The Poisonous Cloud: Chemical Warfare in the First World War

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9780198581420: The Poisonous Cloud: Chemical Warfare in the First World War

The introduction of chemical warfare during the First World War was a major event in the history of military technology. It not only posed an unusual challenge to military thinking of the day, which was largely conventional and wholly unfamiliar with science; it also created a heated moral controversy surrounding the new weapon that did not discriminate between soldiers and civilians. This study, based on a previously unavailable range of archival material and statistical data, explores the military role of chemical warfare as well as its effects on people, industries and administration on both sides. The book also fully examines the complex issues raised by this new technology, which were debated endlessly between the wars and have led to recent agreements among the powers to curb their use of chemical or biological warfare. This study was planned in close cooperation with Sir Harold Hartley, who became head of British chemical warfare in 1918.

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"Arguably the best book yet written on the subject....Provides an excellent history of a technical innovation in weaponry and of cultural barriers that affected its acceptance and usage."--The Historian


"This long and detailed book by the son of Nobel laureate, Fritz Haber (who was the German Army's director of gas warfare), is in every way a triumph--it is a superb volume, fascinating, [and] directed at the general reader."--History: Reviews of New Books


"This is as complete, balanced, and authoritative a study of chemical war as can be expected....It is rich in insights relevant to contemporary policy considerations."--The Washington Quarterly


"A penetrating, analytical study of gas warfare....This thought-provoking study also has broader implications for understanding the role of science in modern warfare and the impact of war on scientific and technological progress."--Science


"A very thorough study....The result of an immense amount of research, and personal interviews with scientists in Britain and Germany who were also involved."--International Journal on World Peace


"An especially remarkable account of the history of chemical warfare....This is a superb scholarly history."--ISIS


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