do not mention the war

The Second Battle of Ypres, April 1915

In History on April 20, 2015 at 09:00

In 1915, The Great War took a turn for the worse.

The Scottish writer and creator of the most famous detective in literature, Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, reports that

a great army, which had been long honoured as the finest fighting force in the world, became in a single day an object of horror and contempt.

He speaks about the use of gas during the war. While the Germans were until then regarded as a worthy enemy the use of gas altered their reputation. It was not so easy as Conan Doyle wrote. Within the German army, many disregarded the use of gas, saying it was introduced by criminals, said Karl von Einem. However, the writer’s quote must be seen in context. As he was already in his fifties when war broke out, he took to the pen with ferocity attacking the Germans wherever he could, thus becoming a tool for propaganda.


A French Lieutenant reported that his men saw a greenish looking cloud wavering in front of them. Upon seeing it, he and his men immediately felt as if they were suffocating. Some men fell, rose again, fell once more but made it into the trenches where they were coughing all night.

It was hoped that the use of gas would bring a strategic advantage for Germany. It did not work. Instead the war got stuck in the trenches and the mud of northern France for another three and a half years.


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