-ypres
https://uz.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Ypres

@ col mikel COL Mikel J. Burroughs @ ltc frank LTC (Ko'rish uchun qo'shiling) @ ltc stephen LTC Stiven C. @ ltc stephen LTC Stiven F. @ cap marty Maj Marty Hogan @ smsgt doc SMSgt Doktor GA Tomas @ tsgt joe TSgt Jo C. @ msg andrew MSG Andrew White @ sfc george SFC George Smit @ sgt David SGT David A. ɼowboy ' Groth @ sp5 robert SP5 Robert Ruck @ sp5 mark SP5 Mark Kuzinski @ po2 robert PO2 Robert M. Alan K. Sintiya Kroft

1915 yil 22 aprelda Germaniyaning markaziy davlatlari tarixda birinchi yirik gaz hujumini amalga oshirganini SGT Jon va MakKonnellni eslatganingiz uchun tashakkur. Ular Belgiyaning Ypres shahrida frantsuz koloniyalarining ikkita diviziyasiga qarshi 150 tonnadan ortiq halokatli xlor gazini otishdi. Dahshatli hujum ittifoqchilar chizig'ini vayron qildi va urushni abadiy o'zgartirdi.
Kimyoviy qurol ilgari ishlatilgan, urush paytida, olovli maydonga va katapultga o'xshash asboblar bilan ishga tushirilgan hayvonlarning jasadlariga, devorlar bilan o'ralgan hududlarda kasalliklarning tarqalishiga olib kelgan.
Ammo Ypresda kimyoviy qurollarning keng qo'llanilishi urushni abadiy o'zgartirib yubordi.
Himoya niqoblari, atropin va boshqa nerv agentlari injektorlari, zararsizlantirish to'plamlari, kimyoviy vositalarni aniqlovchi asboblar, muhrlangan zirhli mashinalarda ortiqcha bosim tizimlari va boshqalar.
Tasvirlar: gazlangan British_55th_Division_gas_casualties_10_April_1918 1915-04-23 Ypres-post-gaz 1915-04-22 Ypresda jang qilayotgan Kanada qo'shinlari kimyoviy hujumga uchragan birinchi jangchilardan biri edi.
& quotJanglar - Ikkinchi Ypres jangi, 1915 yil
Ikkinchi Ypres jangi Germaniya kuchlari tomonidan G'arbiy frontga 1915 yilda boshlangan yagona yirik hujum edi, Erik von Falkenxayn Germaniyaning harakatlarini Sharqiy frontda ruslarga qarshi to'plashni afzal ko'rdi.

Aprel oyida boshlangan va asosan ittifoqchilar e'tiborini Sharqiy jabhadan chalg'itish vositasi sifatida ishlatilgan va xlor gazidan foydalanishni sinash vositasi sifatida may oyida muvaffaqiyatsiz tugagan. Bu hujum muvaffaqiyatsizlikka uchrashi oqibatida nemis armiyasi shaharni egallab olish harakatlaridan voz kechdi va buning o'rniga uni doimiy bombardimon qilish yo'li bilan vayron qildi. Urush oxiriga kelib, Ypres asosan vayronaga aylandi, shaharning ajoyib matolar zali vayronaga aylandi (garchi 1950 va 27 -yillarda asl dizaynda tiklangan bo'lsa ham).

Ikkinchi Ypres, odatda, bugun G'arbiy frontda birinchi marta gaz ishlatilishini eslab qoladi. Garchi urushning boshida nemislar Bolimovdagi Rossiya Sharqiy jabhasiga minimal ta'sir ko'rsatgan bo'lsa -da (gaz sovuqda muzlab qolgan edi) va gaz urushini taqiqlagan Gaaga konventsiyasiga zid bo'lsa -da, Ikkinchi Ypres paytida uning ta'siri hayratlanarli edi. samarali.

17-dyuymli govitsalar tomonidan qisqa muddatli bombardimon qilinganidan so'ng, 168 tonna xlor gazi bo'lgan 5700 ta kanistr 22 aprel kuni quyosh chiqqanda Frantsiyaning Jazoir va hududiy bo'linma qo'shinlariga qarshi qo'yib yuborildi. Yashil-sariq tuman pardasi nemis front chizig'idan frantsuz pozitsiyasiga o'tayotganini aniq ko'rish mumkin edi.

Ypres xarobalari havodan ko'rinib turibdiki, gaz hujumining samaradorligi shunchalik to'liq ediki, u xlor gazini chiqarishni kuzatgan nemis piyoda askarlarini hayratda qoldirdi. Hayron qolgan ittifoqchi qo'shinlar vahimaga tushib, Ypres tomon qochib ketishdi, og'ir gaz cho'kdi va xandaqlarni tiqib oldi. (Hujumdan keyin nemislarning rasmiy bayonotini o'qish uchun shu erni bosing.)

To'rt millik xandaqlarni qamrab olgan gaz 10 mingga yaqin askarga ta'sir ko'rsatdi, ularning yarmi gaz front chizig'iga yetib kelganidan o'n daqiqa o'tib halok bo'ldi. O'limga asfiksiya sabab bo'lgan. Tirik bo'lganlar vaqtincha ko'r bo'lib qolishdi va chalkashlikdan qoqilishdi, qattiq yo'talishdi. Bu qo'shinlarning 2000 nafari harbiy asir sifatida qo'lga olingan.

Dastlabki respirator kiygan ikkita nemis korpusi ittifoqchi chiziqlaridagi etti kilometrlik bo'shliqdan ehtiyotkorlik bilan o'tib, tuzoqlardan ehtiyot bo'lishdi. Hujumni rejalashtirishda hech qanday zaxira zarur deb hisoblanmagan, nemis qo'mondonligi katta yutuqqa erishish mumkinligini o'ylab topmagan.

Natijada, haqiqiy yutuq to'liq ishlatilmadi. Uch kilometrlik ittifoqdoshlar chizig'iga o'tgandan so'ng, nemislar Buyuk Britaniya generali Smit-Dorrien va Ikkinchi Armiya qarshi hujumi ostida to'xtadi. Shunga qaramay, shimoldagi baland erlarning yo'qolishi ittifoqchilarning pozitsiyasini sezilarli darajada zaiflashtirdi.

Nemislar ikki kundan so'ng, 24 aprelda xlor gazining ikkinchi partiyasini chiqardi, bu safar Ypresning shimoli-sharqida joylashgan Kanada qo'shinlariga qarshi yo'naltirildi va yana o'tkir artilleriya bombardimoniga uchradi.

Yana nemis kuchlari himoyalanmagan Kanada qo'shinlariga qarshi kurash olib bordi, garchi jang shiddatli bo'lsa -da, janubning 60 -tepasiga tarqaldi. Gaz urushining yangiligi tugadi va nemis piyoda askarlari himoyalangan kanadaliklardan katta yo'qotishlarga duch kelishdi. Britaniya qo'shinlari 3 may kuni keladi. Bu vaqt mobaynida kanadaliklar juda ko'p azob chekdilar, 5,975 ta qurbonlar, shu jumladan 1000 kishi halok bo'ldi.

