El Barmelgy, Aya
2012; World War 1 History
Technologies in World War 1
Poisonous gas was the most feared weapon and can be acknowledged as the fist trace of biological weapons in World War 1. It was used on the trenches even when no attack was going on. Even though it wasn’t the main weapon used like the machine guns, it led to instant death of large numbers of soldiers on enemy sides. People assume that gas was first used in war by the Germans, however that is somewhat inaccurate. France started the first gas attack in August 1914 where it created tear grenades in hope to stop the German army from taking over Belgium, north-eastern France and advancing. The Germans then thought of creating a poisonous gas that would knock out the allied nations to prevent a retaliatory attack.
This is precisely what transpired at the Second battle of Ypres on the 22nd of April, 1915 which was the first biological attack. German’s filled shells containing chlorine and tear gas to force their enemies to remove their gas masks so they would inhale the chlorine gas and die. A curious yellow-green cloud drifted slowly towards the enemy lines bringing death and pain with it. Ironically, it wasn’t a surprise to the Allied troops, for they have been told about the gas from the captured German soldiers but their warnings weren’t passed on. The effects of chlorine gas were severe, after a few seconds of inhaling; it destroyed the victim’s respiratory organs and caused continuous choking attacks. A British soldier described the scene: “[I watched] figures running wildly in confusion over the fields. Greenish-gray clouds swept down upon them, turning yellow as they traveled over the country blasting everything they touched and shriveling up the vegetation. . . . Then there staggered into our midst French soldiers, blinded, coughing, chests heaving, faces an ugly purple color, lips speechless with agony in the gas soaked trenches..” This act of violence damaged...