Broken Men: Shell Shock, Treatment and Recovery in Britain by Fiona Reid

By Fiona Reid

Shell surprise completed a really excessive political profile within the years 1919-1922. guides starting from John Bull to the Morning publish insisted that shell-shocked males will be handled with recognize, and the Minister for future health introduced that the govt was once dedicated to holding shell-shocked males from the stigma of lunacy. but even as, many mentally-wounded veterans have been being affected by a pension procedure which used to be failing to offer them protection. it truly is this clash among the political rhetoric and the lived event of many wounded veterans that explains why the govt used to be not able to dispel the detrimental wartime overview of professional shell-shock therapy. there has been additionally a true clash among the government's desire to overlook shell surprise when memorialising the struggle and remembering the conflict lifeless. due to those contradictions, shell surprise used to be no longer forgotten, to the contrary, the shell-shocked soldier fast grew to symbolise the confusions and inconsistencies of the nice conflict.

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Extra resources for Broken Men: Shell Shock, Treatment and Recovery in Britain 1914-30

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Psychologically wounded officers were housed in single rooms in secluded residences because medical opinion was strongly influenced by the rest cure, which had long been the conventional treatment for nervous debility among the wealthy. Elite casualties required special treatment, and descriptions of Palace Green indicate that young officers were treated in a very pleasant environment: It would not be easy to find a more sequestered and restful spot in the midst of a great city. 129 This was in stark contrast to the treatment meted out to the men in the other ranks.

129 This was in stark contrast to the treatment meted out to the men in the other ranks. 131 So, a single room was vital for recovering officers – but not for their men. Nervous casualties from the other ranks could be dispatched to filthy asylum-like conditions, but gentlemen-soldiers went to something more like a country house. While the Knutsford hospitals were enjoying some success and recognition in 1915 and 1916, the official network of care for shell-shocked men was quickly becoming inadequate.

Quite simply, government ministries were unprepared for a long war involving several million enlisted and active servicemen. 113 This state-led care did not negate the need for the voluntary sector, but it did ensure that the state began to accept statutory responsibilities for disabled veterans. Servicemen realized this, and the citizen soldier of the First World War did not accept that the state had a right to use him as canon fodder and then abandon him. Yet an acceptance of obligation is easier than establishing a practical network of care, and when it came to creating treatment regimes for shell-shocked men, the British government and the military establishment were obviously handicapped by a real lack of hands-on experience.

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