General Smit-Dorrien Ypresdan ikki yarim mil uzoqlikda chekinishni taklif qildi. Uning fikricha, keng ko'lamli qarshi hujumdan boshqa hech narsa nemis qo'shinlarini dastlabki pozitsiyalariga qaytara olmaydi. Bu g'oyani Britaniya ekspeditsiya kuchlari (BEF) bosh qo'mondoni ser Jon Frants yaxshi kutib oldi va u Smit-Dorrienni Angliyaga uyiga jo'natib yubordi. (Sir Jon Frantsuzning nemislarning zaharli gaz ishlatishiga munosabatini o'qish uchun shu erni bosing.)

Ajablanarlisi, Smit-Dorrien va uning boshlig'i general Gerbert Plumer (keyinchalik o'zining muvaffaqiyatli Messines hujumi bilan mashhur bo'lgan) frantsuz tilidan butunlay voz kechishni tavsiya qilgan. Bu safar taklif 29 aprel kuni frantsuz generali Ferdinand Fosh boshchiligidagi ikki bo'linmaning ittifoqchilarining muvaffaqiyatsiz qarshi hujumidan keyin amalga oshirildi. Frantsuz 1915 yil 1-3 mayda rejalashtirilgan chekinishni amalga oshirdi.

General Herbert PlumerFighting 8 mayda Ypres atrofida yangilandi va 13 maygacha davom etdi, keyin yana 24-25 maygacha, gaz hujumlari qayta ishlatildi. Ittifoqchi chiziqlar saqlanib qoldi, garchi nemis qo'shinlari 8-12 may kunlari shaharning sharqida qo'shimcha balandliklarni qo'riqlashdi.

24 may kuni nemislarning kuchli hujumi ittifoqchilarni olib chiqishga majbur qildi, garchi qo'shimcha joy ajratilmagan bo'lsa ham. Ta'minot va ishchi kuchining etishmasligi nemislarni shaharni bombardimon qilishdan bosh tortgan hujumni to'xtatishga majbur qildi. Shunday bo'lsa -da, nemis hujumlari ittifoqchilarning asosiy kuchini sezilarli darajada kamaytirdi. Eng baland joy yo'qolgan va uning uzunligi uch mil va chuqurligi besh mildan oshmagan.

Ikkinchi Ypres jangida yo'qotishlar ittifoqchilarning 69000 (59.000 ingliz, 10.000 frantsuz), 35000 nemisga qarshi, xlor gazidan foydalanish bilan izohlanadi. Nemislar va#x27 gazidan innovatsion foydalanish urushning qolgan qismida tendentsiyani o'rnatdi.


1914 yilda ixtiyoriy haydovchi sifatida armiyada bo'lgan taniqli nemis kimyogari Valter Nernst, xandaqlarning qanday qilib tiqilib qolganini ko'rdi. U nemis bosh shtabi olimlari bilan aloqa qilish uchun mas'ul polkovnik Maks Bauerga kutilmaganda ko'zdan yosh oqizuvchi gaz bilan xandaqlarni bo'shatishni taklif qildi. Kimyoviy Fritz Xaber bu g'oyaning dala sinovini kuzatib, havo xloridan ko'ra og'irroq gazni ishlatishni taklif qildi [1] (dastlab o'lik fosgen gazidan foydalanishni ma'qul ko'rar edi, lekin bunday foydalanish uchun juda oz miqdorda to'plangan). [ iqtibos kerak ]

Nemis qo'mondoni Erich von Falkenxayn yangi qurolni sinab ko'rishga rozi bo'ldi, lekin uni o'zining 4 -chi armiyasining yo'naltiruvchi hujumida ishlatmoqchi edi. [2] Gaz tsilindrlardan suyuq xlorni ajratish orqali chiqariladi, gazni to'g'ridan -to'g'ri chiqarib bo'lmaydi, chunki klapanlar shamolni muzlatib, gazni dushman chizig'iga olib boradi. Har birining vazni 40 kilogrammdan oshadigan 5730 ta gaz ballonlari oldingi chiziqqa tashlandi. O'rnatish Xabar va boshqa kelajakdagi Nobel mukofoti sovrindorlari Otto Han, Jeyms Frank va Gustav Xertz tomonidan nazorat qilingan. Ikki marta tsilindrni o'q otish natijasida sindirishgan, ikkinchi marta uch kishi halok bo'lgan va ellik kishi yaralangan. Ba'zi nemislar konchilarning kislorodli nafas olish apparati bilan himoyalangan. [ iqtibos kerak ]

Ypres taniqli hujumi uchun tanlangan. U kanal bo'ylab, shahar atrofida sharqqa burildi. Kuchli shimolda Belgiya armiyasi Yser chizig'ini ushlab turdi va jangning shimoliy uchini ikkita frantsuz bo'linmasi ushlab turdi. [3] Sharqiy qismni Kanada va Britaniyaning ikkita bo'linmasi himoya qildi. Ikkinchi armiyaning II korpusi va V korpusi 1, 2 va 3 -chi otliq diviziyalari va 4, 27, 28, Northumbrian, Lahor va 1 -Kanada diviziyalaridan iborat edi. [4]

Yilda Britaniya qo'shinlarining Frantsiya va Flandriyadagi majburiyatlari to'g'risidagi yozuv, 1914–1918 (1923 [1990]) E. A. Jeyms ishlatgan Buyuk Britaniya imperiyasi harbiy kuchlari tomonidan 1914-1919 va Uchinchi Afg'on urushi, 1919 yillardagi urushlar va boshqa mashg'ulotlarning rasmiy nomlari: Armiya Kengashi tomonidan tasdiqlangan Janglar nomenklaturasi qo'mitasining hisoboti. (1921) har bir topshiriq va tuzilmalar haqida qisqacha ma'lumot berish. "Ypres janglari" da, 1915 yilda Ikkinchi Armiya ishtirokidagi oltita ishtirok qayd etilgan, to'rttasi Ikkinchi Jang paytida (22 aprel - 25 may).

  • Gravenstafel jangi: 22 aprel payshanba - 23 aprel juma
  • Sent -Julien jangi: 23 aprel - 4 may shanba
  • Frezenberg jangi: 8–13 may
  • Bellevard jangi: 24-25 may

Gravenstafel tizmasi jangi (1915 yil 22-23 aprel) Tahrir

. paltolarini echib tashlagan yoki keng ochgan, sharflari echilgan, aqldan ozgan odam kabi yugurib, yo'nalishsiz, suv uchun baqirgan, qon tupurgan, ba'zilari esa erga yugurib, nafas olishga harakat qilgan.

