Thursday, February 21, 2013

Two German soldiers and their mule wearing gas masks in WWI, 1916

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The Hague Declaration of 1899 and the Hague Convention of 1907 forbade the use of "poison or poisonous weapons" in warfare, yet more than 124,000 tons of gas were produced by the end of World War I. The French were the first to use chemical weapons during the First World War, using the tear gases, ethyl bromoacetate and chloroacetone.One of Germany's earliest uses of chemical weapons occurred on October 27th, 1914 when shells containing the irritant, dianisidine chlorosulfonate, were fired at British troops near Neuve-Chapelle, France. Germany used another irritant, xylyl bromide, in artillery shells that were fired in January 1915 at the Russians near the town of Bolimów, nowadays in Poland.[22] The first full-scale deployment of deadly chemical warfare agents during World War I, was at the Second Battle of Ypres, on April 22, 1915, when the Germans attacked French, Canadian and Algerian troops with chlorine gas. Deaths were light, though casualties relatively heavy.A total 50,965 tons of pulmonary, lachrymatory, and vesicant agents were deployed by both sides of the conflict, including chlorine, phosgene and mustard gas. Official figures declare about 1,176,500 non-fatal casualties and 85,000 fatalities directly caused by chemical warfare agents during the course of the war.

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