Chemical warfare

Imperial Japanese soldiers wearing gas masks and rubber gloves during a chemical attack in the Battle of Shanghai.

Imperial Japanese soldiers wearing gas masks and rubber gloves during a chemical attack in the Battle of Shanghai.

Chemical weapons are usually artificially manufactured toxic substances that are used specifically for killing or injuring people. They are among the weapons of mass destruction. In the Chemical Weapons Convention are also used for their production predecessor materials, provided they are not intended for any other form of processing, and the equipment or means of distribution counted (about grenades, spraying) to the chemical weapons.


Chemical warfare, the use of chemical weapons has been known since ancient times: In ancient times, incendiary substances like glue, oil, Greek fire, or later on a small scale chemical poisons such as arsenic were used also was the farmland with herbicides “salinisation”. Already in the Peloponnesian War from 431 to 404 v. BC, the Spartans used a fire body that caused high air concentrations of sulfur dioxide.

The first modern chemical weapons were used in World War I and based initially on substances that have already been used in the chemical industry, that are present in large enough quantities were, and these were gases such as chlorine, phosgene, hydrogen cyanide (HCN) or arsine. These, however, two major drawbacks: First, they were unpredictable due to changing wind directions (as a gas cloud could be flown back to their own position), and on the other hand, the gas dissipated relatively quickly. Therefore, most chemical agents subsequent liquids can be sprayed as an aerosol. This has the consequence that the substance on the floor, clothes, skin, and gas mask n stick and can penetrate the filter. Thus the residence time is much longer than that of gas, and has penetrated into the filter droplets evaporate with time, so that the contaminated carrier gas masks inhale a continuous amount of weapons. The main aim of the newer agents is not only the lung but also the skin. Reaches such a weapon on the skin, it diffuses through it into the bloodstream and is distributed so quickly in the whole organism. Therefore represent only whole-body protective suits reasonable protection against CW agents represent A well-known and important weapon of this group is sulfur mustard, also known as mustard gas.

World War I

In World War I was the first use of chemical weapons in August 1914 held by French troops, the Xylylbromid – used against German troops – has been developed for theParispolice tear gas. First attempts of both sides with substances such as ethyl bromoacetate (France, March 1915) and o-Dianisidinchlorsulfonat, a fine crystalline powder that mucous membranes of the eyes and nose irritated (Germany October 27, 1914 at Neuve-Chapelle) not were satisfactory, since the materials are in launch decomposed by the heat generated.

The German army was the first poison gas on a large scale, as the end of January 1915 when Bolimów in Polandwith an offensive of the 9th Army fired shells filled with Xylylbromid against Russian troops. 18,000 gas grenades had been provided, cold and snow, however, raised their effect on almost. Known, however, was not equal to the first effective use of chemical weapons on the Western Front on 22 April 1915 inthe Second Battle of Ypres Flanders. The German XV. Armeekorps under General of Infantry von Deimling were 150 tons of chlorine gas according to the so-called Haber’s escape from blowing bottles. Since chlorine is heavier than air, the gas fell into the French trenches and called there supposedly some 5,000 dead and 10,000 injured (now you go from 1,200 dead and 3,000 wounded out).
Inhaled chlorine gas leads to life-threatening toxic pulmonary edema. France began the first of the belligerent nations on 22 February 1916 phosgene (COCl 2) in pure form one after Germany is already at 31 May had used in 1915 as a 5% addition to chlorine gas. This gas is responsible for the largest share of all gas casualties. Later, the agents were fired by poison gas grenade n where was recognizable by colored crosses (Blue Cross, Yellow Cross, Green Cross and white cross), what type of weapon they contained.
On the western front was reinforced “Yellow Cross” used, which stood for blister agents.

Colorful shooting

During World War II weapons were used in the late phase often combined: (only) strong irritant acting agents in aerosol or powder form as Blue Cross penetrated the filter of gas masks. These irritants forced the enemy to remove the gas mask. Simultaneously with this mask breaker n lung-damaging agents such as Green Cross were used. In this way the protection was prevented by enemy troops wearing the gas mask. The combined use of different agents for this purpose has been described as “colorful shooting” or “colored cross.”

Tolmein (twelfth Isonzo / Battle of Kobarid) on 24 – when the Austro-Hungarian offensive in the area Flitsch October 1917 attack by the “colorful shooting” of gas batteries was prepared. The Italian soldiers only had insufficient or no protective clothing – died in this section by the gas attack over 5,000 Italians. The German and Austro-Hungarian units had it in considerably easier to achieve a breakthrough by the Italian front.

