In an effort to
break the stalemate on the battlefields of World
War I, the Germans introduced a new and
terrifying weapon. Gas!
Yellow Gas, Green Gas and ultimately the grand
daddy to napalm, Mustard Gas.
The use of gas
did nothing to break the stalemate, it only
raised the level of suffering.
was an Englishmen who served the length of the
war and witnessed the horrible effects of gas.
about his experiences and they have become some
of the finest literature available regarding
World War One.
like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.*
*It is sweet
and noble to die for one's country
World History Project