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Book Chapter

From Berlin-Dahlem to the Fronts of World War I: The Role of Fritz Haber and his Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in German Chemical Warfare

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons21529

Friedrich,  Bretislav
Molecular Physics, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons21670

James,  Jeremiah
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

10.1007_978-3-319-51664-6_3.pdf
(Publisher version), 791KB

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Citation

Friedrich, B., & James, J. (2017). From Berlin-Dahlem to the Fronts of World War I: The Role of Fritz Haber and his Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in German Chemical Warfare. In B. Friedrich, D. Hoffmann, J. Renn, F. Schmaltz, & M. Wolf (Eds.), One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences (pp. 25-44). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-51664-6_3.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-7FFC-B
Abstract
There is little doubt that Fritz Haber (1868–1934) was the driving force behind the centrally directed development of chemical warfare in Germany, whose use during World War I violated international law and elicited both immediate and enduring moral criticism. The chlorine cloud attack at Ypres on 22 April 1915 amounted to the first use of a weapon of mass destruction and as such marks a turning point in world history. Following the “success” at Ypres, Haber, eager to employ science in resolving the greatest strategic challenge of the war—the stalemate of trench warfare—promptly transformed his Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry in Berlin-Dahlem into a center for the development of chemical weapons and of protective measures against them. This article traces in some detail the path from Berlin-Dahlem to the fronts of World War I, lays out the indispensible role of Fritz Haber in German chemical warfare and provides a summary of his views on chemical weapons, which he never renounced.