Frantsiya frontidagi 6 km masofa himoyasiz qoldi. Nemis piyoda askarlari bulut orqasida, natriy tiosulfat eritmasi bilan namlangan paxta yostig'idan nafas olib, Langemark va Pilkem qishloqlarini egallab olishdi, garchi ular Ypresni deyarli qarama -qarshiliksiz egallab olgan bo'lsalar ham. [8] Ular 2000 ta asir va 51 ta qurol olib ketishgan. Kanadalik qo'shinlar xlorning janubiy qanotini himoya qilishdi, chunki ular ichimlik suvi hidi keldi. Ertasi kuni nemislar ularga ko'proq xlor gazini tashladilar. Qurbonlar, ayniqsa, Jazoir diviziyasi parchalanib ketganidan so'ng, chap qanotini uch tomondan o'ralgan, Kanada ekspeditsion kuchlarining 13-bataloni uchun og'ir edi. [9]

Kitcheners 'Wood-dagi harakatda, 2-Kanada brigadasining 10-batalyoniga gaz hujumi natijasida hosil bo'lgan bo'shliqda qarshi hujum qilish buyurildi. Ular 23:00 dan keyin paydo bo'lgan. 22 -aprelda, 3 -brigadaning 16 -bataloni (Kanada Shotlandiya) oldinga siljish uchun keldi. Ikkala batalyon ham har kuni ertalab soat 11:46 da ikkita kompaniyaning to'lqinida 800 dan ortiq askarlari bilan hujum qilishdi, batalonlar o'z maqsadlari yo'lida to'siqlarga duch kelishdi. Yog'ochdan o'q otish bilan ular nayzadan zaryad olishdi. Hujum qurbonlarning 75 foizlik sobiq eman plantatsiyasini nemislardan tozaladi. [10] Britaniya matbuoti hujumni chalkashtirib yubordi:

Nemislar o'z xandaqlari oldiga qo'ygan oltingugurtli xlorid mahsulotini yoqib yuborishdi, natijada qalin sariq bulut frantsuzlar va belgiyaliklarning xandaqlariga uchib ketdi. Tutun buluti zaharli tutun bilan nafas olayotganlarning barchasini yengib, sariq past devor kabi oldinga intildi. Frantsuzlar nima qilayotganlarini va nima bo'layotganini ko'ra olmadilar. Keyin nemislar hayron qolishgan frantsuzlarni o'z xandaqlari oldidan haydab ketishdi. Tutun bilan o'ralganlar bir -biridan yarim hovli narida ko'risholmadi. Men oltingugurt tutunidan qutulib qolgan yaradorlarni ko'rdim va ular yaxshi rivojlanayotgan edi. Oltingugurtning ta'siri vaqtinchalik ko'rinadi. Yon ta'siri ko'zning yomon shishishi kabi ko'rinadi, lekin ko'rish buzilmaydi.

Qorong'i tushayotgan edi, frantsuz chizig'i oldida nemis xandaqlaridan o'sha g'alati yashil o'lim buluti ko'tarildi. Yengil shimoli-sharqiy shabada ularni o'ziga qaratdi va bir zumda ularni tomoqqa tutdi. Ularni sindirib, qochib ketganlikda ayblash mumkin emas. O'sha dahshatli tun qorong'ida ular qo'rquv bilan kurashishdi, gaz bulutida ko'r-ko'rona yugurishdi va ko'kragini tirishib, bo'g'ilishning sekin zahari bilan qorong'u yuzlarini burishdi. Yuzlab odamlar yiqilib vafot etdilar, boshqalari ojiz lablarida ko'piklar va qattiq kasal bo'lib qoldilar, qisqa vaqt ichida ko'ngil aynishi bilan. Ular ham keyinroq vafot etar edilar - asta -sekin va iztirobli o'lim. Butun havo erkaklar bo'g'zining orqasida tutilgan va metall ta'mi bilan og'izlarini to'ldirgan xlorning o'tkir hidiga bulg'angan edi.

Nemislar xabar berishicha, ular 200 ta gazdan zarar ko'rgan, ulardan 12 nafari vafot etgan. Ittifoqchilarning aytishicha, 5000 kishi o'lgan va 15000 kishi yaralangan. [12]

Bir necha kun ichida inglizlarga Jon Skott Xoldan gazning ta'siriga matoga siyish va nafas olish orqali qarshi turishni maslahat berdi. Ikkala tomon ham samaraliroq gaz niqoblarini ishlab chiqarishga kirishdilar.

Sent -Julien jangi (24 aprel - 5 may) Tartibga solish

24-aprel kuni ertalab nemislar Sent-Yulienning g'arbida, qayta tashkil etilgan Kanada chizig'i tomon yana bir gaz bulutini chiqarib yuborishdi. Qo`shinlarga ro`mollarini siyish va burun -og`izlari ustiga qo`yish haqida so`z berildi. [14] [a] Qarshi choralar etarli emas edi va nemis qo'shinlari qishloqni egallab olishdi. [16] Ertasi kuni Nortumberlend divizionining York va Durham brigadalari qarshi hujum uyushtirdilar, ammo maqsadlariga erisha olmadilar, lekin qishloqqa yaqinroq yangi chiziq qurdilar. [17] 26, 4, 6 va 7 -batalonlarda harakatga o'tgan birinchi hududiy brigada bo'lgan Northumberland brigadasi hujumga o'tdi va qishloqda o'z o'rnini egalladi, lekin orqaga qaytarildi va 1954 qurbon bo'ldi. [18] Yuzlab qurbonlarga qaramay, Dublin qirollik 2 -batalyonlari Frezenberg va Bellevardagi janglarda tinimsiz qatnashdilar. 24 aprelda Sent -Yulien yaqinida nemis gaz hujumiga uchragan batalyon deyarli yo'q qilindi.

Nemis armiyasi birinchi marta 1915 yil aprelda Ypresdagi frantsuz armiyasiga qarshi xlor-gaz tsilindrlarini ishlatdi, b-sariq bulutlar ittifoqdoshlar xandaqlariga qarab ketganda. Gaz ananas va qalampirga o'xshash o'ziga xos hidga ega edi. Frantsuz ofitserlari, dastlab nemis piyoda askarlari tutun pardasi ortidan ketayotganini taxmin qilib, qo'shinlarni ogohlantirdilar. Gaz ittifoqchi xandaqlarga yetganda, askarlar ko'kragidagi og'riqlar va tomoqdagi yonish hissi haqida shikoyat qila boshladilar.

Kanadaning 2-dala tez tibbiy yordam brigadasi kapitani Frensis Skrimger podpolkovnik Jorj Galli Nasmitning tavsiyasiga binoan gazga qarshi siydik ishlatishga buyruq bergan bo'lishi mumkin. Askarlar ular gazlanganini tushunishdi va ko'plari iloji boricha tezroq yugurishdi. Hujum boshlanganidan bir soat o'tgach, Ittifoqchilar chizig'ida 1500 yard (1,4 km) bo'sh joy bor edi. [19] Xlordan qo'rqib, ozgina nemis askarlari oldinga siljishdi va kechikish kanadalik va ingliz qo'shinlariga nemislar bo'shliqni ishlatishdan oldin o'z pozitsiyasini qaytarib olishga imkon berdi. [20]

Birinchi nemis xlor-gaz hujumlaridan so'ng, ittifoqchi qo'shinlarga siydik bilan namlangan paxta yostiqchalari berildi, shunda yostiqdagi ammiak xlorni zararsizlantirdi. Gaz tarqatilmaguncha prokladkalarni yuzidan ushlab turishdi. Boshqa askarlar gaz o'tmaguncha natriy-bikarbonat eritmasi bilan namlangan va og'iz va burunga bog'lab qo'yilgan ro'molcha, paypoq yoki flanel korpusidan foydalanishni afzal ko'rdilar. Askarlarga bunday jang qilish qiyin kechdi va gaz hujumlaridan yaxshi himoya vositasini ishlab chiqishga urinishdi. [21] 1915 yil iyulga kelib, askarlar samarali gaz niqoblari va asfiksiyaga qarshi respiratorlar oldilar. Qirollik Shotlandiyalik oddiy askar Xey 1915 yil 22 aprelda xlor-gaz hujumidan so'ng Ypresga keldi: [21]

Biz nimadir noto'g'ri bo'lganini bilardik. Biz Ypres tomon yura boshladik, lekin yo'ldan qochqinlar kelayotgani bilan yo'ldan o'tolmadik. Biz temir yo'l bo'ylab Ypresga bordik va odamlar, tinch aholi va askarlar yo'l bo'yida dahshatli holatda yotishdi. Biz ularning gaz ekanligini aytishlarini eshitdik. Biz jahannam gazi nima ekanligini bilmas edik. Biz Ypresga etib kelganimizda, biz kanadaliklarning ko'pini, bir kun oldin gazdan o'lik holda yotganini ko'rdik, bechora jinlar va bu biz yigitlar uchun dahshatli manzara edi. Men atigi yigirma yoshda edim, bu juda og'ir edi va men uni hech qachon unutmaganman va unutmayman.

