The joined States’ long background relating to chemical warfare stretches ago to before World battle I. When chemical warfare was a battlefield reality, to protect our Military pressures on the battlefield and to ensure they had actually the capabilities needed to defeat our nation’s adversaries, the united States emerged several research study and development facilities, chemical and also filling plants, prove grounds, and chemical maintain areas. Today, the unified States, a signatory to the Chemical weapons Conventions (CWC), is in the procedure of destroying the last of its chemical munitions stockpile. Together such, the unified Statesno longer maintains an attack chemical war capability. The DoD has currently cleaned up several previous chemical facilities and also training locations located in the unified States and also continues to carry out so today. Several of the significant events relating come the involvement of the United claims in chemical warfare are presented in figure 1.

You are watching: Chemical weapons in world war i

Prior to people War I

International initiatives to avoid the usage of gift (toxic) chemistry in land warfare began in the 19th century. The first attempt in ~ an international commitment limiting the usage of such tools was the 1874 worldwide Declaration worrying the Laws and Customs that War, which contained in write-up 13(a), a prohibition against poison or poisoned arms.

The next attempt to be the Hague Convention of 1899. The convention included the declaration on the usage of Projectiles the object of which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases, i m sorry sought to prohibit the “… use of projectiles the object of i m sorry is the diffusion that asphyxiating or deleterious gases.” In all, 27 nations, including Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, good Britain, and Russia, eventually agreed to this provision.

In the 20th century, post 23 the the 1907 Hague Convention on floor Warfare clearly prohibited the usage of "poison or poisoned weapons" in warfare.

World war I (1914-1918)

Despite these worldwide efforts, world War I witnessed the first large-scale use of toxic chemical weapons in land warfare.

French (August 1914) and German (October 1914) forces an initial used limited quantities that the tear gases ethyl bromoacetate and also chloroacetone, versus entrenched troops. The concentrations accomplished in the field were reportedly so small that the use of the chemistry went mostly unnoticed.


The battle of Bolimóv on January 31, 1915, witnessed the very first large-scale use of tear gas, once German pressures fired part 18,000 shells containing liquid xylyl bromide tear gas at Russian positions. Back the chemical can be extremely irritating, its usage in fight proved ineffective.

The second Battle the Ypres, Belgium on April 22, 1915, witnessed the first successful large use that lethal chemistry weapons, when the royal German military released 188 tons of bertholite (chlorine gas) against French and Canadian forces, bring about 6,000-7,000 casualties.

After the use of chlorine gas in ~ Ypres, the U.S. Military began studying chemical warfare. Initial study took ar at the American college Experiment Station near Washington, ar of Columbia (D.C.). Now this place is the spring Valley Site and is being remediated under the formerly Used Defense sites (FUDS) Program, component of the bigger Defense eco-friendly Restoration program (DERP).

Determining that chemical war was a far-ranging threat come U.S. Forces and an offensive weapon that could not it is in discounted, the military Ordnance department assigned chemical protective methods and chemical weapons production to the army Chemical Warfare business (CWS). Created June 28, 1918, the CWS had seven main divisions:


Research, responsible because that identification of chemical agents in Washington, D.C.Gas Defense, responsible for manufacturing of gas masks in long Island City, new York. Gas Offense, responsible for chemical agents and also weapons manufacturing at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland.Development, responsible for charcoal production and also pilot-plant job-related on mustard agent production.Proving Ground, which to be co-located through Training at Lakehurst, new Jersey.Medical, responsible for the pharmacological aspects of chemical defense.


Nearly 2 years passed between the first use of toxicity gas at Ypres and the statements of war by the unified States. The United states faced significant challenges in creating large-scale production framework for chemical agents, chemical-filled shells, and also the machinery because that filling the shells. In February 1917, the U.S. Office of Mines readily available assistance to the battle Department (predecessor come DoD). One area studied by U.S.Bureau the Minesinvolved development of massive methods for the manufacturing of chloropicrin (PS) and phosgene (CG). In 1917-1918, the CWS constructed large-scale production plants at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland (later the Edgewood Area, Aberdeen prove Ground)and at number of contractor-owned facilities.

