( CNN) World War I ushered in periods of chemical weapons use that dawdles, lethally, into the present day.

Indeed, the German chlorine onrushes against French, Algerian, British and Canadian troops around Ypres — site of the war’s most relentless opposing — in April 1915 foreshadowed a macrocosm in which weapons of mass destruction became at least a permanent background feeling and often information sources of intense horror.

World War I, which began nearly 100 years ago, connected science with mass killing and, despite preventative conventions such as the 1900 Hague Convention, formed a persistent precedent. Scientific progress now raised new dreads as well as hope.

Three sudden happenings from WWI


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