Friday, April 22, 2011

On April 22

On this day in ...
... 1915, during World War I, lethal poison gas 1st was used as a weapon of armed conflict. This unfortunate milestone occurred in the 2d Battle of Ypres, Belgium, along a 10-mile frontline that troops from France, Algeria, Britain, and Canada, defended against German opponents. As the sun set, "a curious yellow-green cloud drifting slowly" over the line. It was chlorine gas. "Within seconds of inhaling its vapour it destroyed the victim's respiratory organs, bringing on choking attacks." Despite condemnation of this tactic, "the use of poison gas continued to escalate for the remainder of the war." (credit for photo of Australian troops wearing gas masks during this period) The weapon would be outlawed once the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare entered into force on February 8, 1928.

(Prior April 22 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

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