At Edgewood Arsenal, three plants created chlorine, PS, mustard (H), and also CG. Over there were likewise threeshell-filling plants. The very first filled 75-millimeter (mm), 155-mm, 4.7-inch, and Livens projectiles v CG. A 2nd plant filled 155-mm projectiles v H or PS. Two planned shell-filling tree were not completed prior to the end of the war.

Edgewood Arsenal produced more than 935 tons of CG and also 711 lots of H by 1918. Government contractors additionally produced chlorine(CL), lewisite (L), H, and also a mixture of PS and CG (PG). Complete U.S. Toxic chemical agent production in people War i was around 2,500 tons. L was in transit to Europe ~ above November 11, 1918 (the date the Armistice got in effect), and also was disposed of in the Atlantic Ocean. Figure 2 shows some of the chemical agent production framework during human being War I.


Delivery Systems


During the war, the army used foreign-made attack chemical weapons and also delivery systems. American forces fired both British and French chemical rounds from 75-mm, 4.7-inch, 155-mm, and larger-caliber guns; many were French shells filled through CG and H, and also British shells filled through Hand L.


Despite the production, during civilization War I, the U.S. Did not employ any type of domestically produced chemical agents or weapons in combat.

After 1919, all CWS departments except Headquarters moved to Edgewood Arsenal, which ongoing research and development, stockpiling of chemistry agents and munitions, and training. Chemistry agents and also munitions unused during people War I ended up being the basis of the Army’s stockpile.

On July 1, 1920, the CWS ended up being a permanent part of the constant Army, and began come standardize chemistry agents, defensive measures, and also the way of delivery.


In 1928, the CWS selected 7 chemical agents and also smoke/obscurants for military use: H, methyldichloroarsine (MD), adamsite (DM), chloroacetophenone (CN), titanium tetrachloride (FM), white phosphorus (WP), and zinc oxide andhexachloroethane (HC).CL, PS, L, and also CGand to be of lesser importance.

In 1937, Edgewood Arsenal rehabilitated the people War ns mustard agent manufacturing line and produced an additional 154 lots of H. Concurrently;the CWS upgraded the Edgewood Arsenal CGplant and also standardized CG as a primary chemical agent.

Delivery Systems

During the 1920s and 1930s, the CWS stockpiled Livens projectors as well as cylinders and also Stokes mortars. In addition, the army manufactured chemical agent-filled shells for 75-mm, 105-mm, and 155-mm artillery pieces.

In 1924, the joined States. Standardized the style of the Livens projector and also the 4-inch Stokes chemical mortar. This standardization addressed theweapons solution includingthe projectiles and the distribution system provided to fire them.

The Livens Projector is similar to a m

ortar. As presented in number 3, the projector was a steel tube, with the muzzle elevated to around 45 degrees and also the breech installed in the ground. The projector threw a canister of chemical agent or a have the right to of petroleum plan to set fire to foe emplacements. The selection varied native 350 to much more than 1,000 yards.

The 4-inch Stokes chemistry Mortar included a smoothbore metal tube, a fixed base plate, and also a lightweight bipod. Every shell held 6 come 9 pounds that PS, L, CG, the smoke/obscurant HC, or the tear gas CN.

In 1928, the united States presented the version M1 4.2-inch chemical Mortar. The M1 mortar projectiles can be fill with any kind of one that a number of compounds including high explosive (HE) (trinitrotoluene ), a chemistry agent (e.g., distilled mustard (HD) and smoke/obsurant (e.g., WP) variants.

Having seen the importance of aviation during world War I, the CWS arisen the M1 30-pound chemical bomb. This bomb, never ever used in combat, held around 10 pounds of chemistry agent. In 1933, the CWS occurred the M10 Spray Tank. This tank held 320 pounds the H, 470 pounds of L, or smoke/obscurants. Likewise, the use of mine warfare led to advancement to the M1 chemistry Land Mine in 1939. This mine held virtually 10 pounds the H, and also used detonating cord come burst the can and disseminate the agent.


