The Chemical Weaponry Utilised In World War One and their Effects on Modern Ethics and Morals

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World War One (1914-1918) remains, even today, one of the most infamous and controversial wars in the history of mankind, with a legacy that, through groundbreaking revolutions in chemical warfare, completely altered the way ethics and morals, as they relate to warfare, are perceived in modern society. The many countries involved in WW1 were the first to employ brutal weapons such as machine guns, torpedoes, tanks and zeppelins, weapons which had never been supplied to armies ever before. However, the greatest developments in weaponry of that time period, and arguably the most disputatious in regards to ethics and morals, were the momentous innovations that took place in the field of chemical weaponry. Countries across Europe and Asia could all claim to possess well-funded government facilities with which to create these weapons and these facilities made impressive advances in this particular field. The most prominently supported product of the collective research of these chemists, all from different countries but all working towards the same goal, was gas. The usage of this hazardous, and often times lethal, gas took some of the warring nations by surprise and was extremely effective in trench warfare, one of the primary styles of warfare applied in WW1. Because of the inhumane nature of these weapons, many leaders of the world questioned the correctness of their usage and as a result, modern warfare has evolved to factor in society’s concerns for the moral and ethical elements of warfare as well as recognise how this type of war affects the human consciousness and psych.

The first country to officially begin using chemical warfare was France. Instead of utilizing fatal or disabling poisons, they opted for tear-inducing irri...

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...only massive worldwide change, but also intense psychological transformation.

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