Also, the psychological effect on the Italians was devastating. A great many soldiers surrendered to the Austrians in a row, the morale dropped sharply. The Italian front had to be taken back to the Piave to gain French and British associations have been moved to this front, the Italians, the situation after a reorganization could still self stabilizing.

In June 1918,Austria-Hungarytried in a final offensive to cross the Piave. The attack was not successful, both because the Italians were better equipped against gas attacks and the other part of the chemical weapons had been stored for too long and had thus lost its effectiveness.

Another successful case of military colorful shooting, as invented by Colonel Georg Mueller was broken, with the German spring offensive of 21 March to 17 July 1918 on the Western Front in northernFrance. Here the focus was not on a long artillery preparation and a clumsy attack on a broad front, but on a short, but additionally impact through use of mixed gas grenade n effective artillery. Then should the so-called assault battalion infantry troops move up e and remaining pocket of resistance he dispel. The mixed gas use paralyzed while the resistance of the enemy decisively.

Chemical weapons in World War I caused on both sides a total of about 100,000 dead and 1.2 million wounded. WhileRussiahad to complain about one third of the wounded and more than half of the dead, on the Western Front, the Allies had, however, also about twice as heavy losses as the Germans.GermanyandAustria-Hungaryequipped their soldiers with effective gas masks and were able to avoid greater losses in gas attacks.

Evaluation of chemical agents as weapons of war

Chemical warfare agents are now generally considered to be the most terrible weapons of the First World War. Chemical warfare agents caused large losses, although compared to other former weapons death rates were very low. Was the dosage of each poison, however deadly, was the most excruciating agony and lasted long. The wounds were severe: Temporary or permanent blindness, skin burns and lung damage were typical consequences.

Compared with conventional artillery ammunition caused chemical agents a lower proportion of permanent mutilation of people. This view, however, does not take into account long-term effects, such as skin cancer, in the case of S-Lost that occur sometimes after decades.

From a purely military strategy it is an advantage not to kill enemy soldiers, but to injure and maim so difficult that they require permanent care. Thus enemy resources are tied, the therefore no longer be available for the conduct of operations.

Since chemical weapons relatively cost little money to their detriment, is equipped the armed forces of many nations from it.

But I have heard in the course of World War clear that the use of chemical weapons by a cheap and relatively “humane” weapon developed into a weapon system, the increasingly cruel effects of proportion to their usefulness more focused: for example, the direction of effect was many cases due to changing wind directions hardly calculable.


From 1919, the concept of colonial control from the air of Winston Churchill was implemented for the first time. The Royal Air Force would like to take control over the colony n in theMiddle East. Conventional weapons like poison gas inserts also have been considered out of the air and demanded by Churchill. Due to technical problems poison gas was used only with the already proven methods in World War againstIraqpean population. It also came to poison gas operations against the Kurds in Sulaymaniyah inIraqtoday.

Reservations British military rejected Churchill: “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I’m all for it, to use poison gas against uncivilized tribes, “he announced. The gas used must not be fatal, but “cause great pain and disseminate a comprehensive terror” only.

The Rif War in northern Morocco, Spainestimated from 1924 chemical weapons against rebel Riffs, a Berber tribe-one. It was supported by Spainand Francein a secret treaty of the Reichswehr.
Another time poison gas was used by Fascist Italy in the war againstEthiopia andLibya, 1924-1930 1935-1936.Italy put poison gas bombs inEthiopia after the Ethiopian Christmas offensive (s) successfully pushed back Italian troops and had interrupted supply lines. The Ethiopian troops were very poorly equipped and many warriors were still fighting with spears. The warriors wore traditional clothing and had no protective equipment, so that especially the skin-damaging mustard gas led to high losses. According to Soviet estimates by the use of poison gas were 15,000 to 50,000 Ethiopians killed.

Red Army troops under the command of the late Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky used a s at the suppression of the uprising inTambovin 1921 with permission from the government poison gas to kill insurgents.

The Reichswehr development and possession of chemical weapons was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. To circumvent the ban,Germanycollaborated in 1923 with theSoviet Unionand tested on the test track Tomka chemical weapons. Cooperation was also held withSpain.

Geneva Protocol

The use of poisonous weapons was outlawed even before the First World War by the Hague Regulations, the formulation but offered ample scope for different interpretations, meaning that the use of poison gas was not clearly prohibited. Given the horrors of World War I in 1925, the Geneva Protocol, the use of poison gases and bacteriological methods is strictly prohibited. TheU.S.entered this contract with until 1974.

