The emergence of poison gas was threatened to achieve a breakthrough on the western front. The idea that Germany could continue to use gas against allies at the will was frightening. With a little idea of how to fight threats, Kitchener, after being advised by his army commanders that soldiers in the trenches had used “wetted” cloths to protect themselves, beseeched the women of Britain to reproduce replicas of gas masks.
The military grade gas mask provided functional and psychological protection that had been ignored in the historiography of first world war. Using the Canadian Corps for example to analyze the effects of poison gas and the final process which with all Western Front soldiers tried to escape the damage, this article will briefly check the stages of the gas war, tactical and operational problems imposed by gas and the main material solution, gas masks,
The struggle for new weapon systems, with the ultimate hope by both sides of perfecting a breakthrough weapon, was onset by the defensive technologies that were employed to cancel them and thus restore parity to the battlefield. While this effect was quite real, with the formation of even the rudest gas mask, soldiers were given psychological and physical protection from gas damage.
The evolution of a better gas mask finally prevented the possibility of a large-scale physical massacre as possible from the deadly chlorine and phosgene gas, but fear of chemical agents had never been fully conquered. The introduction of the gas mask failed to dissipate, as it is wrongly assumed, the threat of gas on the battlefield. Although the gas mask negated poison gas as a breakthrough weapon, and ensured survival for most combatants on the battlefield, it never entirely protected the wearer from the physical, mental or moral disruptions.