This chapter examines the United States' chemical warfare program as it developed before the nation began sending soldiers to fight in France during World War I. In 1917, the United States was rapidly and haphazardly putting together a chemical warfare organization capable of a variety of responsibilities that included performing research, manufacturing war gases and gas masks, training the soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) to defend themselves against enemy gas, and deploying gas on the battlefield. While the members of the chemical warfare program performed well under the circumstances, more advanced preparation would have improved readiness and mitigated the need for emergency measures. This chapter discusses the use of poison gas and gas masks and the United States' chemical weapons manufacturing operations during World War I.
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