An appeal on poison gas

16 February 2018

February 15th, 1918.

A MOVING appeal has been made by the International Red Cross to the Governments of all belligerent States, reminding them of a resolution adopted by the Hague Convention that forbids the use of poison or poisoned weapons, and of such projectiles as would cause excessive injuries. The Society affirms that asphyxiating or poisonous gases are indubitably forbidden by the Convention, and expresses horror at the report that new poisonous gases, deadlier even than those hitherto used, are being manufactured in huge quantities. It is pointed out, on the testimony of Red Cross nurses and orderlies, that the suffering caused by those horrible agencies is more painful to behold than that caused by the most cruel wounds. Unless a nation wishes victory to mean for it nothing but the complete destruction of those against whom it is fighting, the International Red Cross argues, it will be in revolt against this barbarous method of warfare; and, believing that, even after three years of fighting, the feelings of humanity are not extinct in the minds of the belligerent peoples, it calls for an agreement, perhaps under its flag, to abandon this atrocious practice. Already the Germans have replied, and that in the way that might have been expected. It is impossible, they say, to comply with this humane request. The impossibility would seem to be moral.


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