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Behind the Gas MaskThe U.S. Chemical Warfare Service in War and Peace$
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Thomas I. Faith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038686

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038686.001.0001

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Battle, 1918

Battle, 1918

(p.22) 2 Battle, 1918
Behind the Gas Mask

Thomas I. Faith

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on the American Expeditionary Force's (AEF) experiences with poison gas on the Western Front and the logistical effort made by the United States to support chemical warfare during World War I. The nascent Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) had to support battlefield operations in 1918 as the AEF faced poison gas in Europe. On the whole, the CWS found itself seriously challenged by conditions on the Western Front and dependent on U.S. allies for information and equipment. This chapter examines the CWS's efforts to train the AEF, manufacture chemical weapons, and use poison gas on the battlefield throughout 1918. It discusses the comparatively heavy gas casualties suffered by the AEF in the fighting due to the inadequacy of the gas-mask training that its soldiers were given. It also considers the AEF's limited use of chemical weapons against the Germans and the U.S. Army's inability to organize for chemical warfare jeopardized the gas warfare program's status after World War I ended.

Keywords:   chemical warfare, American Expeditionary Force, poison gas, Western Front, United States, World War I, Chemical Warfare Service, Europe, chemical weapons, U.S. Army

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