Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction


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Interestingly, future President Herbert Hoover 26 Dew of Death also spoke to the engineers on this date, discussing the supply of food both in the United States and abroad. In a later letter to Fries dated January 15, Lewis again asked for the correction, insisting that his request was on behalf of the many men under his command at CUA and was being made only in the interest of preserving an accurate historical record. In the acknowledgment accompanying the article, Lewis remarked: The present paper is a partial report of an investigation carried out between April 13 and August 23, , in Organic Unit No.

Surprisingly, even if Lewis was correct in his assertion that Nieuwland did not truly discover lewisite, the credit for discovery should probably be attributed to German scientists. Johannes Thiele investigated the reaction of acetylene and arsenic trichloride in —17, and at the same time, but independently, two other German scientists, H. Wieland and A.

Bloemer, also studied the compound. His evaluation indicated that lewisite would not be a reliable war gas because its toxic effects were less lasting than those of mustard and the irritant effects were so strong that men would be warned immediately of its presence. Interestingly, the German view that lewisite would have been much less effective than envisioned by the CWS was shared by the British, whose scientists received samples of lewisite for evaluation in and concluded that it was not equal to mustard. They also believed that German gas masks would provide adequate protection.

The three letters Lewis wrote to Fries insisting that he and his men receive proper recognition for the discovery and development of lewisite seem out of character. Similarly, the letters he wrote in response to requests for his photograph or autograph were very humble and usually humorous, as were his speeches and articles. Nevertheless, the letters to the CWS probably indicate that being remembered as the discoverer of lewisite did matter to Lewis personally. And it is certainly not incorrect that he be credited with the discovery of lewisite.

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There Conant supervised additional animal testing and investigated processes for small- and large-scale manufacturing. James Bryant Conant, ca. Courtesy Cleveland Public Library. These sections investigated various methods of preparation, chemical properties, and physiological actions on animals and humans as studied by the Pharmacological Section of new agents.

Unfortunately, partly because of the secrecy surrounding the lewisite research both then and now , few details of these investigations are available. However, some information on both human and animal testing is known, thanks partly to the memory of Sergeant George Temple.

According to a interview that Sergeant 30 Dew of Death Courtesy Addie Ruth Maurer Olson. The scars on his forearm were still recognizable in , and he recalled that the silver colored blisters were excruciatingly painful. Because he successfully refrained from breaking his blisters some of the other volunteers were not so stoic , his forearm was photographed, and an artist drew it to capture the color of the blisters.

The scientists also made a plaster cast of his forearm, which caused him great pain. Temple said that once, while he was maintaining a motor, a pipe broke, and he accidentally breathed in the vapors of a gas not lewisite designed to kill its victims by causing bleeding in the lungs.

Temple barely escaped with his life. He told of some of his friends who were less lucky, saying that he believed more American men were killed by gas at the AUES station than were killed by gas in battle. As in coal mines, canaries were used throughout the AUES to warn the workers when gas levels were not safe. Burrell, stated that the percentage of casualties in the Research Division was undoubtedly greater than in any other unit in the army except the actual gas manufacturing unit at Edgewood Arsenal EA. A vast tub of soapsuds awaited the frenzied plunges of men on whom the horrid stuff [lewisite] had settled.

Temple did not mention the other species of animals that were also used for testing at the AUES: goats, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, snails, slugs, and canaries. Soldiers tied the animals to stakes, exposed them to chemical bombs, and watched them struggle and usually die. These symptoms resulted from severe irritation and swelling of the mucous lining of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract.

Their nostrils clogged and they coughed excessively. Many died at this stage. More dogs died during this period. Postmortem examination of the dogs showed the development of an extra membrane in the nostrils and throat, varying degrees of swelling in these structures, and the collapse of lung tissue. Lung infection pneumonia was typically the cause of death. The liver and kidney were also often congested. Tests using direct application of liquid lewisite to the skin of dogs caused immediate irritation, which was very different from the delay that occurred with the application of liquid mustard.

Redness appeared in four 32 Dew of Death to six hours and blisters in sixteen to forty-eight hours, depending on the concentration. Sublethal doses of liquid lewisite caused deep burns and death of skin cells. Infections sometimes also occurred, accompanied by sloughing of the skin and exposure of the underlying muscle. Healing then occurred.