Tabiiyki, frantsuz askarlari hayratda qoldilar. Ba'zilar o'z vaqtida qochib ketishdi, lekin ko'pchilik, afsus! yangi xavfni tushunmay, unchalik omadli emas edilar va tutundan qutulib zaharlanib o'lishdi. Hamma yo'tal va qon tupurishidan qutulganlar orasida xlor shilliq qavatiga hujum qiladi. O'lganlar birdaniga qora rangga aylanishdi. Taxminan 15 daqiqa o'tgach, gaz qochib ketganidan so'ng, nemislar xandaqdan chiqib ketishdi. Ulardan ba'zilari havo nafas oladimi yoki yo'qligini aniqlash uchun boshlariga niqob kiyib, oldindan yuborilgan. Ular oldinga siljishlarini bilib, bir necha daqiqa oldin gaz tarqalib ketgan joyga ko'p kelishdi va o'liklarning qo'llarini egallab olishdi. Ular hech qanday mahbus qilmaganlar. Qachonki ular tutunlari o'lmagan askarni ko'rsalar, miltig'ini tortib olishdi va unga "yaxshiroq o'lish uchun" yotishni maslahat berishdi.

Battle of Frezenberg (8–13 May) Edit

Battle of Bellewaarde (24–25 May) Edit

On 24 May the Germans released a gas attack that hit Shell Trap Farm and to the area around the north west, which was affected the most by the attack. A report of the event by Captain Thomas Leahy, of the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers, shows that their C.O. Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Loveband suspected a gas attack and had warned all company officers. Later the Germans threw up red lights over their trench, which would signal a gas release. [24]

We had only just time to get our respirators on before the gas was over us.

German forces managed to advance and occupy the British line to north and left of the Battalion. The Battalion was now under heavy fire from the German forces. But with shellfire and the aid from the 9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders they managed to hold their trenches to the end. [24]

Germans advancing under cover of enfilade fire, in small parties, finally occupied Battalion line by 2.30pm. Shelling ceased but rifle and M.G. fire remained accurate and constant, whenever a target presented itself, until dusk.

Analysis Edit

By the end of the battle, British forces had withdrawn to a new line 3 miles closer to Ypres, thereby resulting in a compression of its surrounding salient. [25] The city, bombarded by artillery fire, was demolished. Although poison gas had been used on the Eastern Front, it surprised the Allies and about 7,000 gas casualties were transported in field ambulances and treated in casualty clearing stations. In May and June, 350 British deaths were recorded from gas poisoning. [26] Both sides developed gas weapons and counter-measures, which changed the nature of gas warfare the French and British used gas at the Battle of Loos in late September. [27] Gas protection was somewhat improved with the issue of improvised respirators made from cotton waste pads impregnated with sodium hyposulphite, sodium bicarbonate and glycerin. The respirators made little difference, however, due to lack of training and the use of local contraptions and poorly made items imported from Britain. The "P helmet" (or "Tube Helmet") soaked in sodium phenate was issued by December 1915, and the PH helmet (effective against phosgene) was issued in early 1916. [28]

Although many French troops ran for their lives, others stood their ground and waited for the cloud to pass. Field Marshal Sir John French, Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, wrote,

. I wish particularly to repudiate any idea of attaching the least blame to the French Division for this unfortunate incident. After all the examples our gallant Allies have shown of dogged and tenacious courage in the many trying situations in which they have been placed throughout the course of this campaign it is quite superfluous for me to dwell on this aspect of the incident, and I would only express my firm conviction that, if any troops in the world had been able to hold their trenches in the face of such a treacherous and altogether unexpected onslaught, the French Division would have stood firm.

The Canadian Division mounted an effective defence but had 5,975 casualties by its withdrawal on 3 May. The division was unprepared for the warfare prevailing on the Western Front, where linear tactics were ineffective against attackers armed with magazine rifles and machine guns. The Canadian field artillery had been effective but the deficiencies of the Ross rifle worsened tactical difficulties. The Canadian Division received several thousand replacements shortly after the battle. [30] At Second Ypres, the smallest tactical unit in the infantry was a company by 1917 it would be the section. The Canadians were employed offensively later in 1915 but not successfully. The battle was the beginning of a long period of analysis and experiment to improve the effectiveness of Canadian infantry weapons, artillery and liaison between infantry and artillery. [31] [d]

Casualties Edit

After the war, German casualties from 21 April to 30 May were recorded as 34,933 by the official historians of the Reichsarchiv. In the British Official History, J. E. Edmonds and G. C. Wynne recorded British losses of 59,275 casualties, the French about 18,000 casualties on 22 April and another 3,973 from 26–29 April. [32] Canadian casualties from 22 April to 3 May were 5,975, of whom about 1,000 men were killed. The worst day was 24 April, when 3,058 casualties were suffered during infantry attacks, artillery bombardments and gas discharges. [33] In 2003, Clayton wrote that thousands of men of the 45th and 87th divisions ran from the gas but that the number of casualties was low. The Germans overran both divisions' artillery but the survivors rallied and held a new line further back. [34] In 2010, Humphries and Maker, in their translated edition of Der Weltkrieg recorded that by 9 May, there had been more than 35,000 German casualties, 59,275 British between 22 April and 31 May and very many French casualties, 18,000 on 22 April alone. [35] In 2012, Sheldon gave similar figures and in 2014, Greenhalgh wrote that French casualties had been exaggerated by propaganda against German "frightfulness" and that in 1998, Olivier Lepick had estimated that 800–1,400 men were killed by gas in April out of 2,000–3,000 French casualties. [36]

Lance Sergeant Elmer Cotton described the effects of chlorine gas,

It produces a flooding of the lungs – it is an equivalent death to drowning only on dry land. The effects are these – a splitting headache and terrific thirst (to drink water is instant death), a knife edge of pain in the lungs and the coughing up of a greenish froth off the stomach and the lungs, ending finally in insensibility and death. The colour of the skin from white turns a greenish black and yellow, the tongue protrudes and the eyes assume a glassy stare. It is a fiendish death to die.

