The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has edited its page and removed the claim that chemical weapons were never used during World War 2 shortly after the controversy exploded over White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments about Hitler’ use of chemical weapons.
The OPCW is supported by the 192 countries that signed the Chemical Weapons convention, prohibiting the use of such wewapons. And in 2013, the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to ensure chemical weapons are “taboo” under international law.
The OPCW outlines the history of chemical weapons on its website page titled “Genesis and Historical Development”. Just yesterday, the page claimed that despite the use of such weapons in the inter-war period, no country used chemical weapons during WW2.
Chemical Weapons were used by a number of countries in the inter-war period, and all the major powers involved in World War II anticipated that large-scale chemical warfare would take place. Contrary to expectations, however, Chemical Weapons were never used in Europe in World War II.
Yesterday, however, the organization’s page underwent a small change and now claims that chemical weapons were never used “on the battleground.” Full amended quote, emphasis added:
Chemical Weapons were used by a number of countries in the inter-war period, and all the major powers involved in World War II anticipated that large-scale chemical warfare would take place. Contrary to expectations, however, Chemical Weapons were not used on the battleground in Europe in World War II.
The change likely came in response to Spicer’s comments about Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons and comparing him with Hitler.
Spicer told the press that even “someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t sink to the level of using chemical weapons,” which caused almost universal condemnation for Spicer’s having ignored Hitler’s use of gas chambers to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.
The Press Secretary later doubled-down and said: “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no, he [Hitler] was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
“There was clearly … I understand your point, thank you. There was not … He brought them into the Holocaust center I understand that,” he added.
The controversial Anne Frank Center has called for Spicer to be fired over his comments and accused him of blatant Holocaust denial.
Policians from both parties have expressed their outrage over Spicer’s comments. Representative Lee Zaldin of New York, released a statement saying that while “you can make the comparison a little differently and it would be accurate, but it’s important to clear up that Hitler did in fact use chemical warfare to murder innocent people.”
Spicer has since apologized, calling his wording a “mistake” and added that “There’s no other way to say it. I’d gotten into a topic that I shouldn’t have and I screwed up. I hope people understand that we all make mistakes,” he said during an onstage interview at the Newseum in Washington.