Case 08 – Poison Gas in Warfare

Poison Gas in Warfare – Series

This series of texts describes select examples of the usage of poison gas in warfare. The first part of the series is now available to download below and deals with the use of German-made poisonous gas in Spain’s colonial war against the Rifians (berber) people of Morocco in the 1920s.

  • Case 08.1 Chemical Weapons in Spain’s War in Morrocco

Artwork by Haubi Haubner


A black and white image of a man. It is the image of Abd El-Karim, leader of the Rifian people in their war against Spain.

Pictured above: Abd El-Karim (1882/3 – 1963), president of the Rif Republic and a leader of the rebellion of the Rifian people against the Spanish colonization of Morrocco/the Rif Republic.

08.1 Chemical Weapons in Spain’s War in Morrocco

On 27 November 1912, a Franco-Spanish treaty granted Spain the north of Morocco on the Mediterranean with the Rif Mountains as a protectorate. When the Spanish military attempted to take increasing possession of this area from 1921 onwards, the Berber resistance began under the leadership of Abd-el-Krim. At the Battle of Annual on 22 July 1921, over 13,000 Spanish soldiers died fighting against the Rifkabyles, who were waging guerrilla warfare. Abd-el-Krim founded the Islamic Rif Republic in northern Morocco in 1923.

Spain now used chemical warfare agents, especially poison gas, on a massive scale against the population of the Rif. Spain had imported the poison gas from Germany.

By Jürgen Neitzert – original in German

Download the full version or summaries in multiple languages below.

Graphic: Public Domain, WikimediaCommons