Subsequent operations Edit

The First Attack on Bellewaarde was conducted by the 3rd Division of V Corps on 16 June 1915 and the Second Attack on Bellewaarde, a larger operation, was conducted from 25–26 September 1915 by the 3rd Division and the 14th Division of VI Corps. The Battle of Mont Sorrel (2–13 June 1916) took place south of Ypres with the 20th Division (XIV Corps) and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Canadian divisions of the Canadian Corps. [38] The Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, was fought from 31 July to 10 November 1917. [39]


During the Iran-Iraq war Iraq uses chemical weapons, including tabun, against Iran and Iraq’s Kurdish minority. United Nations experts confirm Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, but there is little international outcry. Iran initiates its own chemical-weapons program in retaliation.

The Chemical Weapons Convention is signed. Beginning in 1997, the disarmament agreement bans the development, production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons.

The Syrian military uses sarin gas against civilians during the Syrian Civil War hundreds are killed. Bashar al-Assad’s government relinquishes its arsenal of chemical weapons after threats of U.S. air strikes.

Fritz Haber, Life and Death

In the early evening of April 22, 1915, a greenish-yellow fog wafted across the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, terrifying and asphyxiating unprepared French troops. This opening act of chemical warfare had been in planning for months and was carried out by many people: installing the nearly 6,000 gas cylinders alone required scores of German hands.

Yet Fritz Haber—and he alone—is the person we most identify with these weapons, and rightly so. Although many have invented, developed, or deployed chemical weapons throughout history, Haber used his considerable intelligence to militarize chemistry in World War I in April 1915 at Ypres he witnessed the first fruits of this labor, the first large-scale use of chemical weapons in contemporary warfare. He remained an unfailing ambassador of such weapons, arguing until his death in 1934 that they are a more humane form of weaponry than modern artillery.

After World War I the Allies deemed Haber a war criminal for his work, and he lay low briefly in Switzerland until his name was removed from the wanted list. Haber continued to research and to promote chemical weapons after the war. As Dietrich Stoltzenberg describes in his comprehensive biography of the man, after World War I, Haber helped improve a one-step process for making mustard gas aided Russia in developing its first chemical-weapons plant by recommending a colleague to Russian emissaries looking for advice and until 1933 helped the German military in its secret chemical-weapon armament and research program, in direct contravention of the peace treaty signed in 1919.

Yet Haber’s work has also deeply benefited humankind. His discovery of the Haber-Bosch reaction underpins the green revolution: the Nobel Prize–winning strategy for synthesizing ammonia paved the way for inexpensive fertilizers, with enormous benefits to agriculture. He also helped lay the foundations of 20th-century electrochemistry and physical chemistry.

Haber’s Janus-faced scientific achievements were mirrored in his personal relationships. To some he was a great friend. According to one of his closest confidants, the chemist and fellow Nobel laureate Richard Willstätter, Haber was loyal, devoted, and entertaining. “The most beautiful trips were the ones I took with Fritz Haber,” Willstätter wrote in his memoirs. “They were hours of friendship in which I came to know and understand his individuality, his noble mind, goodness of heart, wealth of ideas, and his boundless, extravagant drive.” Haber also maintained strong bonds with Albert Einstein, despite their vast differences in opinion about everything from German politics and national pride to the ethics of chemical weapons. During his travels he wrote Einstein postcards in rhyme—as he did for many of his close friends—that were often humorous, ironic, or both.

Yet Haber’s strong ego led to two failed marriages and rocky familial relationships. Haber’s second marriage, to Charlotte Nathan, ended in divorce his first, to Clara Immerwahr, ended when she committed suicide. Their son, Hermann, discovered his mother in a pool of her own blood, but Haber left the boy soon after for the eastern front to help deploy the chemical weapons he invented. In such ways Haber often prioritized his intellectual progeny over his biological offspring. It is perhaps no surprise that according to historian Ute Deichmann, years later Hermann and his wife declined an invitation to attend a scientific memorial for Haber. In a letter Hermann’s wife remarked, “One has no right to celebrate a person dead, whom one would not tolerate alive today.”

Haber’s failures as a family man may have stemmed from his own rocky childhood and poor father figure. As Stoltzenberg notes, Haber’s mother died in childbirth, and his father blamed the son for the loss of his new bride. The father-son relationship never recovered. Despite Haber’s propensity for science, his father disapproved of his son’s “chemical games” and wanted him to join the family dye trade business. Haber obeyed, but the two simply could not get along. In the end Haber was freed of his domineering father’s influence and allowed to pursue his dream.

Haber’s life ended cruelly. He deeply identified as a German and used his skills and intelligence to benefit his country in war and in peace. His Nobel Prize gave him fame, and he took pride in his status as a war hero. Yet by the end of his life his country saw him as little more than a dispensable Jew, even though Haber had converted to Christianity as a young man.

In 1933 Hitler ordered Jews removed from positions in the civil service. After trying but failing to help many of his Jewish colleagues, Haber stepped down from his founding position at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry. He spent the last year of his life wandering around Europe heartbroken—both literally and figuratively. He died in Basel, in 1934, of a heart attack.

Terrible Ingenuity

The German soldier with the worrisome tale was captured by Allied forces in Tunisia on May 11, 1943. He told British interrogators that he was a chemist, far afield from the Berlin lab where he had been working on a new chemical weapon with “astounding properties.” The poison was colorless and nearly odorless, and could asphyxiate its victims in less than 15 minutes—a tale that sounded straight out of a crime novel. But interrogators believed the story and sent a secret 10-page report to British military intelligence, notes Jonathan Tucker in War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to al-Qaeda. Yet British intelligence officials doubted the truth of the report and did nothing—a blunder that could have had lethal repercussions for the Allies in World War II.

Not only had the Germans discovered a new family of chemical weapons—nerve agents called tabun, sarin, and soman—that were far more potent than anything the Allies had at their disposal Hitler had already come close to approving their use on Allied forces after the German army’s defeat in Stalingrad during the winter of 1943. The Nazis also had reconfigured the Dyhernfurth forced-labor camp in present-day Poland to produce thousands of metric tons of tabun.

Although many senior military officers encouraged Hitler to deploy their powerful new chemical weapon, he waffled, likely for two reasons. First, as a victim of gas poisoning during World War I, Hitler recoiled from using chemical poisons on troops—though he had no qualms about deploying poisons on concentration-camp prisoners. Second, German military intelligence was unsure whether the Allies had also discovered nerve agents since some of the foundational research had been done in England. Any Allied retaliation on German civilians could have been catastrophic. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in June 1943 that “any use of gas by any Axis power will immediately be followed by the fullest possible retaliation upon munitions centers, seaports, and other military installations through the whole extent of the territory of such Axis country.”

Yet the Germans overestimated Allied capabilities: the Allies had no nerve poisons at their disposal. The Germans had only acquired the new family of chemical weapons by serendipity. In 1936 a chemist named Gerhard Schrader first synthesized tabun at the German chemical company IG Farben. He was aiming to create an insecticide that would allow Germany to increase its food production. But after Schrader nearly poisoned himself and his lab mates with mere drops of his newly synthesized insecticide, the company realized that tabun was better suited to military applications and forwarded the discovery to German military researchers. Schrader experienced eye irritation, pupils constricted to pinpoints that dimmed the surrounding world, a runny nose, and shortness of breath. Luckily for him he avoided the next stage of nerve-agent poisoning: intense sweating, stomach cramping, muscle twitching, a loss of consciousness, and asphyxiation.

