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November 30, 1918

TOXIC GASES IN MODERN WARFARE: WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

Author Affiliations

(Philadelphia) Lieutenant-Colonel, M. C., N. A. FRANCE

JAMA. 1918;71(22):1822-1825. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.26020480010009d

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Abstract

The idea of employing gases in warfare is, of course, not new. In 360 B. C., the time of the Trojans, resinous woods, sulphur and pitch were employed. Long ago the Chinese availed themselves of the so-called "stink-pots" to choke and nauseate their adversaries. The Turks used "Greek fire" against the crusaders. In more modern times we find General Joubert protesting to General White, during the Anglo-Boer War, because the bursting lyddite shells caused suffocation. In the latter instance the carbon monoxid poisoning was, of course, entirely incidental to combustion and not primarily a method of destruction.

Under the guise of studying industrial intoxications, the Hun had experimented extensively with chlorin, bromin, formaldehyd, nitrous vapor, sulphurous anhydrid, etc., long before the beginning of the present war. The knowledge and experience thus gained was first employed in warfare in April, 1915, when large quantities of cylinder gas were discharged against the

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