CONFERENCE : Gas in the Great War and its Legacy WFA/NAM Conference
15 Oct

The Western Front Association / National Army Museum Conference

The conference costs £15 (includes coffee breaks and sandwich lunch).

Book via the National Army Museum website

09:30 Arrivals

10:00 Welcome

10:10 Keynote 1+ Q&A

  • Professor Edward M. Spiers (University of Leeds), ‘Chemical Warfare in the First World War’ Chemical warfare, if not a war winner, was not a failure in 1915-1918, as often described. It was a form of warfare that evolved steadily during the war, operationally integrated, and a major contributor as a force multiplier and as a means of harassment.

11:15 Coffee

11:30 Panel + Q&A

  • Professor Matthias Strohn (University of Buckingham), ‘The German Experience of Chemical Warfare in the First World War’ The talk addresses the German use of gas in the First World War. What were the expectations that the Germans had and how successful was the use of Gas from the German point of view? In addition, the talk will also analyse the development of the gas warfare programme under Fritz Haber and explore his role and contribution to it, and will explore why the Germans did not use gas in the Second World War.
  • Dr Vanda Wilcox (John Cabot University, Rome),‘Gas storms in the mountains: chemical warfare and the Italian army in the First World War‘ On the Italian front, poison gas was first used by the Austro-Hungarian army in June 1916 to devastating effect. With inadequate gas masks, the Italian army struggled to defend itself at first but by 1917 Italy was producing and deploying huge amounts of gas in its own offensives. By the end of the war Italy had manufactured at least 13,000 tonnes of poison gases. But the irrevocable link between the Italian army and chemical warfare came with its massive and illegal usage in the 1935-36 conquest of Ethiopia. The final section of the talk looks at this legacy of the First World War and describes how the Italians came to fully embrace chemical weapons in the 1920s and 1930s
  • Simon Jones (Independent Scholar), ‘British air-dropped chemical weapons in North Russia' The British M Device was envisaged as a war-winner by C H Foulkes in 1918. Instead, during the closing stages of the Allied military intervention in North Russia in 1919, it could only be used as an improvised aerial bomb, becoming the first effective air-dropped chemical weapon.

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Keynote 2+ Q&A

  • Professor Peter Doyle (London South Bank University), ‘Gas at the Battle of Loos Revisited’

15:00 Coffee

15:15 Panel + Q&A

  • Carol Bratcher (Ph D candidate, University of Buckingham),‘The Ground On Which They Fought: The  Influence of Terrain on Chemical Warfare in the First World War’. The weather is often cited as the greatest influence on the conduct of gas clouds after release. Rarely considered is the terrain across which the gas was destined to travel and the possible effects it may have on gas dissemination. A better understanding of the interactions between gas, weather and terrain could lead to a reassessment of the efficacy of gas attacks.
  • Clem Maginniss (Independent Scholar), '“One Day at Parsley Hay”: An examination of British preparations and plans 1936-1940 for Gas Warfare to support offensive and defensive military operations’. Whilst the British never used gas weapons operationally in the Second World War the Government and Armed Forces made preparations to exercise the right to retaliate against an enemy gas attack.  The presentation explores the strategic policies, doctrinal threads, industrial production, weapons development and operational plans to deliver gas warfare in offensive and defensive scenarios.
  • Rocky Salmon (former MOD), ‘Legacies of the First World War in Today’s Chemical Warfare’

16:45 Closing remarks

17:00 Conference ends


The conference costs £15 (includes coffee breaks and sandwich lunch).

Book via the National Army Museum website

National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HT
CONFERENCE : Gas in the Great War and its Legacy WFA/NAM Conference,
15 Oct 2022 09:30