World War II

During the Second World War was the only nation that began chemical weapons, the Empire of Japan. These were used together with biological weapons inChina, both against Chinese troops and the deliberate mass killing of civilians.

According to the findings of historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno Yasuji Okamura received from Emperor Hirohito be allowed to use chemical weapons during the fighting. For example, the Emperor authorized the use of poison gas during the Battle of Wuhan from August to October1938 in375 different missions against the 1.1 million Chinese soldiers, of whom 400,000 were killed during the battle. Article 23 ofthe HagueConvention (1899 and 1907) and Article V of the Treaty in relation to the use of submarines and noxious gases found in the warfare of 6 February 1921 but already condemned the use of poison gas. During the Battle of Changsha in 1939, the Imperial Japanese army was also in large quantities poison gas against Chinese positions. Another example is the Battle of Yichang in October 1941, in the 19th The 13th Artillery Regiment Brigade of the 11th Army supported by bombardment of the Chinese armed forces with 1,000 yellow gas shells and 1,500 red gas shells. The area was of Chinese civilians, the evacuation was prohibited by the Japanese army, crowded. Of the approximately 3,000 Chinese soldiers in the area of 1600 were significantly affected by the effects of the gas.

During the Battle of Changde in November and December 1943 tried troops of the Imperial Japanese Army, including the unit 516, from along with the spraying of biological agents from aircraft by the massive use of poison gas, which in mainly with artillery shells on both Chinese positions surrounding shot down as well in the city, was to break the resistance of the defenders. In the gas used, it was most likely in addition to other species on the merits to mustard gas and lewisite. In the battle, killed 50,000 Chinese soldiers and 300,000 civilians. How many have died from it by the biological and chemical weapons is unclear. Both the operations of biological and chemical weapons by the Japanese Imperial Army to be counted among the Japanese war crimes.

To the countless human experiments of the Japanese Army, including the Unit 731, also included the testing of poison gas on captured Chinese civilians. In 2004, Yoshimi and Yuki Tanaka discovered in the Australian National Archives documents showing that cyanide gas in November 1944 onKaiIslands(Indonesia) was tested on Australian and Dutch prisoners of war.

Prohibiting the use of poisonous, chemical and biological weapons was observed in the second world war, at least on the European theater, though not all participating countries were party to the protocol. Another important aspect was the mutual deterrence, comparable to that of nuclear deterrence during the Cold War: If one of the warring parties, poison gas was used, as a result of a bombardment of its own territory is concerned with chemical weapons by opponents. British Prime Minister Churchill had already in May 1942 threatened a large-scale operation of agents, if the Germans were to be used on the Eastern Front warfare agents. An American plan of April 1944 provided for a retaliatory attack against 30 major German cities in the event of chemical weapons use by German. Within 14 days in this case, cities should be attacked with a total area of 217 km² and a total of 15,345 t over them mustard gas (Lost) and dropped 21,176 tonnes of phosgene. Because of the extremely high concentration of chemical weapons in this case (168 grams per square meter) estimates 5.6 million went directly through the use of killed and another 12 million to the consequences of the attack deaths and injuries.
The use would be mostly disadvantageous because its soldiers had taken the offensive contaminated terrain and had therefore to be feared even poisoning could.
On the European front during the entire Second World War, only four cases have been reported in which people were killed or injured by weapons, but it represented a deliberate weapon use and three accidents:

  • Probably used by the decision of a single officer Polish troops mustard gas bombs to blow up a bridge and a road block for mining near Jaslo. It was on 8 September 1939, two German soldiers were killed and twelve wounded.
  • On 11 September 1939, three German soldiers were in Ostrowiec (Poland) injured by gas, when they opened a striking container.
  • On 2 December 1943 the German air force bombed the Italian portof Bari. Here with the including 100 tonnes laden nitrogen mustard U.S.freighter John Harvey was hit and sunk. Part of the charge ran into the water, and others were distributed by the explosions and fires in the air. Since, due to the secrecy only a few people inBari on the existence of this charge and knew these were all killed by the gas, the wounded could not initially be properly treated. Exact figures on the victims do not exist, it is estimated that more than 600 soldiers and members of the Merchant Navy were corroded, which killed about 100. The number of civilians killed is likely to reach about 1,000. This incident had nearly caused an escalation of the war. A harbor basin gas bomb was found but in time identified as an American model, so retaliation with poison gas against the German troops were under.
  • On 8 April 1945 American fighter-bombers attacked the railway station Lossa (between Sömmerda and Naumburg). While some were damaged by tabun-filled bombs in the displacement of an Air Force munitions depot were there during their transport. Exact losses are not known.

