Gas masks

Why face masks weren’t compulsory during WW2

Britain has been here before when it comes to furores about face masks. Exactly 80 years ago the same argument was raging, with the country split between those who wanted the wearing of gas masks to be made compulsory on pain of financial penalty, and those who maintained it should be an individual choice. Unlike today’s virus, the threat facing the country in the summer of 1940 was a destructive Nazi war machine that in a matter of months had torn through most of western Europe. Britain was next in Hitler’s sights and an aerial gas attack was what the government feared most. In 1938 Neville Chamberlain’s government, aided by