The day is May 3, 1915, and the place is a field outside of the city of Ypres, in Belgium. It is the aftermath of the second battle in that area, a place that must go down in history as one more terrible site of man’s peculiar inhumanity to man. It is not just that thousands in an army of resistance to German aggression have died, or that they have died in that once-peaceful land that the Kaiser wanted to use as a highway into France. “Belgium is a nation, not a road,” said King Albert I, and that set his small country squarely in Wilhelm’s sights. Much of the worst of the trench warfare would be fought in its flatlands and gently sloping hills.
A few days before, a green cloud came blowing in at the Allied army, a cloud of chlorine gas. Such a weapon had been banned by international agreement at The Hague, but the Germans said that the treaty had covered only a means of delivery, and not the poison itself. So…
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