In National Socialist German Reich was in December 1936 at IG Farben inLeverkusendiscovered by chemist Gerhard Schrader nerve gas Tabun. In December 1939 he synthesized it in its effect even stronger nerve agent sarin. From spring 1942, IG Farben produced at its plant in Silesia Dyherrnfurth in the nerve gas Tabun. In 1944, the Nobel laureate Richard Kuhn and his collaborator Konrad Henkel discovered the nerve gas soman in the Army Ordnance Department maintained section of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research inHeidelbergs. These nerve agents were not used because of fear of retaliation.

Germany was late thirties, the first to develop the nation’s large-scale (industrial cases) production of nerve gases was thus the only war party for the production of nerve gases in kilograms and tons area capable. This fact, coupled with the availability of modern means of delivery, such as the V-2 would have added to the political leadership in a position to unleash a strategic gas war that could, under certain circumstances the scope similar in serious can be like the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The responsible manager of the German war-gas development program concealed toward Hitler aware the real possibilities, as an escalation to the gas war was feared that if Hitler should be clear what effect such as a stocked with taboo warheads V-2 attack on London could have had. For tactical use as a carrier Been launcher weapons (Nebelwerfer produced) and the corresponding forces (troops fog) were trained. The frequently voiced suspicion that the experience of Hitler in World War should have prevented him from accepting any chemical weapons use is unsubstantiated, as even the production of ordered and ordered preparations for the start of a gas war. The reasons that in 1942 produced widely nerve gases not used came were mostly logistical (scarcity of resources) and military-strategic nature Also, both the misconception that the Allies would also have nerve gas, as well as the threat of massive retaliation in the event one first use of chemical weapons by Germany importance.

In the gas chambers of Many victims of the Holocaust with the hydrocyanic acid, the insecticide Zyklon B, and with engine fumes (carbon monoxide) murdered.

After 1945

Even after the Second World War, chemical weapons were used. It is regarded as certain that suchEgypthas used such as inYemen. The technology it came from the Soviet Union, which they had passed on to her other allied states of the Middle East, such asIraq.

While at the beginning of France and the U.S. still conventional incendiaries such as napalm against North Vietnam and the NLF esen were used, the government launched Kennedy 1961st the systematic use of chemicals against North Vietnam (Operation Ranch Hand) The employed here as a defoliant herbicide s (Agent Orange, especially) were no chemical weapons in the strict sense, but should take the enemy cover by vegetation and destroy his crop. Agent Orange was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin and thereby caused serious health problems among the population and soldiers on both sides.

The alleged use of sarin against their own forces (deserters) in Operation Tailwind inLaos proved to be a politically motivated hoax.

First Gulf War

Early in the first Gulf War, the Iraqi army was under the direction of Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons againstIran. Thus, the Iraqi air force threw already from 1980 specially developed canisters with chemical weapons on Iranian positions. Renown of the poison gas attack on the highway on 9 August 1983-Rawanduz Piranshahr (Fürtig, p 81).

A total of about 100,000 Iranian soldiers victims of gas attacks. Many of them were wounded by mustard gas. About 20,000 of them were killed during the operation immediately primarily through e tabun and VX nerve gas. These figures do not, however, a civilian. Since poison gas was dropped during the fighting on positions and items that were in or near villages and their inhabitants had no way to protect themselves from the gases, there was also a lot of civilian casualties. Furthermore, by using different gases areas were contaminated with hazardous chemical pollutants.
Iraq continued chemical weapons also targeted to kill civilians. Thousands were killed in poison gas attacks on villages, towns and hospitals front. The best known example is the poison gas attack on Halabja on 16 March, 1988, which killed about 5,000 Iraqi Kurds and 7,000 injured and 10,000 so badly that many of them died later. The Iraqi forces were several different gases simultaneously. These nerve agents such as Tabun, Sarin and VX may also include mustard gas and a Zyanidkampfstoff.

As part of the preparation for the first and secondIraqwar, conflicts arose between theUnited StatesandGermanyon the origin of Iraqi chemical weapons technology.


1995/96 terror attack occurred when the Japanese Aum sect to release the nerve gas sarin in theTokyosubway system. There were 12 people killed and over 5,000 injured. A previous attack of the sect with 7 deaths and 144 injuries was not known until after the fact.

