Innocence Slaughtered - Gas and the transformation of warfare and society
Dr. Jean Pascal Zanders
Innocence Slaughtered - Gas and the transformation of warfare and society
“This volume offers a remarkable compilation of materials, rich in detail and edited in the finest traditions of highly readable scholarship”,

Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Eleven experts and historians on gas warfare and chemical weapons have contributed to Innocence Slaughtered, a new book that will be launched at The Hague (more details below) and is being published to coincide with the first phosgene attack in WWI on 19 December 1915. Edited by Dr Jean Pascal Zanders, a specialist and advisor to international governing bodies, the volume first examines the immediate impact gas warfare had on the tactics and outcome of WWI, before exploring its subsequent effect on the use of science in future conflicts and the struggle to legally ban the use of chemical weapons in future conventions. 

The first group of essays reflect on the devastating effect of chlorine on individual soldiers and civilians, and vividly recounts the doubts first expressed by the Germans about the effectiveness of these new weapons. Although Allied forces had the intelligence but for reasons still unexplained remained ignorant of the impending attack, the book argues that this lack of certainty may have been one of the key reasons why the Germany military leaders lacked a wider strategy for winning the war after they resorted to chemical warfare.

Innocence Slaughtered then looks at the wider technological and scientific transformations happening in society and the effect the developments would have on ‘total war’ and subsequent conflicts. Chemical warfare pitted the brightest minds from different countries against each other and was a precursor to the Manhattan Project, which led to the production of the atomic bomb, in many ways. The book also reveals the early thinking about racial superiority that emerged during this time, arising out of a belief that only the best and most adaptable would be able survival a chemical attack.

Finally, the book traces the rise in opposition to chemical warfare, claiming that this was initially hampered by better defences and the increased normalcy of the attacks. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the anti-war movements in Europe in the 1920s both made an impact but Innocence Slaughtered reveals that women in the scientific field were critical to bringing together the political leaders and academics who would institute change.

Innocence Slaughtered is being launched at The Hague on 2 December 2015. It will be part of an annual conference coordinated by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon (OPCW). Dr Zanders will be joined by Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the OPCW, and Jef Verschoore, Deputy Mayor and Chairperson of In Flanders Fields Museum, for a talk on 2 December from 13.00 – 15.00.  The In Flanders Field Museum will also hold an event to mark the launch of the book in Ypres, Belgium on 10 December.

About the editor

Dr Jean Pascal Zanders is an independent researcher and consultant on disarmament and security questions. He heads The Trench, a research initiative dedicated to the future of disarmament. Zanders holds Masters Degrees in Germanic Philology-Linguistics (1980) and Political Sciences (1992) and a PhD degree in Political Sciences (1996) from the Free University of Brussels. He was Project Leader of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (1996–2003); Director of the Geneva-based BioWeapons Prevention Project (2003–08) and Senior Research Fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (2008–13). He has participated as an expert to the EU Delegations in the BTWC and CWC meetings since 2010.

Published by Unicorn Publishing Group, London -
Paperback £ 28.00

Published 24/11/2015.
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