This week we look at how science has played a part in both destruction and preservation during times of war.
Science has long been a component of warfare, and in this week’s episode we look at how it has played a part in both destruction and preservation during times of war. Villanova University history professor Jeffrey Johnson spoke to us about dual use technology and how products and processes can be used by the military and in civilian life. Chlorine is an example of such a dual use technology—during World War I chlorine gas was used as a weapon, but today chlorine is commonly found in swimming pools. Finally, Audra Wolfe reviews Drew Gilpin Faust’s new book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, which looks at the history and culture of death during the American Civil War. Element of the Week: Chlorine.
00:00 Opening Credits
01:19 Conversation with Jeffrey Johnson
07:35 Element of the Week: Chlorine
09:35 Review of This Republic of Suffering
11:46 Quote: William Jennings Bryan
11:56 Closing Credits
Resources and References
On Haber: Dietrich Stoltzenberg, Fritz Haber: Chemist, Nobel Laureate, German, Jew: A Biography, (Philadelphia: Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2005).
On World War I: Albert Palazzo, Seeking Victory on the Western Front: The British Army & Chemical Warfare in World War I (University of Nebraska Press, 2000).
On Death in the Civil War: Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Knopf, 2008).
Quote: William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Democratic Convention.
Special thanks to David Caruso for researching the show.
Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music was provided by the Podsafe Music Network. The music at the end of the interview is “Sugar Spider,” by FuriousBall. The Element of the Week ends with “Hydrocarbons,” by Smog Monster. The music for the quote of the week is “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,” by Cagey House.
This week’s image is a photograph staged to show the importance of a soldier carrying and wearing his gas mask. From Frank J. Mackey, Forward—March! A Photographic Record of America in the World War and Post War Social Upheaval (Chicago: Disabled American Veterans of the World War, Department of Rehabilitation, 1937), p. 106.