In October 2002, security forces used Russian inMoscowprobably the opioid Carfentanyl and the anesthetic halothane as an aerosol-gas mixture to make a terrorist en incapacitated, in a musical theater clung 800 hostages. All hostages and over 129 hostages were killed. Because most of the gas. Many succumbed to poisoning her in the hospital, including possibly the lack of cooperation of the security forces has contributed to the doctors. The use of Carfentanyl was never officially confirmed, possibly in relation to the Chemical Weapons Convention, ratified byRussia.

During theIraqwar, it set a terrorist organization, when it was reported that the al-Qaeda, mainly a chemical weapons against civilians, but also againstU.S.soldiers and Iraqi soldiers and police. The employed gas it was chlorine gas. Since the attacks were carried out all in the open air, the death toll was generally low, the number of injured was often several hundred. Among the most widely perceived poison gas attacks inIraq, the stop count on a police station on 6 April 2007 with 27 deaths and on the attack on a village market in Abu Sayda 15th May 2007 with 45 deaths.

Chemical weapons

Chemical weapons

Medium is referred to as a chemical warfare any objects (ammunition Schweltöpfe, but also in the strict sense, for As simple bottles), making it possible to transport a chemical warfare agent. They can be classified according to their attack area on the human body or its effect. A boundary between groups is not always possible. Also, in some of these groups the mere association with the controversial chemical warfare agents.

The chemical agents to be broken down into the following categories:

  • Chemical warfare agents in the classical sense: pulmonary agents, blood agents, blister agents, nerve agents, CW incapacitating agents.
  • Irritants: charms the eyes and the respiratory tract. One example is the CS gas, which is used by the police in self-defense. Irritants are different from other skin warfare agents by their less powerful effect. (In very high doses or in sensitive individuals such Example, asthma patients), the so-called “tear gas” can also lead to skin irritation, shortness of breath or eye and lung damage and in sufficient concentration can be fatal. Another example is the so-called mask breaker. They cause nausea and should bring their victims to remove their respirators. Most of these substances have been with other chemical agents used in combination, to the toxic effect fully bring used.
  • Fog weapon: These substances produce in the air-tight, impenetrable fog, and should therefore take the view of the enemy. Fall into this category, for As smoke grenade n.

Chemical warfare agents

The chemical warfare agents in the traditional sense can be divided again into different weapon classes, depending on the type and site of action:

  • Lung warfare agent e: Directly access the lungs to. Characterized the oxygen supply of the body is broken, which leads to death. This includes, for example, chlorine, phosgene, diphosgene (Perstoff) and chloropicrin.
  • Blood weapon: Again, the oxygen supply of the body is blocked. However, in these warfare agents, the blood is attacked, which transports oxygen to the various organs. This includes, inter alia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic hydride and cyanogen chloride.
  • Skin weapon: Here, the skin of the body is under attack. This can be fatal if the affected skin area is large enough. Blister agents are used to make the opponent incapacitating him and thereby not necessarily kill. Including but not limited Nitrogen mustard, sulfur Lost (mustard gas), and lewisite Phosgenoxim.
  • Nerve agent e: Here is an enzyme of the nervous system of humans is blocked (acetylcholinesterase), and some important parts of the body (eg B. diaphragm) are paralyzed by continuous contraction. In addition, severe muscle spasms can be triggered. These include diisopropylfluorophosphate, VX, sarin (GB), Tabun (GA), soman (GD) and cyclosarin and CVX.
  • CW incapacitating substance: Here the human psyche is attacked with strong narcotics n order to incapacitate him temporarily. Long-term effects and long-term effects are not negligible. Including a fall and Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and benzilic acid (BZ).
  • Eyes weapon e: This group all chemical substances are counted, the irritation or injury to eyes. The fabrics are usually not fatal in high doses. Examples include benzyl, Xylylbromid or chloroacetone.
  • Nose and throat weapon e: These agents attack the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. Often occur irritation of the skin and eyes. These substances should not kill, but to make the opponent incapacitating and are often used together with other warfare agents. Examples include, among other Adamsite II, Clark I (Diphenylarsinchlorid) or Clark (Diphenylarsincyanid). (Colored pens)

Concept of Operations

In contrast to the early warfare agents that were gaseous today predominantly liquid agents (rarely solids) was used. These are used as an aerosol. A distinction is made according to the droplet size between two operating modes: volatile and sedentary.

