Over one hundred years ago, a surprise attack by German forces began the second battle of Ypres. This battle ended on this day….100 years ago. Besides the loss of life, and celebration of a much-needed British victory, The Second Battle of Ypres introduced a hideous and debilitating new weapon: Poisonous gas. The cloud, carried on a gentle afternoon breeze, first hit the French troops, blinding their eyes and cloaking their lungs until they suffocated. Horrendous-type warfare no one had ever witnessed. By debilitating and killing the first wave of Allied forces, the Germans made a quick advance into Allied territory.
Those soldiers who were not killed, retreated in a fog of confusion brought on by this unexpected new weapon.
Four battles and one month later, the Allies were able to regain their hold of Ypres and push back the Germans, but the losses were great – especially for the French and many civilians who were close enough to be infected by the gas.
Losses during this battle alone were estimated to be about 59,000 British and 10,000 French.(www.firstworldwar.com) (and that was for only one battle)
As we remember men fallen in war during our US Memorial Day, the estimated loss of American life within the two years American was involved in World War 1 is estimated as over 100,000. (www.pbs.org )
The United States involvement in WW1 changed the outcome of the war, and the sacrifices made by these brave men will not be forgotten.
Let us remember the lives lost both in our country and the many lost in other countries who had been struggling years longer in this Great War.