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C h e d d Weappm and Deterrence The World War I1 Experience John Ellis van Courtland Moon I T h e issue of chemical warfare (CW) has been recently resurrected by current allegations of communist employment of chemical weapons in Afghanistan, Laos, and Cambodia and by the debate over the rising threat of Soviet CW capabilities. To those who have studied chemical warfare planning in World War 11, these claims, fears, and speculations are hauntingly familiar.’ The following archivists were extremely helpful in identifying and locating material of importance : Mr. James Hastings, Federal Records Center, Suitland, Maryland; and Mr. William Cunliffe , Modern Military Branch of the National Archives, Washington, D.C. Other archivists associated with the National Archives, the FDR Library, and the Public Record Office helped in innumerable ways. I am also greatly indebted to my colleagues who read this article in various stages and provided useful suggestions on content and style. Space precludes listing them all. Four readers were especially helpful: Professor Ernest R. May, Harvard University; Dr. William Emerson, Director of the FDR Library; my wife, Professor Joan van Courtland Moon, University of Massachusetts at Boston; Professor Ann R. Howe, Southeastern Massachusetts University. john Ellis uan Courtland Moon, for many years a Professor of History at Boston State College, is currently Professor of History at Fitchburg State College. 1. This article is based primarily upon the records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,RG [RecordGroup] 218, located in the National Archives of the United States, Washington, D.C. Especially useful were the following files: CCS 385.2 and CCS 441.5. Other documentary sources were useful in supplementing the record: a) RG 160: records of the Army Service Forces; b) RG 165: ABC Strategy Section Papers, OPD; c) RG 165: ABC 385.2 Germany; d) RG 165: OPD 385 CWP; 3) RG 165:OPD 385 TS; f) RG 175:records of the Chemical Warfare Service; g) RG 175: Chief Chemical Officer Army; h) RG 319: ACSI: Doc. Library Board, ID Files; i) RG 319: ACSI: Publications Files; j) RG 319: ABC 381: Strategy Section Papers, OPD; k) RG 331: Cossac 63BdInt: Gas Intelligence, Shaef Records; 1) RG 331: 300.6.15 Chemical Warfare, Shaef Files; m) RG 331: 385.2 Chemical Warfare, Shaef Records;n) RG 370.47.6 Chemical Warfare, Shaef Records; 0)RG 407: AG 381; p) RG 457 the records of the National Security Agency. (This last source contains the texts of intercepted Japanese cables-MAGIC-which record rumors and alerts regarding possible initiation of CW by either the Germans or the Allies.) In the Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, I found MR 302 Map Room Papers useful. The debates on British policy and preparedness for CW can be followed in the Churchill papers, located at the Public Record Office: Premier 3/65;Premier 318811-3; Premier 3/89. I have also consulted a number of unpublished manuscript histories located in the Office o f the Chief of Military History, Washington, D.C. The columns of The New York Times and the Congressional Record were used to trace the public debate over gas warfare during the interwar period. Three useful studies dealing with CW preparedness in World War I1 are: Frederick Joseph Brown, United States Chemical Warfare Policy, 1919-1 945:A Study of Restraints (Geneve: Imprimerie Offset Blanc, 1967)(hereafter U.S. Chemical Warfare Policy); The Problem of Chemical and Biological International Security, Spring 1984 (Vol. 8, No. 4) 0162-2889/84/040003-33$02.5011 0 1984 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 3 International Security 14 In that war, the use of CW would not have been as surprising as in the era of the Cold War. World War I1 was the most devastating conflict in history; its images of destruction still curse the imagination. The failure to use CW is especially surprising when we remember the ruthless thoroughness with which the strategic air offensive was executed by the Allies and the use of nuclear weapons over Japan. But World War I1 was not an absolute war, not “an act of force” without “logicallimits to the application of that force.”2Throughout that...


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