Chemical Warfare In Trench Warfare

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It could also be argued that the killing of soldiers in World War One was unavoidable because they’re enlisted to fight and die if need be. Soldiers die in war because that’s their job, they volunteer or are drafted to protect their land and its people with their lives when necessary. It is unfortunate that human life must be lost at all, but in war, it cannot be avoided. Trench warfare is a particularly harsh style of fighting, is extremely dangerous for the attacker, and men in those days had weaponry similar to today, but did not have comparable body armor. Technology advanced so fast that, initially, the men simply didn’t know what they were facing. “The first battles were the bloodiest. Soldiers had no actual knowledge of what heavy guns …show more content…

Chemicals were the most feared weapon of World War One for a good reason, many soldiers froze or turned and ran in terror when they saw evidence of gas because those caught in it without a proper gas mask died a slow and painful death.The morale of an army while it is intangible, is extremely important, and nothing could destroy it like chemical weapons. Sometimes the main goal behind a gas attack wasn’t even physical harm, often it was simply to terrorize the enemy or even hide an infantry or some other kind of assault. Soldiers that didn’t die from exposure to gas were usually so adversely affected they could no longer perform basic tasks, let alone fight a battle. Mustard gas, for example, is one of World War One’s most famous and feared weapons, yet it rarely killed those exposed to it. It did, however, often cause blindness, lifelong respiratory problems, and severe burns on the skin that could easily lead to cancer down the road. In some ways, chemical weapons were even more effective when they didn’t kill enemy soldiers because for combat purposes they were as good as dead but their medical needs consumed noticeably more resources than a battle ready soldier did. Poison gas may have been responsible for only one percent of fatalities, but it didn’t need to kill to be an …show more content…

It’s just that neither side cared enough to distribute effective gas masks or even warn the townspeople about the chemicals. The second reason was that usually the few warning systems in place were too slow, the gas masks that did get distributed were often ineffective in stopping the poison gases, and there weren’t usually enough masks for everybody. A huge reason the number of soldier deaths were so high was because outdated tactics were used throughout the war against comparatively advanced weaponry. So instead of developing better tactics commanders simply ordered their men to run straight into a hail of bullets and artillery shells toward an entrenched enemy. This, especially when combined with the fact that many weren’t altogether savvy of just how effective things like machine guns could be against a headlong charge, led to millions of needless deaths. I’d also like to point out several notable war crimes of World War One, where soldiers and civilians alike were needlessly killed. There were the Baralong Incidents where a British warship, the HMS Baralong, on two occasions sank a German sub and the captain had the surviving crew executed even though they were helpless. In the HMHS Llandovery Castle incident, a German sub sank a Canadian hospital ship called the Llandovery Castle

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