While job-related on new chemical agents and also weapons continued throughout the globe, international efforts to outlaw the use of these weapons additionally continued. Because that example, the Limitation of eight Conference, held in Washington, D.C., in 1922, proposed a ban on the usage of poisonous gases except in retaliation. However, it was no ratified and also was never ever implemented.

This unsuccessful attempt was adhered to in 1925 through the Protocol because that the prohibition of the usage in battle of Asphyxiating, poison or other Gases, and of Bacteriological methods of Warfare, dubbed the Geneva Protocol. This agreement, signed by 28 nations including the United claims (but not validated by the Senate) condemned the usage of gas and bacteriological warfare.

During the inter-war years, the Army’s involvement v chemical agents and munitions was minimal to research, development, testing, evaluation and training.


Partly a solution to the war in Europe, 1940 and also 1941 saw a significant expansion that CWS infrastructure in the unified States.The CWS built new arsenals in Huntsville, Alabama;Pine Bluff, Arkansas;and Denver, Colorado, and also established the Dugway proving Ground in western Utah. In addition to military facilities, the CWS set up numerous commercial suppliers, including, factories in Columbus, Ohio, Kansas City, Missouri, and brand-new Cumberland, Pennsylvania, which make protective clothing; plants at Zanesville and also Fostoria, Ohio, developed charcoal-filters; and impregnate (used to make garments impermeable to chemistry agents) factories were set up at eastern St. Louis, Illinois, Midland, Michigan, and also Niagara Falls, new York.

Between 1940 and 1945, the CWS produced approximately 146,000 loads of chemical agents at areas throughout the unified States.Figure 4lists several of the chemical agent production framework during people War II.


Delivery Systems

The growth of chemistry agent stockpiles consisted of a matching increase in the variety of delivery systems. The U.S. Military began the war v 44 4.2-inch chemical mortars. Demands for these versatile mortars thrived rapidly as dedicated chemical mortar battalions were integrated into the standard army divisional structure. Concurrently, there were demands for improvements in accuracy, durability, lull in manufacturing, and maximum range. The very first redesigned mortar, the M1A1, had a variety of 3,200 yards. The following generation was the M2 4.2-inch mortar. During the war, the CWS procured much more than 8,000 M2 chemical mortars because that chemical mortar battalions. Back the mortar could fire H-filled shells, and more than 450,000 H-filled shells were produced, no one were provided in combat by U.S. Forces.

Field pho units had actually 75-mm, 105-mm, and also 155-mm shells filled v mustard certified dealer or lewisite because that the traditional artillery cannon and also howitzers the the time. For the army Air Force, the CWS created 100-pound mustard agent bombs; 500-pound CG or cyanogen chloride (CK) bombs; 1,000-pound CG, CK, orhydrocyanic mountain (AC) bombs; and the M33 spray tank hold 750 come 1,120 pounds the H or L.

The CWS likewise developed detection capabilities: the M4 H Vapor Detector Kit, the M5 fluid detector paint, the M6 fluid detector paper, and also the M7 detector crayon. The M9 chemistry Agent Detector Kit to be a milestone. Developed in 1943, the M9 kit had actually a sampling pump, 4 bottles the reagents, and also six clips the detector tubes. It might detect arsenicals (e.g., L), H, and CG, using simple color based tests.



Drawing top top the experience of world War I and the initiatives in the inter-war years to institute international agreements prohibiting usage of chemical weapons, at an early stage in the war, chairman Roosevelt created a no first-use plan for chemical weapons.The Axis countries wisely chose not to initiate wide-scale chemistry warfare against the ally powers. Thus, no one of the U.S. Chemical weapons were supplied on the battlefield throughout the war.

The finish of human being War II in 1945 triggered a huge demobilization of the U.S. Armed Forces. By early 1946, the CWS to be demobilized to pre-war levels. The military did proceed some technical Services, including the CWS, as part of the post-war regular Army. One acknowledgment of the need for a chemistry warfare company with the military was Public legislation 607, enacted on respectable 2, 1946, transforming the surname of the CWS to the U.S. Military Chemical Corps.

