What Chemical Warfare Was Like During The First World War

first published on May 9, 2017 by

Archived footage, and interviews come together to show a compelling documentary of what chemical warfare was like during the first World War.

Imagine you are 16-years-old. You have signed up for the military, illegally, in order to support your country in the war that is being called “The War to End All Wars,” by the newspapers. You have no idea what kind of horrors you are signing up to see, but you know that you have to be there to fight for your very way of life. At just 16 years of age, you find yourself in a trench, the most experienced fighter in your platoon is a 22-year-old Sergeant, and on your first day he throws you a rubber mask with two eye holes and a long tube going down to something that looks like a filter.

On top of the withering machine gun fire, and constant bombardment from artillery in your trenches, you have to be prepared for the air to get poisoned at any moment in a cloud of death. Nothing you can do, other than donning this tightly fitting rubber mask, will stop the death from taking you away from the world. On top of worrying about the sound of a whistle pushing you over the edge of your trench, and directly into a human wave of men running towards machine gun fire, you have to worry about this poison.

This is World War 1. This is why chemical weapons are outlawed. This is why that even during the horrors of war, most countries have opted to not use chemical weapons against each other. The video below is about 47 minutes long. If you do not have time to watch it now, make sure you add it to your “watch later list,” so you can come back to it. This short documentary is fascinating.