April 22, 1915, is the day where it all began. The day of the first chlorine gas attack. Leading this attack was a man known as Fritz Haber. He and his troops placed 5,730 gas cylinders near the the trenches of Belgian town, Ypres. In the beginning of its time, many officers were skeptical of using chlorine gas as a weapon. They saw it as a “bad stunt.” However, after much persuasion and showings of how deadly the gas could be, Haber finally convinced a commander, Western Front, to give it a try. As a result of using this gas, 1,100 of Front’s opponents were killed and many more were injured after the the chlorine gas attack. Due to the this event, people’s views on using chlorine gas as a weapon changed rapidly. They began looking more into it and reevaluating their thoughts about it. However, why chlorine gas? Why not some other deadly gas? Chlorine back in the day was something that was cheap to make and was something that didn’t affect the making of conventional weapons. Another thing was that it was heavier than most gases which allowed it to sink to the floor rather than staying up in the air and evaporating from the sky. Finally the most effective reason why chlorine gas was used was because it really affected a person when inhaling it in. The gas would irritate your eyes, throats, lungs and nose or even make you develop asphyxiation which you could die from. Chlorine gas was also useful in killing large groups of people. Setting up multiple cylinders around the area you want to infect could really help your chances of killing off more people in larger quantities. The only major downfall of these gas cylinders was that it depended heavily on what direction the wind was blowing at. If you release the gas when the wind is blowing in the opposite direction then where you actually want it to go, you have wasted your gas supply and your chance to kill your opponents. Later in 1917, Germans introduced the mustard gas. “King of the battle gases” as it was called back then, it was an oily liquid that not only had all the characteristics of a regular poisonous gas, it was able to attack the skin as well. Your body ends up to start rotting, inside and out, the skin starts to blister up, you begin to feel nauseous and you start to begin vomiting. Overall, throughout World War I, poisonous gases played a good role in damaging people’s health and in most cases killing them off.
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