Photo of Russian Army soldiers wearing gas masks

During the First World War (1914 – 1918) the use of various types of chemical weapons from non-lethal (chloropicrin) to the deadly poisonous ones (chlorine, phosgene, mustard gas) became large-scale and systematic.

The belligerent States used around 125,000 metric tones (MT) of different types of chemical weapons out of 180,000 MT produced during that war. Although estimates differ, the number of fatal casualties of chemical weapons attacks in the WWI is close to 100,000, while around 1, 2 million people suffered from various injuries.

The horrifying consequences of large-scale use of chemical weapons in battles in Ieper (April 1915, Belgium) and Bolimów (May 1915, current Poland) urged not only the soonest massive development and supply of means of chemical weapons protection to the Russian army, but training of the personnel to use them properly, as well as organising the troops to combat effectively during enemy gas attacks.

Content of this exhibition is based on various research and other materials, in particular provided by Russian archives and museums.

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