By Joel A. Vilensky
"Dr. Vilensky increases very important issues in regards to the threats posed through lewisite and different guns of mass destruction. As he describes, non-proliferation courses are a necessary part within the warfare on Terror." -- Richard G. Lugar, usa Senator"Joel Vilensky's booklet is a close and immensely valuable account of the improvement and background of 1 of the key chemical weapons.... we'll regularly know the way to make lewisite, the 'Dew of Death,' yet that doesn't suggest that we must always, or be forced to just accept such guns in our lives." -- from the Foreword by way of Richard Butler, former head of UN precise fee to Disarm IraqIn 1919, while the nice warfare used to be over, the recent York occasions said on a brand new chemical weapon with "the perfume of geranium blossoms," a poison gasoline that used to be "the climax of this country's achievements within the deadly arts." The identify of this substance used to be lewisite and this can be its tale -- the tale of an American weapon of mass destruction.Discovered unintentionally by means of a graduate pupil and priest in a chemistry laboratory on the Catholic collage of the US in Washington, D.C., lewisite was once built right into a weapon by means of Winford Lewis, who turned its namesake, operating with a workforce led by way of James Conant, later president of Harvard and head of presidency oversight for the U.S.'s atomic bomb software, the long island venture. After a robust German counterattack within the spring of 1918, the govt all started frantic construction of lewisite in hopes of supplying 3,000 a whole lot the stuff to be prepared to be used in Europe the next 12 months. the tip of conflict got here simply because the first cargo was once being ready. It was once dumped into the ocean, yet no longer forgotten. Joel A. Vilensky tells the interesting tale of the invention and improvement of lewisite and its curious background. in the course of international conflict II, the United States produced greater than 20,000 a whole bunch lewisite, trying out it on infantrymen and secretly losing it from airplanes. in any case, the substance was once deserted as a weapon since it was once too risky less than so much wrestle stipulations. yet a weapon as soon as chanced on by no means disappears. It used to be utilized by Japan in Manchuria and by means of Iraq in its battle with Iran. The Soviet Union was a big producer. unusually sufficient, even though it used to be constructed for deadly reasons, lewisite resulted in a good remedy for an extraordinary neurological illness.
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Additional resources for Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, America's World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction
In terms of the gas war, Germany had scored a very decisive victory. The United States did not enter World War I until April 6, 1917. For almost three years prior to this the United States had debated its course of action, yet it remained basically unprepared for war. This was especially true for gas warfare. When the United States ¤nally declared war, it had no The Poisonous Yellow Cloud and the American Response 15 4. Gas mask drill during World War I. ” gas masks or plans to make them or any plans for large-scale gas production.
Furthermore, although very toxic when inhaled, it is not readily absorbed through the skin. Thus, gas masks and clothing offered good protection. Lewis and his crew needed to ¤nd something better. They thought and experimented and spent time in CUA’s extensive chemistry library on the 20 Dew of Death 6. Catholic University of America chemistry laboratory, ca. 1918. C. second ®oor of Martin Maloney Hall, which was then a new and beautiful granite masonry building. The building still houses CUA’s chemistry department, and the ceilings of the basement laboratories (above the suspended ceilings of today) continue to shed even freshly applied paint because of the vapors absorbed from the work done there in 1918.
C. CUA had not waited to be asked to serve its country. “In view of the present emergency the Catholic University of America has the honor to offer itself to you for such services as the Government of the United States may desire from it,” wrote Rector Thomas Shahan to President Wilson on March 28, 1917. Wilson responded two days later, “Let me thank you warmly for your generous letter of March 28. ”2 This exchange led to the establishment on January 15, 1918, of a chemical weapons research unit there.
Dew Of Death: The Story Of Lewisite, America's World War I Weapon Of Mass Destruction by Joel A. Vilensky