Response to a Chemical Agent Attack US Army 1942

High doses caused death in one to twelve days. Until their deaths the dogs excreted arsenic in their urine. The pharmacologists concluded, based on the dog tests, that a man of average weight 70 kilograms or pounds would be killed by about onethird teaspoon of lewisite applied to his skin. Nathan Bay Scott had retired in after twelve years as a senator from West Virginia. The senator noticed a dense cloud of yellowish gas slowly advancing toward the house. Shortly after, however, all three smelled a faint odor and felt intense pain in their eyes. They immediately entered the house, summoned help by phone, and closed all the windows.

The Deadliest Weapon of War That Was Never Actually Used

Physicians arrived from the Experimental Station with respirators, and later the senator and his family traveled into the city for treatment by his personal physician. When Scott and his family ventured outside after the gas cloud had dissipated, they found dead chickens, wild birds, and small animals. In addition to the Scotts, some soldiers from the camp were affected by the gas and hospitalized. Some temporary buildings at the AUES, ca.


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Courtesy U. Army Corps of Engineers. The publicity surrounding the lewisite release resulted in the Washington Board of Commissioners on October 30 requesting that such tests be moved from the AUES site. The request of the commissioners never had to be implemented, because the war ended two weeks later.

Interestingly, Lewis suggested in a speech that the explosion may have been intentional, although he provided no details as to why such a lewisite release would be deliberate.

Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, America's World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction

This was a ruse designed to fool Germany. Captain Conant is also doing certain work with which you are undoubtedly familiar, and concerning which nothing is said. Nevertheless, AUES was a military base, and thus, promptly at p. Eventually the army rescinded the drill regulation, but while the drills occurred they created personnel problems, because some of the less experienced chemists held higher military ranks than the more experienced ones. In addition to working and drilling, the soldiers at the AUES also relaxed together. They organized themselves into football, baseball, and basketball teams, and even a glee club.

This edition also described a reception for the Research Division held at the Catholic University of America at which Captain Lewis and his wife were hosts. The American University Experimental Station 35 After lewisite passed all of its preliminary evaluations, Conant was ordered to supervise the development of a small-scale manufacturing process, which he did successfully. Conant packed his bags and got ready for an eight-hour train ride. Although Conant did not participate in the discovery of lewisite, he eventually had as much to do with its becoming a weapon as Nieuwland and Lewis.

He was a precocious child with a great interest in chemistry. We sincerely hope he will not blow up the laboratory at Harvard. Although he enjoyed teaching, Conant, like Lewis, wished to contribute to the war effort. As part of their effort to maintain secrecy about lewisite, Conant and his superiors decided to use one of the mustard codes, G, for lewisite.

Thus, beginning about July G referred to lewisite, whereas all references to G before that time referred to mustard. The Development Division had previously performed this function for mustard gas, so that by the end of October the United States was producing more mustard gas than England, Germany, and France combined. Originally the CWS had tried to convince private companies to manufacture chemical warfare agents, but the companies refused because of the dangers involved and the lack of a postwar market.

As with mustard, it would be a military plant that would manufacture lewisite.

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Why was a branch of the CWS located in Cleveland? Because of gas masks. Warren K.

He knew that charcoal had previously been shown by Russian scientists to effectively absorb poisonous gases when used in the canister attached to the face mask. Warren Lewis met with Mr. Frank Dorsey of the National Lamp Works Company and engineers from the National Carbon Company because they were more knowledgeable about charcoal than anyone else in the country. Together, the two Colonel Frank M. Dorsey, ca.

Courtesy Will and Carol Bushek. Dorsey had become Colonel Dorsey to head it. By mid Colonel Dorsey had acquired the reputation of a chemical manufacturing genius who could makes things happen.

PDF Dew of Death: The Story of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon of Mass Destruction

The research done at the AUES had convinced CWS Director Sibert and his staff that lewisite could be far more effective than any previous agent used in the war, including mustard gas. Use of this agent at a critical time and as a complete surprise was expected to be decisive, perhaps capable of sending the German army into a total retreat and securing a quick Allied victory. The CWS and the army believed that the planned spring March Allied offensive was the decisive time to bombard the enemy lines with lewisite-loaded artillery shells.

Could such a phenomenal amount be produced in time? Furthermore, even if a plant could be constructed and made operational by the planned date of December 1, , virtually all of the lewisite would have to be made in December and January in order for the 3, tons to be ready by March 1.

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Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, Americas World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction

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