Chemical Weapons: a Quiz

by GARY LEUPP

1. Which of the following is the most accurate statement?

1. chemical weapons were first used during the First World War

2. chemical weapons were invented and first used in the 19th century

3. chemical weapons have been around since prehistoric people first put poisons on arrowheads

4. the first real chemical weapon was “Greek Fire” invented by the Byzantines in the 7th century

5. chemical weapons were first produced in the 18th century, based on formulae found in Leonardo da Vinci’s rediscovered writings

2. An international conference in 1899 produced the Hague Treaty, which bans the use of projectiles containing poison gas in warfare. Only one country’s representative dissented. What country was this?

1. Russia

2. U.S.

3. United Kingdom

4. Japan

5. Union of South Africa

 

3. In the First World War, what percentage of fatalities were due to chemical weapons?

1.  4%

2. 12%

3. 39%

4. 51%

5. 59%

 

4. In April 1917, British forces used poison gas against German and Ottoman forces in

1. Turkey

2. Germany

3. Austria

4. Libya

5. Palestine

 

5. Who made the following comment in May 1919, regarding the use of mustard gas against Mesopotamian Arabs?

“I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas…I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes… It is not 
necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.”

1. Benito Mussolini

2. Winston Churchill

3. Georges Clemenceau

4. Woodrow Wilson

5. Ibn Saud

 

6. Mustard gas was invented in 1917 by a scientist in

1. U.S.

2. Austria

3. Norway

4. Germany

5. Japan

 

7. During the First World War, Germany was the largest producer of chemical weapons. What country was number two?

1. U.K.

2. U.S.

3. Japan

4. Italy

5. France

 

8. 88,000 people died due to chemical weapons during the First World War. 56,000 of these were in one country. What was it?

1. Russia

2. Japan

3. China

4. Germany

5. France

 

9. At the Washington Arms Conference of 1922 which country opposed inclusion in a treaty of an article banning chemical weapons?

1. France

2. U.S.

3. U.K.

4. Russia

5. Japan

 

10. Over 60 U.S. merchant seamen were killed by mustard gas in an Italian port in December 1943. Why did this happen?

1. The ship was accidently attacked by a British submarine, with torpedoes armed with mustard gas

2. German troops attacked with gas

3. Italian guerrillas attacked with gas

4. The gas was aboard their ship and released when German forces bombed it

5. None of the above

 

11. How many tons of chemical weapons material did the U.S. at peak inventory?

1. The U.S. never built or stockpiled such weapons

2. 10,000 tons

3. 30,000 tons

4. 50,000 tons

5. 110,000 tons

 

12. Napalm was invented

1. by the ancient Greeks

2. by a Swedish scientist in 1876

3. by scientists at Harvard University in 1943

4. by Dow Chemical Corp. during the Vietnam War

5. by the Japanese military during World War II

 

13. Which president announced that the U.S. would not be the first to use chemical weapons?

1. Wilson

2. Eisenhower

3. Kennedy

4. Nixon

5. Carter

 

14. Napalm is:

1. A mix of petroleum plus a gelling agent that sticks to skin and causes severe burns when ignited

2. A gas that causes asphyxiation

3. A type of explosive bullet

4. An invisible gas released at low altitude by helicopters

5. A kerosene-based jet fuel used in firebombs

 

15. Over 2 million tons of napalm were used in World War II. Between 1965 and 1973 how many tons of napalm were dropped on Vietnam by U.S. forces?

1. 1 million

2. 2 million

3. 5 million

4. 8 million

5. 15 million

 

16. Up to March 1992, according to a Senate study, the U.S. licensed export of anthrax and VX nerve gas to which country among the following?

1. Zimbabwe

2. South Africa

3. United Kingdom

4. Iraq

5. Canada

 

17. In March 1988 Iraqi forces attacked Kurds in northern Iraq with chemical weapons, killing over 3000. How did the U.S. react?

1. The State Department stated its belief that Iran was behind the attacks

2. Pres. Reagan declared Iraq in violation of international law and asked Congress for permission to punish it

3. U.S. officials openly argued that since Saddam Hussein was a firm ally against Iran the U.S. had to overlook his war crimes

4. The U.S. placed Iraq back on its list of terror-sponsoring nations

5. The U.S. halted military cooperation with Iraq in its war with Iran

 

18. Which of the following countries are believed to possess stockpiles of chemical weapons?

1. Russia, China, France, U.K., Russia, Syria

2. Egypt, Israel, Syria, North Korea, Russia, U.S.

3. Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, China, France, Russia, U.S.

4. Iran, Syria, Russia, U.S., India, Egypt

5. Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Russia, U.S., Germany

 

19. The U.S. claims that Syria possesses about 1000 tons of chemical weapons. How many tons does the U.S. still possess?

1. 500

2. 1000

3. 2000

4. 2500

5. 3000

 

20.  What countries continue to refuse to ban chemical weapons?

1. Syria, Israel, Zimbabwe, South Korea, North Korea

2. Angola, Egypt, North Korea, South Sudan

3. Syria, Israel, U.S., Russia, China

4. Syria, Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea

5. Angola, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, South Sudan

Bonus question:

The Chemical Weapons Convention approved by the UN General Assembly that bans use of chemical weapons was first signed by participating nations in what year?

1. 1945

2. 1968

3. 1974

4. 1993

5. 2003

 

Answers:

1. 3 (Salon of Athens poisoned the Spartan water supply. Henry III used quicklime against the French. In 1675 the French and Germans agreed to stop using poisoned bullets. Chemical warfare is not only modern.)

2. 2 (The U.S. representative wanted no curbs on U.S. inventiveness.)

3. 1 (Remarkably small proportion.)

4. 5 (Mostly British versus Germans, with the latter winning.)

5. 2 (Churchill the consummate colonialist.)

6. 4 (Germany’s chemical industry led the world.)

7. 5 (The U.K. and U.S. produced chemical weapons too, but France was far ahead.)

8. 1 (Compare 9000 Germans, 8000 French, 8000 British Empire, 1500 U.S.)

9.1 (Not surprising, since France was then the world’s leading manufacturer of chemical weapons.)

10.  4 (News of this was hushed up.)

11. 3 (Now down to 3000.)

12. 3 (The scientists were doing war-related research. Napalm was soon used; on March 9, 1945 napalm dropped on Tokyo killed over 87,000 people.)

13. 4 (Nov. 25, 1969 statement.)

14. 1 (From naphthenic palmitic acids.)

15. 4

16. 4 (As part of cooperation during the Iran-Iraq War.)

17. 1 (At the same time anonymous government officials opined that there was no law preventing someone from using weapons of mass destruction on his own people.)

18. 2 (Israel argues that its chemical weapons serve as a deterrent to Syrian attack.)

19. 5 (Russia has about 9000 and plans to destroy it all by next year.)

20. 2 (Now that Syria has signed the treaty, just four countries remain outside it.)

Bonus: 4 (There are now 189 signatories.)

GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire