Event Title

3A2: American Chemical Companies: World War I and Beyond

Start Date

29-9-2018 1:15 PM

End Date

29-9-2018 2:15 PM

Description

American Chemical Companies: World War I and Beyond The First World War created a relationship between the United States military and American chemical manufacturers that would have an enormous influence on how private companies impacted both the civilian and military lifestyles over the next century. By the time the United States entered the conflict, the government had already asked many companies to shift towards weapons production.

The relationship between private business and war has a long pedigree in military history. Companies were contracted to produce clothes, boots, weapons, food, and medicine in order to keep a nation’s military on the battlefield. With the world-spanning scale of the Great War, European nations could not rely on their own domestic manufacturers to produce the materials necessary to fight the war. Before the US entered the war, American manufacturers and farmers produced much of the material and supplies needed by the Entente Powers to fend off the Central Powers. In some instances, private American companies, such as Dow Chemical and United States Cartridge Company, had been producing ammunition and chemicals for the warring nations while the United States maintained neutrality.

Chemical companies and their manufacturing capability were essential to all of the warring nations. The chemicals that were produced could be used for growth of crops on the Homefront, for the creation of conventional weapons, and most damaging of all, the production of different types of poison gas. The Entente Powers found themselves at a severe disadvantage when World War I erupted because Germany was the preeminent chemical powerhouse of Europe. Unable to obtain the chemicals produced by their enemy, Great Britain, France, and Russia were forced to either rely on their own meagre stocks or look to the neutral United States for ammunition and fertilizers.

Once war was finally declared, American chemical companies were approached by the US military to apply their scientists to develop new technology and weapons. An entirely new branch of the Army, the US Army Gas Service Section, was created in 1917 to explore the potential application of and, just as importantly, protection against, chemical weapons. That relationship fostered many results, including the production of the new magnesium “tracer” bullet and mustard gas to the development of chemical warfare protection.

The companies that produced these materials were based throughout the United States. One Michigan chemical company, Dow Chemical had major impacts on both the American civilian and military sectors. Throughout both World Wars, the Cold war, and into today, Dow Chemical has invented world changing weapons and civilian products. These products have left an indelible, lasting footprint on the world.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Sep 29th, 1:15 PM Sep 29th, 2:15 PM

3A2: American Chemical Companies: World War I and Beyond

American Chemical Companies: World War I and Beyond The First World War created a relationship between the United States military and American chemical manufacturers that would have an enormous influence on how private companies impacted both the civilian and military lifestyles over the next century. By the time the United States entered the conflict, the government had already asked many companies to shift towards weapons production.

The relationship between private business and war has a long pedigree in military history. Companies were contracted to produce clothes, boots, weapons, food, and medicine in order to keep a nation’s military on the battlefield. With the world-spanning scale of the Great War, European nations could not rely on their own domestic manufacturers to produce the materials necessary to fight the war. Before the US entered the war, American manufacturers and farmers produced much of the material and supplies needed by the Entente Powers to fend off the Central Powers. In some instances, private American companies, such as Dow Chemical and United States Cartridge Company, had been producing ammunition and chemicals for the warring nations while the United States maintained neutrality.

Chemical companies and their manufacturing capability were essential to all of the warring nations. The chemicals that were produced could be used for growth of crops on the Homefront, for the creation of conventional weapons, and most damaging of all, the production of different types of poison gas. The Entente Powers found themselves at a severe disadvantage when World War I erupted because Germany was the preeminent chemical powerhouse of Europe. Unable to obtain the chemicals produced by their enemy, Great Britain, France, and Russia were forced to either rely on their own meagre stocks or look to the neutral United States for ammunition and fertilizers.

Once war was finally declared, American chemical companies were approached by the US military to apply their scientists to develop new technology and weapons. An entirely new branch of the Army, the US Army Gas Service Section, was created in 1917 to explore the potential application of and, just as importantly, protection against, chemical weapons. That relationship fostered many results, including the production of the new magnesium “tracer” bullet and mustard gas to the development of chemical warfare protection.

The companies that produced these materials were based throughout the United States. One Michigan chemical company, Dow Chemical had major impacts on both the American civilian and military sectors. Throughout both World Wars, the Cold war, and into today, Dow Chemical has invented world changing weapons and civilian products. These products have left an indelible, lasting footprint on the world.