Production and also Disposal

In the post-war period, the chemical Corps focused on maintaining the present stockpiles from civilization Wars I and II, and on producing new chemical agents (e.g., the organophosphate nerve certified dealer - sarin ), decontamination equipment, delivery systems, and also detection systems. One of the an initial tasks undertaken to be to find and also evaluate the ability of the German and also Japanese chemical war programs.

In the after-effects of the war in Europe, the Allies discovered the large stockpile of German chemistry weapons, some 296,100 tons. In response, the Continental Committee top top Dumping agreed the America, Britain, France, and also the Soviet Union would destroy the German chemical weapons in any kind of convenient manner. The minimal choices of the job wereexpending far-ranging resources to construct facilities particularly designed to destroy CWM; interment on land; open up burning of the chemical agents and also munitions; or sea disposal. The environmental understanding that the day,coupled v the desire to store the CWMfrom potential enemies and to go home after six long years of battle that incorporated the world, resulted in choosingsea-disposal as the most efficient and effective alternative.

Sea Disposal

In 1944, the battle Department forced CWM disposal happen in water at the very least 300 feet deep and also 10 mile from shore. By December 1945, the Department boosted the disposal depth necessity to 6,000 feet. The Department also published disposal locations in Notices come Mariners and also on nautical charts. Thus, began a decade-long initiative to dispose the excess, obsolete, unserviceable, and captured foe munitions in the ocean and also seas.

For example, operation Davy Jones Locker, a share American and also British initiative from 1946-1948, affiliated the sea disposal of 30,000-40,000 loads of captured German chemical tools by scuttling 11 ships, ripe in Skagerrak Strait connecting the Baltic and also North Seas and also two in the phibìc Sea.

The U.S. Army also used sea disposal extensively for American chemical agents and munitions. This arisen by just dropping loose munitions overboard. Later, the military began massive sea disposals, together as about 5,000tons of human being War II lewisite-filled munitions and also bulk containersdisposed right into the depth of the Atlantic Ocean about 160 miles off Charleston, south Carolina, in 1946 (DoD Sea Disposal website NC-04).

Operation Geranium in 1948 saw the army dispose of about 4,500 loads of lewisite in bulk containers into the Atlantic ocean some 300 miles turn off the coast of Florida (DoD Sea Disposal website FL-02). In all, around 13,250tons that lewisite were disposed of at sea. The Army additionally disposed of around 11,000 lots of mustard and lewisite board the scuttled SS William C. Ralston in April 1958 (DoD Sea Disposal website CA-10).

Chapter 10 of the Defense eco-friendly Programs Report come Congress fiscal Year 2009 includes a detailed discussion of the sea-disposal of CWM through the United says in U.S. Coastal waters.

Note:Actions to deal with sea-disposed CWM are external the mission of the RCWM Program, uneven recovery of a once sea-disposed CWM wake up on land inside the united States throughout an explosives or ammunition emergency response.Section 314 that the fiscal Year (FY) 2007 national Defense Authorization act (NDAA), however, requested that DoD testimonial archival details to verify the types, quantities, and locations of CWM and conventional supplies disposed in waters the the joined States. The 2009 Defense environmental Programs annual Reports come Congress present the findings of this research.

A New form of chemical Agent

Another outcome of the chemical Corps research of German CWM was the discovery of German organophosphate nerve agents. Created in 1936 by a German chemistry manufacturer, this new class of chemical agents disrupts the worried system, resulting in convulsions and also eventual death. The CWS instantly shipped samples to facilities in the U.S. For further study. In between 1945 and also 1947, much more than 40,000 250-kilogram Tabun (GA) bombs, 21,000 mustard bombs of assorted sizes, 2,700 nitrogen mustard rockets, and around 750 Tabun artillery shells of various sizes to be shipped to the U.S. From Europe. Native this, the chemical Corps developed and also eventually produced both Tabun (GA) and GB, through GB adopted as a standard chemical agent by the united States.

With the arrival of atomic and thermonuclear weapons, the U.S. Military started shifting emphasis away from chemical weapons.

Although the army maintained the chemistry Corps, and continued advance of both defensive and offensive measures, the aging make reservation of pho shells, mass containers, and rockets started to require demilitarization and also disposal. The choices for disposal continued to be limited. In the 1960s, under project EAGLE, the Army occurred incineration and neutralization systems, and, in the 1970s, ruined 3,000 lots of H and also 4,000 tons of GB at Rocky mountain Arsenal (RMA), Colorado.

