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World War I Essay

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By 1917, World War I was the most brutal conflict that had ever been seen on the world stage. It was no longer a war that only involved the European powers, but also countries from all over the world including the United States. During the war, the total number of casualties reached over 37 million and over eight million lives were lost (“WWI Casualty and Death Tables” 1). The extremely high number of casualties was mostly caused by new developments in warfare technology. One of the most well remembered weapons of World War I was mustard gas. Mustard gas caused the soldiers’ skin and internal organs to blister and could be fatal, but could take anywhere from a week to an entire month to claim the lives of its victims from the inside out. Mustard gas has gone down in history as one of the most dreaded elements of the war. This horrific example of chemical weaponry is just one of the numerous amounts of new warfare technology used during the First World War, including other types of chemical weapons, machine guns, bombing techniques, airplanes, submarines and radio.
Mustard gas was not the only example of chemical weaponry used during World War I. The first example of this was the Germans use of a gas called phosgene in mid-1915, which caused drastic damage to the lungs (Mack 2). The Germans began using mustard gas in 1916 and soon both sides began to use poison gas as a weapon. At a lab at American University, which at its peak employed over 1,200 scientists specifically to create chemical weapons for the war, a new gas called Lewisite was developed. Lewisite poisoned its victims through the skin and rendered gas masks useless against it. During the war as many as 50 different gases were used by both sides (Mack 2). When the war e...


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...eb. 22 May 2013.
Martin, Jonathan. "Gatling Gun." North Carolina History Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2013.
"Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures." Newspaper Pictorials. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 21 May 2013.
"U.S. Submarines in World War I." U.S. Submarines in World War I. United States Navy, n.d. Web. 03 June 2013.
“Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare.” Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. Geneva: n.p., 1925. Un.org. United Nations. Web. 21 May 2013.
White, Thomas H. "13. Radio During World War One (1914-1919)." 13. Radio During World War One (1914-1919). N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2013.
"WWI Casualty and Death Tables." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 04 June 2013.



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