The Chemists' War

The Chemists' War

Author: Michael Freemantle

Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry

ISBN: 9781782625087

Category: Science

Page:

View: 568

Within months of the start of the First World War, Germany began to run out of the raw materials it needed to make explosives. As Germany faced imminent defeat, chemists such as Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch came to the rescue with Nobel Prize winning discoveries that overcame the shortages and enabled the country to continue in the war. Similarly, Britain could not have sustained its war effort for four years had it not been for chemists like Chaim Weizmann who was later to become the first president of the State of Israel. Michael Freemantle tells the stories of these and many other chemists and explains how their work underpinned and shaped what became known as The Chemists’ War. He reveals: • how chemistry contributed to the care of the sick and wounded and to the health and safety of troops; • how coal not only powered the war but was also an important source of the chemicals needed for the manufacture of explosives, dyes, medicines and antiseptics; • how Britain’s production of propellants relied on the slaughter of tens of thousands of whales; • how a precious metal played a critical role in the war; • how poisonous chemicals were used as weapons of mass destruction for the first time in the history of warfare and how chemists developed gas masks for protection against these weapons; • how the British naval blockade of Germany imperilled agricultural production in the United States. The book will appeal to the general reader as well as the many scientists and historians interested in the Great War.

Gas! Gas! Quick, Boys!

Gas! Gas! Quick, Boys!

Author: Michael Freemantle

Publisher: History PressLtd

ISBN: 0750953756

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 961

THE harnessing of the power of chemistry was a key factor in determining the shape and duration of the First World War and ultimately became the difference between winning and losing. The industrial-scale carnage and devastation seen on all fronts during the confl ict would not have been possible without the chemistry of war, which generated the huge quantities of metals and explosives required for artillery shells and fuses; for pistol, rifle and machine-gun cartridges; for grenades and trench mortar bombs; and for the mines blown up in tunnelling operations. It also created deadly chemical warfare agents, such as chlorine gas, mustard gas and phosgene, which filled artillery shells or were released in cloud gas operations. However, chemistry was not only a destructive instrument of war but also protected troops and healed the sick and wounded. This double-edged sword is perfectly exemplified by the element chlorine, which served both as a frontline offensive weapon, causing horrific injuries and death, as well as a disinfectant and water-purifying agent, saving many lives. Michael Freemantle, in this fi rst all-encompassing study of the chemistry of the Great War, reveals the true extent of the chemical arms race and how industry evolved to meet the needs for more powerful explosives and deadlier gases, as well as advancements in medicine. From bombs to bullets, tear gas to TNT, camouflage to cordite, this book tells the true story of the horrors of the 'Chemists' War'.

The Synthetic Nitrogen Industry in World War I

The Synthetic Nitrogen Industry in World War I

Author: Anthony S. Travis

Publisher:

ISBN: 3319193589

Category:

Page:

View: 948

This concise brief describes how the demands of World War I, often referred to as the Chemists' War, led to the rapid emergence of a new key industry based on fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. Then, as now, nitrogen products, including nitric acid, and nitrates, were essential for both fertilizers and in the manufacture of modern explosives. During the first decade of the twentieth century, this stimulated research into and application of novel processes. This book illustrates how from late 1914 the relations and developments in the first modern military-industrial complex enabled the great capital expenditures and technological advances that accelerated massive expansion, particularly of the BASF Haber-Bosch high-pressure process, that determined the direction of the post-war chemical industry. .

The Kaiser's Chemists

The Kaiser's Chemists

Author: Jeffrey Allan Johnson

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 9781469610122

Category: History

Page: 296

View: 886

In the early twentieth century, an elite group of modern-minded scientists in Germany, led by the eminent organic chemist Emil Fischer, set out to create new centers and open new sources of funding for chemical research. Their efforts led to the establishment in 1911 of the chemical institues of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of the Sciences, whose original staff included several future Nobel laureates. Although these institutes were designed to promote "free research" that would uphold German Leadership in international science, they also came to promote the integration of science in the German war effort after 1914. According to Jeffrey Johnson, the development of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes exemplifies the origins and dilemmas of one of the most significant innovations in modern science: the creation of institutions for basic research, both theoretical and practical. The Kaiser Wilhelm Society was a quasi-official institution under the "protection" of Kaiser Wilhelm II, but it received most of its funding from German industry rather than the Imperial Treasury. After 1914, however, the Kaiser's chemists and their institutes provided key support to the German war effort. Within a few months of the outbreak of World War I, the institutes had been integrated into war mobilization activities. They conducted research both in weapons, such as poison gas, and in strategic resources, especially synthetics to replace naturally produced goods cut off by Britain's blockade of German ports. By examining the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in the framework of both scientific and social change, Johnson is able to answer questions that seem puzzling if not viewed from this dual perspective, such as why German chemists pushed for institutional change at this particular time. Johnson argues that the new institutes arose from a characteristically modern tension between internationally set scientific goals and the competing national priorities of a country headed for war. Johnson's sources include the papers of Emil Fischer; the archives of several major German corporations, including Bayer, Hoechst, and Krupp; government records; and the archives of the Max Planck Society, which grew out of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society after World War II. Originally published in 1990. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.