In 1971, under procedure Red Hat, DoD eliminated all chemistry munitions indigenous Okinawa, Japan, come Johnston Atoll.

In 1971, the army constructed the chemistry Agent supplies Disposal mechanism (CAMDS), a pilot incineration facility at Deseret chemical Depot (DCD), Utah. Operations began in 1979 and ultimately, CAMDS safely destroyed 91 tons of chemical agent.

In the beforehand 1980s, the Army developed binary chemical weapons to modernize the aging chemical weapons stockpile. Designed come mix two non-lethal chemistry while in trip to a target to form chemical agent, binary chemical weapons development helped move the Soviet Union right into arms palliation negotiation and the signing that a bilateral covenant in 1990. This covenant led to theCWC, an international treaty signed by much more than 180 nations that mandates the remove of chemical warfare materiel and also former chemistry weapons manufacturing facilities.


In 1985, the army opened the Johnson Atoll chemistry Agent Disposal device (JACADS). In 1990, procedure Steel Box, a joint U.S.-West German operation, relocated some 100,000 sarin and also VX filled American chemical munitions from West Germany to Johnston Atoll because that destruction. The an initial weapon handle at JACADS took place on June 30, 1990. That day, JACADS became the an initial U.S. Chemical weapons disposal facility. Number 7shows the JACADS basic in 1990.

In 1986, Public legislation 99-145 compelled the safe damage of the U.S. Unitary chemical weapons stockpile. It additionally required disposal facilities to it is in cleaned, dismantled, and also disposed of according to applicable laws and also regulations. The stockpile to be stored at eight armed forces installations in ~ the continental United states - APG, Maryland, pine Bluff Arsenal (PBA), Arkansas, DCD, Utah, Umatilla chemistry Depot (UMCD), Oregon, Newport chemical Depot (NECD), Indiana, Anniston army Depot (ANAD), Alabama, Blue Grass army Depot (BGAD), Kentucky, and also Pueblo chemical Depot (PCD), Colorado - and also on Johnston Atoll.

In 1992, in response to Public legislation 102-484, the army established the Non-Stockpile chemical Materiel task (NSCMP) to build systems come safely assess, treat and destroy 5 categories the chemical war materiel not component of the declared stockpile:


Binary chemical war materiel;Former chemistry weapons production facilities;Miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel;Buried chemical war materiel; andRecovered chemical warfare materiel.

The last two categories eventually come to be the RCWM Program.

In 1993, the U.S., Russia, and also other countries signed the CWC. The CWC:

Prohibits production and also use of chemistry weapons.Requires destruction of chemistry weapons production facilities and all chemical weapons (including chemical weapons abandoned exterior each state party’s territory).Set an OPCW inspection regime for the manufacturing of chemicals which can be convert to chemical weapons.

In 1997, the U.S. Senate ratified the CWC, topic to a series of details limitations. Complete details ~ above the U.S. Ratification, the implementing statutes and regulations, and the demands for reporting and verification are accessible at the United states Chemical tools Convention Website.

From 1990 to 2000, once JACADS damage operations ceased, the unified Statesdestroyed more than 400,000 chemical rockets, projectiles, bombs, mortars, ton containers, and also mines comprise GB, H, and also VX. This represented around four percent that the U.S. Chemistry agent stockpile. The JACADS facility was closed and decommissioned permanently in 2003.

In 2001, the NSCMP cure 10 sarin-filled bomblets recovered in ~ RMA, Colorado, utilizing the EDS because that the first time. That same year, the United states met the CWC treaty necessity to ruin 20 percent the the U.S. Chemical tools stockpile.

In 2002, the NSCMP completed destruction of items in the CWC classification “Miscellaneous Chemical warfare Material.” This group included both treaty and also non-treaty items, such together unfilled munitions, assistance equipment, and also devices designed for use with chemical weapons. These included finish assembled ring without chemistry fill and with or without bursters and fuzes, simulant-filled munitions, inert munitions, dummy munitions, bursters and also fuzes, north rocket warheads and also motors, projectile cases, other metal and plastic part components, research and breakthrough compounds, chemistry samples and ton containers.