By 1943 a team of German military scientists developing tabun had also designed another nerve agent called sarin that was six times more potent than tabun. The German Nobel laureate Richard Kuhn was called on to help discern why the new poisons were so deadly. He soon discovered that these nerve agents interfere with a critical enzyme, cholinesterase. In the process Kuhn also discovered a third nerve agent: soman.

As the Nazis scaled up production of tabun at Dyhernfurth, they used 20 of the camp’s prisoners as test subjects in nerve-agent experiments a quarter of them died in agony. Dyhernfurth prisoners also were forced to travel alongside train shipments of the nerve agents—effectively used as human canaries to detect leaks of the poison gas. At the end of the war, after two-and-a-half years of production, the factory at Dyhernfurth had produced almost 12,000 metric tons of tabun. Some 10,000 tons were loaded into bombs for the Luftwaffe, and another 2,000 tons were encased in artillery shells. Meanwhile, Tucker writes that hundreds of forced laborers working at Dyhernfurth “had died of exhaustion, malnutrition and toxic exposure.”

In February 1945, as the Russians marched toward Berlin, the Nazis quickly abandoned the Dyhernfurth factory. Hundreds of forced laborers were transferred by foot and in open wagons to another concentration camp, Mauthausen. Two-thirds of them died from exposure to freezing temperatures. The Gestapo tracked down the survivors at Mauthausen and killed them to get rid of witnesses.

Desperate to prevent the Red Army from capturing nerve-agent know-how, the Luftwaffe tried and failed to destroy the Dyhernfurth factory from the air. The Soviets discovered the tabun plant and a sarin pilot plant and carried the plant’s machinery back home. British and U.S. military officials panicked when they learned of the existence of these nerve agents and that the Russians had nabbed an entire factory for making tabun. They hunted down German scientists familiar with nerve-agent production and used their know-how to create and stockpile these new weapons. Thus began a chemical arms race that for decades would parallel the nuclear arms race.

The Dark Side of British Chemical-Weapons Research

I believe it to be rather unlikely that any man in his right mind would have volunteered for such an experiment.

— Ulf Schmidt, historical expert appointed to the
public inquest into the 1953 death of Ronald Maddison

On May 6, 1953, Ronald Maddison, a 20-year-old British soldier, agreed to participate in a medical experiment at the Porton Down military research facility. The promised compensation was tempting: a three-day pass and 15 shillings, which Maddison wanted to use to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend. But Porton Down officials did not disclose that they intended to use him as a human guinea pig to study the effects of the deadly nerve agent sarin.

Scientists placed 200 milligrams of pure sarin on a piece of flannel attached to Maddison’s left forearm. Within half an hour Maddison was drenched in sweat and had lost his hearing he then fell unconscious. At this point scientists injected him with atropine, a treatment for nerve agents, and took him to the hospital but Maddison soon stopped breathing and was pronounced dead. Officials at the highest levels rushed to cover up the death. According to an inquiry conducted decades later, the home secretary had advised the coroner that an “inquest should be held in-camera [i.e., in private] on grounds of national security. Must not be published.”

Maddison was just one among thousands of people used in chemical-weapons experiments at Porton Down. The facility was established by the British military in September 1915, just months after the surprise poison-gas attack at Ypres. Built on 3,000 acres of countryside about 85 miles southwest of London, Porton Down’s aim was to test and research chemical weapons. Scientists at Porton Down, desperate to catch up with their German counterparts, examined 200 substances during World War I. Many of these experiments relied on living creatures, including dogs, goats, and humans.

By modern standards the tests seem absurdly irresponsible: they often took place outdoors, and given the nature of gases, the toxic chemicals tended to drift out of the facility’s confines and into civilian areas, notes Rob Evans, author of Gassed. Another test required a fleet-footed cross-country runner to stand in a field near an arsenical smoke cloud. His job was to judge the cloud’s potency by sniffing and, when the wind changed direction, to run after the cloud and get in front of it.

Evidence suggests many people were tested without consent or without full awareness of what was involved in the Porton Down trials. Major-General Charles Howard Foulkes, commanding officer at Porton Down, wrote that in the military station’s first six months “the greatest difficulty was experienced in getting sufficient men to carry out the experimental work.” Cooks, orderlies, and clerks were diverted from their usual jobs to participate in the experiments, Evans notes.

By the close of World War I, Britain had studied the effects on humans of 96 compounds. But the end of the war did not end the use of human guinea pigs. Instead their numbers rapidly increased. Through the 1950s more than 18,000 humans—mostly soldiers, often referred to by the sanitized euphemism “observer” in official reports—were exposed to a wide variety of established and prospective chemical weapons as well as psychoactive drugs. The nature and riskiness of the experiments were often withheld from these subjects.

In 1970 Porton Down’s classified records began to reach the light of day. Maddison is the only known death, but many human experimental subjects suffered health problems after exposure, either immediately (for example, by falling into a coma) or years later (subjects had higher rates of cancer). In 2004 the jury of a public inquest into the Maddison case deemed that the young man was “unlawfully killed” at Porton Down. More than half a century after his death Maddison’s family received £100,000 in compensation.

“Maddison’s death was an accident waiting to happen that resulted from an inadequate level of disclosure and an understatement of risks, despite the fact that there was widespread consensus in the United Kingdom that the principles of the Nuremberg Code should govern these types of experiments,” notes Ulf Schmidt, the historical expert appointed to the inquest.

“None of the evidence that I have seen indicates that any of the experimental subjects, including Maddison, was ever informed about the specific objective of the experiments,” Schmidt adds. “And I believe it to be rather unlikely that any man in his right mind would have volunteered for such an experiment.”

is the European correspondent for Chemical and Engineering News and has written for Smithsonian, Economist, New Scientistva Amerikalik ilmiy.


Poison Gas and World War One

Poison gas was probably the most feared of all weapons in World War One. Poison gas was indiscriminate and could be used on the trenches even when no attack was going on. Whereas the machine gun killed more soldiers overall during the war, death was frequently instant or not drawn out and soldiers could find some shelter in bomb/shell craters from gunfire. A poison gas attack meant soldiers having to put on crude gas masks and if these were unsuccessful, an attack could leave a victim in agony for days and weeks before he finally succumbed to his injuries.

A French soldier and early gas mask

It is generally assumed that gas was first used by the Germans in World War One. This is not accurate. The first recorded gas attack was by the French. In August 1914, the French used tear gas grenades containing xylyl bromide on the Germans. This was more an irritant rather than a gas that would kill. It was used by the French to stop the seemingly unstoppable German army advancing throughout Belgium and north-eastern France. In one sense, it was an act of desperation as opposed to a premeditated act that all but went against the ‘rules’ of war. However, while the French were the first to use a gas against an enemy, the Germans had been giving a great deal of thought to the use of poison gas as a way of inflicting a major defeat on an enemy.

In October 1914, the Germans attacked Neuve Chapelle. Here they fired gas shells at the French that contained a chemical that caused violent sneezing fits. Once again, the gas was not designed to kill rather than to incapacitate an enemy so that they were incapable of defending their positions.

