1899 treaty, 1915, chemical warfare, chlorine, chlorine bleach, chlorine gas, chlorine gas attacks, France, Fritz Haber, gas attacks, Germany, Haber, Holocaust, Nazi Germany, tear gas, war crimes, World War I, World War II, Ypres, Zyklon B
Chlorine is effective at killing microbes and bleaching, but it can also kill people. Even in smaller doses, it creates toxic byproducts, so that ozonation is increasingly used to disinfect. DDT was highly effective, but found to be unsafe.
This serves as a reminder that things can be both effective and dangerous.
And, of the forgotten cruelty of chemical warfare, initiated by Germany, during World War I.
Let us recall, as well, that the experimental BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine has already made the Struengmann twins the richest Germans. And, let us recall their connection to Apartheid South Africa; and their Nazi forefathers – apparently literal (grandfather German General Krueger), as well as metaphorical. And, what about the allegations that BioNTech-Pfizer is using Polish (orphan) infants as vaccine guinea pigs? While Pfizer’s CEO claims to be of Jewish ethnicity, so was Haber, who developed a process that led to the gas that killed his fellow Jews, after he was instrumental in helping Germany kill the French with chlorine gas. His wife opposed his work and apparently committed suicide, because of it.
Excerpted from: “Chlorine: the gas of war crimes” by Kathryn Harkup
Fri 16 Sep 2016 07.00 BST
“Chlorine , the 17th element in the periodic table, is an industrially important chemical. Among other applications it is used in the dying industry and forms the basis for many household bleaches. But chlorine is perhaps most well known as an addition to swimming pools where, in small quantities, it reacts with the water to form hypochlorous acid that kills bacteria and prevents the growth of algae, resulting in safe, sanitary conditions for swimming.
Chlorine also has a much darker history in conflicts stretching back to the first world war. Its use at Ypres on 22 April 1915  marked a new era in chemical warfare. The possible threat of gas attacks had resulted in a treaty signed in 1899 prohibiting their use.
The treaty did not stop the French from launching shells containing a primitive tear gas on German lines in 1914 but their aim had been disruption.
The development of chlorine gas attacks were designed to kill. To avoid breaching the words of the treaty, though not the spirit, the pioneer of chemical warfare, Fritz Haber, planned the release of the gas from canisters – no projectiles would be involved.
The theory went that the pale green or yellow gas would be slowly pushed over no-mans-land towards the French lines by the wind. The heavier than air gas would then sink into the trenches. The hope was that the choking fumes would cause panic and chaos. French troops would simply run away and a gap would be left wide open for German troops, wearing gas masks, to advance and gain huge amounts of ground. Yes, there would be casualties, but reluctant German officials unsure of the technology were persuaded into trying Haber’s innovative plan as he claimed it would shorten the war and thereby save countless lives in the long run.
Canisters of chlorine were amassed along a fifteen mile stretch of German lines. When the wind eventually turned in the Germans’ favour (the prevailing wind was from the French trenches towards the German lines) the plan proceeded exactly as Haber had predicted. One hundred French troops died in the attack – a remarkably small number in a conflict that regularly saw the slaughter of thousands. But the Germans failed to capitalise on the gaping breach in French lines. As German troops tentatively advanced behind the gas, they were attacked by Canadian and British troops stationed alongside the French.
In the following months, the Allies also developed methods of deploying chlorine gas and both sides went on to develop even more toxic and devastating chemical agents to unleash on their enemies. Haber’s hopes for shortening the war were hopelessly off the mark. After the first chlorine attack at Ypres, the war would continue to grind on for another three and a half years, and estimates of over a million people are thought to have died as a result of the use of poison gas…
Death can be relatively quick or agonisingly slow, depending on the extent of the damage.”
Up to 500 words allowed in a personal blog along with a link back to theguardian.com “Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd”. https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2016/sep/16/chlorine-the-gas-of-war-crimes
Disinfection of Drinking Water: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234590/
Haber was born Jewish but had converted to Christianity:
“Fritz Haber: Jewish chemist whose work led to Zyklon B” By Chris Bowlby BBC Radio 4, Published 12 April 2011 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-13015210
“Haber greeted World War I with enthusiasm, joining 92 other German intellectuals in signing the Manifesto of the Ninety-Three in October 1914. Haber played a major role in the development of the non-ballistic use of chemical warfare in World War I, in spite of the proscription of their use in shells by the Hague Convention of 1907 (to which Germany was a signatory). He was promoted to the rank of captain and made head of the Chemistry Section in the Ministry of War soon after the war began.: 133 In addition to leading the teams developing chlorine gas and other deadly gases for use in trench warfare, Haber was on hand personally when it was first released by the German military at the Second Battle of Ypres (22 April to 25 May 1915) in Belgium.: 138 Haber also helped to develop gas masks with adsorbent filters which could protect against such weapons…. From 1919 to 1923 Haber continued to be involved in Germany’s secret development of chemical weapons, working with Hugo Stoltzenberg, and helping both Spain and Russia in the development of chemical gases.: 169 …” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Haber
Emphasis our own throughout.