In 2006, damage operations at the Edgewood Area the APG provided ne

utralization to damage 1,622 loads of mustard agent in ton-containers, thus eliminating more than 5 percent that the U.S. Chemical agent inventory. This basic is closed and permanently decommissioned.

In 2006, the NSCMP:

Finished demolishing previous chemical weapons production facilities, as required by the CWC. Figure 10lists the facilities and the destruction dates;Demolished the final structure used for damaging the binary chemicals;Saw CWC Treaty examiners verify demolition the the final portion of the VX production process at NECD, and destruction that the APG mustard agent stockpile;Completed demolition of every Aberdeen chemistry Agent Disposal basic (ABCDF) buildings not organized for various other uses; andBegan procedure of the jaw Bluff Explosive destruction System (PBEDS), starting the treatment of much more than 1,200 recovered munitions at PBA, Arkansas.

In 2008, damage operations at NECD, Indiana, provided neutralization to damage VX in ton containers. This eliminated secondary four percent that the U.S. Chemical agent inventory. The basic is permanently decommissioned, and the depot closed.


In 2010, the demilitarization facility at PBA, Arkansas, completed destruction of 90,409 M55 GB rockets, 19,608 M55 VX rockets, 9,378 M23 VX landmines and also 3,705 mustard ton containers, representing about 12 percent the the U.S. Chemical tools stockpile. This facility is also closed, return the arsenal remains open. In ~ PBA, NSCMP operated 2 EDS devices under the PBEDS task to address numerous ammunition recovered native demilitarization operations that took location in the 1940s. In 2010, the NSCMP and the operators at the PBEDS destroyed the last asserted munitions at the installation.

In 2011, the demilitarization basic at ANAD, Alabama, completed devastation operations of assorted munitions and also chemical agents, containing mustard agent, sarin, and also VX, representing about seven percent the the U.S. Chemistry agent inventory. This basic is closed, although Anniston military Depot (AAD) remains open up performing various other missions.

In addition, 2011 saw destruction operations perfect at UMCD, Oregon. The chemical tools stored at the depot contained various munitions and also ton containers comprise mustard agent, sarin, and VX stocks, representing of around 12 percent that the U.S. Chemical agent inventory. This depot is closed.

In 2012, stockpile disposal operations using incineration to be completed in ~ DCD, Utah. The stockpile contained various munitions and ton containers containing mustard agent, lewisite, sarin, tabun, and VX, and also represented remove of about 44 percent of the U.S. Chemical agent inventory. This facility is closed, and also the depot was transferred back to Tooele military Depot (TEAD), and also is now known as TEAD-South.

Also in 2012, CMA to be redesignated together the U.S. Army Chemical products Activity, a separate reporting activity under the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), and the to make reservation destruction part of CMA and NSCMP were moved to the newly developed Joint task Manager because that Elimination (JPME) under the routine Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (PEOCBD). The NSCMP mission was returned to CMA in 2013, together the Recovered chemistry Materiel Directorate (RCMD).


While awaiting perfect of a large-scale facility to eliminate chemical munitions at PCD, Colorado, RCMD detailed an EDS to support the regimen Executive Office because that Assembled chemistry Weapons options (ACWA) in destroying munitions the cannot be handle in the key facility, the Pueblo chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot plant (PCAPP). The very first campaign the the system recognized as the PCAPP EDS ran indigenous March 2015 come February 2016 to damage 560 overpacked ammunition in storage. A 2nd campaign to damage reject CWM began in 2018 and destroyed 369 munitions prior to the EDS to be demobilized indigenous PCD in 2019.Operations at the key PCAAP plant began in 2016.

See more: Celebrities Moving To Canada If Trump Is Elected, Celebrities Who Said Theyɽ Leave U

The most significant challenge remaining is locating and properly disposing of buried chemical agents, chemical agent identification sets (CAIS), chemistry munitions, and munitions and particular materials the interest having actually an unknown fill. This is one facet of the mission of the RCWM Program.