The Progression of Dehumanization An Observation of WWI through technological advancements

TECHNOLOGY designed for Mass human destruction

Chemical Warfare In WWI

tear Gas

Tear Gas was first used in 1914 by the French Forces to fight off the German enemies. During WWI, three main types of tear gas were used: Ethyl Bromoacetate, Chloroacetone, and Xylyl Bromide. They all caused similar effects: membranous mucous was irritated in the mouth, throat, lungs and especially the eyes. The swelling of the mucous membrane caused crying, coughing, difficulty breathing, and of course, temporary blindness. Symptoms subsided after roughly a few hours, so tear gas was used to slow the enemy invasion, not to kill (Compound Chem 1).

Tear Gas would be in encapsulated in grenades


Chlorine (Cl2) is a yellow/green gas, and soldiers of WWI described its odor as a "distinct pepper and pineapple" stench(Compound Chem 1). Chlorine is reactive with water, when the two combine, they form HCl, better known as hydrochloric acid. Like many acids, human contact with hydrochloric acid is very devastating. When one inhales chlorine gas, the water in their lungs combined with the chlorine, to result in hydrochloric acid in the lungs. The inhalation caused coughing, vomiting, irritated eyes, and rapid death. The potency required for these results would only have to be one part per million(Compound Chem 1). The first use of this gas was by the Germans in April of 1914, against the French in Ypres. The use of the gas was not limited to the German Forces although, the use was continued later in the war by the British (Irwin 1).

"An incoming German artillery shell explodes near a British first aid station. Below: British soldiers display a captured German 5.9-inch field gun that will be quickly added to their arsenal" (The History Place 1).
Gas Masks were created to prevent exposure of chlorine gas (Pruszewicz 1)

Mustard Gas

Mustard Gas ( bls(2-chloroethyl)sulfide), was first used in war July 12th, 1917. The German Forces implemented the use of the gas against the British at Ypres, the same place the first chlorine gas attack was, two years prior. The gas in it's most is most dangerous when it is is impure. At its impure state, it is yellowish brown (giving it the name 'mustard gas'), and has been described to smell like garlic or horseradish. Mustard gas caused unsightly blistering of the skin, chemical burns when it came in contact with skin, and irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Some forms of mustard gas were synthesized in order to directly effect DNA to cause cell death (Compound Chem 1).

"A typical casualty from mustard gas"(Military History Now 1)

Chemical warfare, first implemented in WWI, caused approximately 1,240,000 non-fatal casualties, and 91,000 fatalities (Compound Chem 1)

The Killing machines of wwI

German U-Boats

Synthesized from the American made "Holland Boat", a boat built in America for novelty rather than war, the Germans created the U-Boat. Essentially, the U-Boat is a submarine, that bears torpedoes, a machine gun, and German soldiers, and was created to prevent the British naval blockade on Germany. Although there were a set of laws, the Cruiser Laws, that prevented Germany from sinking commercial or merchant ships without warning, the German declared a policy of "Unrestricted Submarine Warfare"(Flank 1). The Germans proceeded to sink an average of two ships off of Great Britain's coast per day. The sinking of the Lusitania off of the coast of Ireland killed 1,298 people, and is the reason for America's ultimate decision to join the war. This did not stop Germany from developing their next weapon, a submarine that was able to drop 12 mines that attached to the sea floor, creating very hazardous waters (Rhodes 1).

German Zeppelins

The zeppelin existed prior to the beginning of World War I, but was used for commercial flight. These 600 foot long hydrogen powered 'balloons' were used by the Germans to invade Britain in 1915. Zeppelins were armed with roughly 4,500 pounds of incendiary bombs and grenades(Klein 1). Great Britain was raided over 20 times between 1915-1917 (Rhodes 1). The German Zeppelin lead to about 700 deaths and 2,000 wounded (Encyclopedia Britannica 1).

innovations in aircrafts

Proceeding the use of the Zeppelin as a war tactic, the Germans created a smaller, but deadlier, bombers: the Gotha and Giant Bombers. The Gotha and Giant Bombers were put into use in 1917, and instantly Britain was impacted by the new and improved killing machine. These planes could fly higher than any of Britain's, and caused more destruction in less time, giving the Germans an advantage in air warfare (BBC 1).


Created with images by The Official CTBTO Photostream - ""Ivy Mike" atmospheric nuclear test - November 1952" • Studio Incendo - "Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution #umbrellarevolution #umbrellamovement #occupyhk #occupyhongkong" • Amort1939 - "gas mask pripyat chernobyl" • wellcome images - "V0030745 The German zeppelin Viktoria Luise" • Great War Observer - "Three German bomber aircraft handed over to the Allies after the armistice at Cologne-Bickendorf, Germany, in December 1918. They are, from the left, a Gotha G.VII, an AEG G.II and a Friedrichshafen G.IIIa" • Skitterphoto - "barbwire barbed wire wire"

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