The Real Story of WWI Poison Gas in 'Wonder Woman'
By David Hambling
via the Popular Mechanics web site
When Diana leaves the secret island of the Amazons in the new DC movie Wonder Woman, she finds herself racing to end "the war to end all wars." That means Gal Gadot's superhero is doing battle against not only mythological forces of evil, but also the technological forces of destruction that defined WWI: warplanes, machine guns, and most importantly to the plot of the movie, poison gas.
Chemical warfare plays a key role in Wonder Woman, and while DC Comics may not be the obvious source to look for factual accuracy about military history, the movie's take on toxic weapons is more realistic than the usual Unobtainium-powered McGuffin you'd find in a superhero movie.
Here's everything you need to know about Wonder Woman's take on war history, and whether the villain's superweapon really could have been true.
Gas was intended to win the war. On that much Wonder Woman is absolutely right.
In the film, the evil German general sees his extra-deadly super-gas as the way to strike a decisive, deadly blow against the British. In real life, barbed wire and machine guns had brought the ground war to a stalemate of trench warfare, and it was up to the scientists and engineers to find a solution. The resulting burst of inventiveness actually yielded some good things—inventions like synthetic rubber and ultrasound. But it also brought new, horrible forms of destruction, including lethal gases and the strategic bombing of civilian targets.
Gas warfare had been around in some form since ancient times. People used smoke to drive out enemies from inside tunnels or caves, and the addition of arsenic or sulfur to the burning material made the smoke that much more effective. These weapons were ineffective out in the open, though.
Read the whole article on the Popular Mechanics web site:
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