Contrary to the notion that the history of mustard gas started during World War I, mustard gas was actually first synthesized almost 100 years prior to the start of said war and the basic approaches used to manufacture it were based on methods pioneered by European chemists of the 19th century. From the chemistry point of view, an analysis of the history of mustard gas has two dimensions. First, knowledge of the history will equip both chemical professionals and students of chemistry to speak with greater understanding when discussing mustard gas as a chemical warfare agent. Second, it is important that the students of chemistry recognize that, very often, the basic scientific investigations leading to a weapon were undertaken long before any individual or organization had decided to build a weapon.
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