This took place against a background of a war in the west that was still mobile. Once trench warfare had literally dug in, all sides involved in the conflict looked for any way possible to bring movement back into their campaigns. One of the more obvious was to develop a weapon that was so appalling that it would destroy not only an enemy frontline but also the will to maintain troops on that frontline. Poison gas might even provoke a mass mutiny along a frontline thus causing it to collapse. In other words, poison gas was the answer for the war’s lack of mobility.

Poison gas (chlorine) was used for the first time at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. At around 17.00 hours on the 22nd April, French sentries in Ypres noticed a yellow-green cloud moving towards them – a gas delivered from pressurised cylinders dug into the German front line between Steenstraat and Langemarck. They thought that it was a smokescreen to disguise the movement forwards of German troops. As such, all troops in the area were ordered to the firing line of their trench – right in the path of the chlorine. Its impact was immediate and devastating. The French and their Algerian comrades fled in terror. Their understandable reaction created an opportunity for the Germans to advance unhindered into the strategically important Ypres salient. But even the Germans were unprepared and surprised by the impact of chlorine and they failed to follow up the success of the chlorine attack.

A German bell found at Ypres to warn of a gas attack

What did occur at Ypres was a deliberate use of a poison gas. Now, the gloves were off and other nations with the ability to manufacture poison gas could use it and blame it on the Germans as they had been the first to use it.

The first of the Allied nations to respond to the Ypres gas attack was Britain in September 1915. The newly formed Special Gas Companies attacked German lines at Loos. In the Ypres attack, the German had delivered their chlorine by using pressurised cylinders. For the attack at Loos, the British also used gas cylinders. When the wind was in a favourable direction, chlorine gas was released from the British front line so that it could drift over to the German front line. This was then to be followed by an infantry attack. However, along parts of the British front line, the wind changed direction and the chlorine was blown back onto the British causing over 2,000 casualties with seven fatalities. The Special Gas Companies were not allowed to call their new weapon gas – it was referred to as an “accessory”.

However, the risk of the wind blowing gas back onto you also affected the Germans and French in some of their gas attacks during late 1915.

The development in the use of poison gases led to both phosgene and mustard gas being used. Phosgene was especially potent as its impact was frequently felt only 48 hours after it had been inhaled and by then it had already bedded itself in the respiratory organs of the body and little could be done to eradicate it. Also it was much less apparent that someone had inhaled phosgene as it did not cause as much violent coughing. By the time that phosgene had got into a person’s bodily system, it was too late. Mustard gas was first used by the Germans against the Russians at Riga in September 1917. This gas caused both internal and external blisters on the victim within hours of being exposed to it. Such damage to the lungs and other internal organs were very painful and occasionally fatal. Many who did survive were blinded by the gas.

British soldiers – victims of a poison gas attack

By the time the war ended, the main user of poison gas was Germany, followed by France and then Britain. Though poison gas was a terrifying weapon, its actual impact, rather like the tank, is open to debate. The number of fatalities was relatively few – even if the terror impact did not diminish for the duration of the war.

The British army (including the British Empire) had 188,000 gas casualties but only 8,100 fatalities amongst them. It is believed that the nation that suffered the most fatalities was Russia (over 50,000 men) while France had 8,000 fatalities. In total there were about 1,250,000 gas casualties in the war but only 91,000 fatalities (less than 10%) with over 50% of these fatalities being Russian. However, these figures do not take into account the number of men who died from poison gas related injuries years after the end of the war nor do they take into account the number of men who survived but were so badly incapacitated by poison gas that they could hold down no job once they had been released by the army.

Armies quickly produced gas masks that gave protection as long as sufficient warning was given of a gas attack. Soldiers also used make-shift gas masks if they were caught in the open without a gas mask during a gas attack – cloth soaked in their own urine and placed over the mouth was said to give protection against a chlorine attack. By the end of the war, relatively sophisticated gas masks were available to soldiers in the trenches on the Western Front.


Introducing Poison Gas

Scientists have long played a significant role in the evolution of warfare. This was certainly the case in World War II, which heralded the dawn of the atomic age. Thirty years before the first nuclear bomb fell on Hiroshima, Japan, however, science made one of its most consequential contributions to 20th century warfare with the introduction of poison gas.

The concept of chemical warfare long predated World War I. In the 5th century BC Spartan besiegers used smokescreens against defending Athenians. Leonardo da Vinci reconsidered the use of noxious gas in the 15th century. In the 19th century science fiction authors like H.G. Wells imagined gas warfare, even as military theorists pondered its applications on the battlefield. In the early 1800s chemists introduced chlorine and phosgene gas for industrial purposes—and developed masks to neutralize their effects. The technology for delivering chemical weapons on a large scale did not exist until around 1900, however, and its wartime use was prohibited by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907—albeit without any provisions for enforcement.

At the outset of the war in 1914 scientists in France, Britain and Germany conceived various experimental weapons, including gas. British leaders hesitated to develop poison gas on moral and practical grounds until early 1915, when Maurice Hankey, secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defence, recommended the study of chemical warfare. The idea, he said, was to be prepared to retaliate should the Germans use it first. French officials, meanwhile, experimented with and field-tested tear gas.

The Germans were the first to take steps toward using gas at the front. German Chief of the General Staff Erich von Falkenhayn—later mastermind of the 1916 Battle of Verdun—convened a meeting of scientists in October 1914 to discuss gas and other experimental weapons. Later that month German artillery fired shells filled with of a form of sneezing gas on British troops at Neuve Chapelle, but the gas failed to disperse. After using tear gas with mixed results against the Russians in January 1915 and in the West shortly afterward, the Germans began experimenting with poison gas in hopes of achieving more decisive effects.

Chemist Fritz Haber (1868–1934), who would receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1918 for his work in producing ammonia for fertilizer and explosives, pioneered the German development of poison gas. A Prussian of Jewish descent and a fervent patriot, Haber had been appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry in 1911. When the war began, he put the institute at the government’s disposal and worked to perfect the means of producing and dispersing poison gas, as well as methods to protect against it. The moral implications of his work did not concern Haber.

By early 1915 gas delivery via artillery shells had proven ineffective. Haber worked on new methods and hatched the idea of using fixed cylinders to release clouds of chlorine or phosgene gas. In theory the wind would carry the gas toward enemy troops, driving them from their trenches and rendering them defenseless against German attack. In reward for this innovation Haber received promotion from reserve NCO to army captain.

Many wartime military authorities balked at using poison gas, deeming it “unchivalrous.”But in January 1915 Falkhenhayn— backed by handpicked “experts” who declared that the gas cylinders did not violate the Hague Conventions—gave Haber the goahead for their production and implementation. The Germans chose the Belgian town of Ypres, where they had fought the British to a stalemate in 1914, for the initial use of the weapon. German troops emplaced thousands of gas cylinders there in March and April, rigged to release chlorine gas. Inklings of these preparations reached the Allies, but they took no precautions.

The Germans launched the first major poison gas attack near Ypres on April 22. French colonial troops were the victims. Two days later another gas attack hit Canadian troops who had just entered the trenches. On both occasions the Germans inflicted thousands of casualties and penetrated enemy lines but failed to achieve the hoped-for decisive results. Much the same pattern would follow as the war progressed. Following the initial German example, both sides used increasingly insidious varieties of poison gas and perfected methods of delivery.