Use volatile

Volatile when using very small droplets can be used to evaporate the largely instantaneously, so that very quickly a high concentration of the chemical warfare agent to be effective (50% and 50% as a vapor as fine aerosol). The loading density is chosen so that in most cases, a breath containing lethal amounts of the chemical warfare agent. By the rapid evaporation, the area should be back after four hours passable without protection. The aim of the attack is the enemy in contested territory to weaken sharply, to facilitate a breakthrough, but without hindering the own troops into suits. Best suited to a casual use are sarin, soman and tabun (collectively referred to as G-substances or Trilone) or cyanide. The latter is an exception, as it is very volatile and not just a few minutes to prove is (15 minutes maximum). This is called a super volatile weapon. Agents are most likely use multiple rocket launchers and bomb (possibly with sub-munitions), as they make a very high occupancy density.

Use sedentary

The use of comparatively large drops sedentary (0.1 mmto1 mmdiameter) are used. Due to the size of the drops fall faster the vapor concentration is substantially less (20% steam, 80% drop) and a large part of the warfare agent reaches the bottom, where it may, depending on the nature of the warfare agent and the weather remain for several weeks. The aim of the attack is not the immediate destruction of the enemy, but the restriction on his freedom of action. Protective and decontamination measures take time, contaminated area is to cross only with difficulty and troop morale suffers considerably. Moreover, in the contaminated parts are replaced and troops evacuated before the suits are saturated (usually after 12 hours). The most likely targets are (to complicate or prevent the counter attack) enemy flank positions, artillery positions (off the fire support), command objects and supply routes. Best suited for this kind of application, yperite (mustard gas / Lost) and V-agents (including VX). The possible use of funds are diverse, as are not paid to the loading density must (artillery, bombs, spray planes, rockets, missiles, etc.). A special form of sedentary use, the use of thickened agents. The weapon can be admixed with this thickening agent to increase its viscosity and thus the drop size on. This in turn leads to a lower rate of evaporation, and thus more sedentary. Furthermore, the decontamination is much more difficult. Main goals were for As airports, to prevent their use in the long term.

International condemnation

Since 1997 chemical weapons by the Chemical Weapons Convention officially outlawed internationally, and the development, production and stockpiling are prohibited. Nevertheless, the United States, along withRussia, still the largest owner of CW agents.



Mid-July 2007 was informed thatAlbaniahas become the first state to destroy all of its chemical weapons stocks proven. Financing of the project was carried out with a total of 48 million U.S. dollars. The destruction of CW agents sulfur mustard, lewisite, and chloroacetophenone Adamsite lasted from February to July 2007. The technology, and thus the plant for the destruction of weapons is provided by a renowned German plant manufacturer. The operation of the plant was also destroyed by German personnel.


In Germany, chemical warfare in World War II, among other things the company ORGACID in Halle-Ammendorf and in both world wars in Munster were made.  After the war, the remaining significant amounts of weapons into production. They were seized by the Allies (on various ships such B. Berlin) loaded that were sunk in theSkagerrak. From today’s perspective, this would be an environmental offense, but was allowed in those days.

Today, the former production sites only contaminated soil is left, which will be destroyed in two controlled disposal facilities of the Company for disposal of chemical warfare agents and arms legacy mbH (GEKA). In the plants of the federal company contaminated soil is first “washed” to separate the highly contaminated areas. These are mixed with lime and in a plasma system at 1350 to 1,550 ° C. in an electric arc. This creates after cooling vitreous slag in the non-combustible materials are attached, as well as combustion gases. Filled with chemical munitions are blown up previously in a so-called blast furnace. In both cases, the gases are washed, and then the precipitated salts.


On 1 April 2006, the second Russian chemical weapons destruction facility in Kambarka, UdmurtRepublicwas put into operation. In the complex, which was financed with German aid, should 6350 t arsenical skin warfare agent are removed, their destruction cost of more than 270 million Euros. Germanyto pay 90 million Euros. The first chemical weapons destruction facility was built in December 2002 inthe small town of Gornyin the Saratovregion on the middle reaches of the Volga. Outside Pochep, in the Bryanskregion, store packed in over 67,000 bombs around 7,500 of nerve agents VX, sarin and soman t. In a first step, the agents of the Russian side made weapons useless, and from 2009 commissioned a plant with high turbulence reactors for thermal disposal of the weapons in use.
Russia took over from the formerSoviet Union, some 40,000 tons of chemical weapons, are to be destroyed by 2012.

United States

TheUnited Statesused from the late 1980s until the late 1990s, a plant for destruction of chemical weapons at the Johnston Atoll in the Pacific.

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