Clara Immerwahr’s suicide protesting use of Poisonous gages in World War 1

Clara Immerwahr (June 21, 1870 – May 2, 1915) was a German chemist and the wife of Fritz Haber. Fritz Haber was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. He has also been described as the "father of chemical warfare" for his work developing and deploying chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I.

Immerwahr married Haber in 1901. Constrained by the female stereotypes of the time, her scientific research was hindered. She instead contributed to her husband's work without recognition, translating his works into the English language.

Confiding in a friend, Immerwahr bemoaned her newfound subservient role as a housewife:

It has always been my attitude that a life has only been worth living if one has made full use of all one's abilities and tried to live out every kind of experience human life has to offer. It was under that impulse, among other things, that I decided to get married at that time... The life I got from it was very brief...and the main reasons for that was Fritz's oppressive way of putting himself first in our home and marriage, so that a less ruthlessly self-assertive personality was simply destroyed.

During World War I, Haber became a staunch supporter of the German military effort and played an important role in the development of chemical weapons (particularly poison gases). His efforts would culminate in the first gas attack in military history in Flanders, Belgium on April 22, 1915. Haber thereafter returned home to Berlin.

Shortly after his return, Immerwahr picked up Haber's military pistol and shot herself in the chest. She died in her son's arms. The morning after her death, Haber immediately left home to stage the first gas attack against the Russians on the Eastern Front. Her suicide remained largely in the dark; it was never in the newspapers and there is no evidence of an autopsy. The undocumented nature of her death has led to much controversy as to her motives.

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