• Russian children putting on gas masks, Berlin, ca. 1945

Russian children putting on gas masks, Berlin, ca. 1945

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Silver gelatin photograph of four Russian children, two of whom are donning gas masks while the others assist.  Caption to verso in German and stamp of the Aktuelle Bilder Centrale, Berlin, ca. 1945.  In fine condition.  6 x 4.5 inches (15.2 x 11.4 cm.).

"Since chemical warfare exploded on the scene with lethal and terrifying force at the Second Battle of Ypres during WWI, nations have been attempting to create defenses for both soldiers and civilians against weapons that are largely invisible and indiscriminately deadly.  Gas masks have been on the front lines of this effort.  During the 20th century, authorities were particularly concerned with how to protect the youngest generation from the sins of their fathers.  During both World Wars and the Cold War, they created school drills and new mask designs that tried to make the experience less frightening and more protective for the little ones."  (Allison McNearney, "Watch the Government Test Gas Masks on Children During the Cold War," History)