The topic came up yesterday with the White House press spokesman, in that suggesting that Hitler never used chemical weapons.
So, just to lay out the simple facts to this WW II and chemical weapons usage:
1. In the fall of 1942, a miserable battle took place over a period of five months, and to be referred to as the Battle of Stalingrad. The Soviets beat the Germans, and roughly 700,000 German troops were either dead, wounded, or captured. It was probably the most crucial turning point of WW II. A meeting was held with Hitler. All of the top members of his staff advocated the use of chemical weapons to slow the Soviets down.
2. A month or two after this meeting to talk Hitler into the use of chemical weapons.....another meeting was held. Hitler was told in concrete numbers of what Germany held.....45,000 tons of chemical weapons. Hitler's only response.....to double the amount of sarin production. Oddly, he ordered all chemical weapons in the eastern front to be pulled back....to safer territory....NOT to be used in battle.
3. The primary concern of Hitler? Some staff members hyped up that the Americans, British and Soviets had far more chemical weapons. If he used his.....they would retaliate and make maximum use of their chemical weapons. One of the other fears that gets mentioned is that German officers....maybe all the way down to Captains....might be in some position and just make the decision on their own to use the weapons, and not give Hitler clear authority.
One of the odd stories that you will find on WW II and chemical weapons is that along the Normandy coastal area....there were storage sites with Gas Blau. It would have been a very effective weapon to use, and would have probably stopped the US and British invasion at Normandy. The chief reason it wasn't used? Different people often have speculated on this and some believe the same Hitler concern....that if you used it and the Americans went to chemical weapon usage....the Germans would quickly lose the war.
Everyone, from Hitler, to the allies.....had chemical weapons and were prepared to use them in WW II. It's simply the fear of escalation that prevented this from being a very deadly situation.