Estimated casualties from poison gas in 1915–18 range from 500,000 to 650,000 on the Western Front, including some 73,000 Americans. Thousands more suffered on the Eastern Front and in the Middle East. Of the total casualties, about 75 percent came in 1918, after the Germans introduced mustard gas. The German decision to introduce poison gas helped define the World War I battlefield and inflicted incredible misery, but from a military perspective gas was next to useless. In World War II its use in the West was confined to the Nazi death camps.

Originally published in the March 2013 issue of Harbiy tarix. Obuna bo'lish uchun bu erni bosing.


Primary Sources

(1) Private W. Hay of the Royal Scots arrived in Ypres just after the chlorine gas attack on 22nd April 1915.

We knew there was something was wrong. We started to march towards Ypres but we couldn't get past on the road with refugees coming down the road. We went along the railway line to Ypres and there were people, civilians and soldiers, lying along the roadside in a terrible state. We heard them say it was gas. We didn't know what the Hell gas was. When we got to Ypres we found a lot of Canadians lying there dead from gas the day before, poor devils, and it was quite a horrible sight for us young men. I was only twenty so it was quite traumatic and I've never forgotten nor ever will forget it.

(2) After the chlorine gas attack at Ypres in 1915, Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, explained what happened.

The effect of the gas was so overwhelming that the whole of the positions occupied by the French divisions were rendered incapable of resistance. It was impossible at first to realise what had actually happened. Fumes and smoke were thrown into a stupor and after an hour the whole position had to be abandoned, together with 50 guns.

(3) In 1930 H. S. Clapham published a book of his experiences during the First World War called Mud and Khaki: The Memories of an Incomplete Soldier.

The shells came over just above the parapet, in a flood, much more quickly than we could count them. After a quarter of an hour of this sort of thing, there was a sudden crash in the trench and ten feet of the parapet, just beyond me, was blown away and everyone around blinded by the dust. With my first glance I saw what looked like half a dozen bodies, mingled with sandbags, and then I smelt gas and realised that these were gas shells. I had my respirator on in a hurry and most of our own men were as quick. The others were slower and suffered for it. One man was sick all over the sandbag and another was coughing his heart up. We pulled four men out of the debris unharmed. One man was unconscious, and died of gas later. I started at once to build up the parapet again, for we had been laid open to the world in front, but the gas lingered about the hole for hours, and I had to give up as it made me feel very sick.

(4) In April 1915, Bruce Bairnsfather took part in the offensive at Ypres.

Now we were in it! Bullets were flying through the air in all directions. A few men had gone down already, and no wonder - the air was thick with bullets. In front of me an officer was hurrying along when I saw him throw up his hands and collapse on the ground. I hurried across to him, and lifted his head on to my knee. He couldn't speak and was rapidly turning a deathly pallor. I undid his equipment and the buttons of his tunic as fast as I could, to find out where he had been shot. Right through the chest. The left side of his shirt, near his heart, was stained deep with blood. He was a captain in the Canadians.

All movement in the attack had now ceased, but the rifle and shell fire was as strong as ever. I got hold of a subaltern and together we ran back with a stretcher to where I left the captain. We lifted him on the stretcher. He seemed a bit better, but his breathing was very difficult. How I managed to hold up that stretcher I don't know. I was just verging on complete exhaustion by this time. We got him in and put him down in an outbuilding which had been turned into a temporary dressing station.

I left him, and went across towards the farm. As I went I heard the enormous ponderous, gurgling, rotating sound of large shells coming. I looked to my left. Four columns of black smoke and earth shot up a hundred feet into the air, not eighty yards away. Then four mighty reverberating explosions that rent the air.

As I was on the sloping bank of the gully I heard a colossal rushing swish in the air, and then didn't hear the resultant crash. All seemed dull and foggy a sort of silence, worse than all the shelling, surrounded me. I lay in a filthy stagnant ditch covered with mud and slime from head to foot. I suddenly started to tremble all over. I couldn't grasp where I was. I lay and trembled. I had been blown up by a shell.

I lay there some little time, I imagine, with a most peculiar sensation. All fear of shells and explosions had left me. I still heard them dropping about and exploding, but I listened to them and watched them as calmly as one would watch an apple fall off a tree. I could not make myself out. Was I right or wrong? I tried to get up, and then I knew. The spell was broken. I shook all over, and had to to lie still, with tears pouring down my face. I could see my part in the battle was over.

(5) Stephen Graham, a soldier in the Scots Guards, returned to the Ypres in 1920. The following year he published the book, The Challenge of the Dead (1921)

This Ypres is a terrible place still. There is no life when night comes on but tavern life. Those who live and work here have lost their sense of proportion. They are out of focus somehow. "You looking for dead soldiers," says a Flemish woman to you with a glaring stare, wondering if you are one of the exhumers. Death and the ruins completely outweigh the living. One is tilted out of time by the huge weight on the other side of the plank, and it would be easy to imagine someone who had no insoluble ties killing himself here, drawn by the lodestone of death. There is a pull from the other world, a drag on the heart and spirit. One is ashamed to be alive.

You try to sleep in a little bed in a cubicle with tiny doll's house window. You lie listless, sleepless, with Ypres on the heart, and then suddenly a grand tumult of explosion, a sound as of the tumbling of heavy masonry. You go to the little window, behold, the whole sky is crimson once more, and living streamers of flame ascend to the stars. An old dump has gone up at Langemark. Everyone in Ypres looks out and then returns to sleep - without excitement. The lurid glare dies down stertorous night resumes her sway over the living and the dead. For a moment it was as if the old war had started again.


Saddam’s legacy

The only clear breach of the protocol after the second world war was by Saddam Hussein, who used chemical weapons against Iran in the Iran-Iraq war as well as against Kurds and other minorities in Iraq. As with Ethiopia and China in the 1930s, the stigma on the use of chemical weapons was apparently lessened when the victims had few friends in the outside world. It was probably a stimulus, though, to the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention, which came into force in 1997, and limits not just the use but the production and sale of chemical weapons.

Iraq may have been the only state recently to use chemical weapons—but in 1995 Aum Shinrikyo, a cult, attacked the Tokyo subway system with home-made sarin nerve-gas in an attempt to forestall a police raid on the cult’s headquarters. Almost 1,000 commuters were affected, and a dozen killed. The attack heightened fears that such gases, once the prerogative of nations with mighty chemical industries at their disposal, might now offer, in Mr Price’s phrase, an “insidious equaliser” to otherwise weak and marginal groups. Systems for detecting chemical attacks have since spread across many of the rich world’s cities.

Terrorist use would in all likelihood deepen the taboo around such weapons. As critics have argued for a century or more, the taboo is not rational. Chemical weapons are insidious and ghastly, yes, but so are all sorts of other ways of killing and wounding—and many of those other ways are a lot harder to defend people against. That was Churchill’s position but the parsons and the warriors won out, and as a result there is, at least, one weapon that the world rejects. Some people may find in that rejection a glimmer of hope that other ways of killing might in time also be moved beyond the pale. The complex and contingent set of circumstances that led to the rejection suggests such generalisation will not be easy.

This article appeared in the Briefing section of the print edition under the headline "The shadow of Ypres"

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