They Called it Shell Shock: Combat Stress in The First World War

Linden, Stefanie
Date published: 
September 2016

This book provides a new perspective on the psychological reactions to the traumatic experiences of combat. In the Great War, soldiers were incapacitated by traumatic disorders on an epidemic scale that surpassed anything known from previous armed conflicts. This book illustrates the universal suffering of soldiers involved in this conflict and its often devastating consequences for their mental health. The author has analysed over 660 original medical records from shell shocked soldiers who were treated at the National Hospital at Queen Square, London, the Charité Psychiatric Department, Berlin and the Jena Military Hospital, Germany. This is thus the first shell shock book that is based on original case records from both sides of the battle. Based on her expertise in psychiatry and history of medicine the author argues that the experience of the shell shock patients and their doctors is still very relevant for the understanding of present-day traumatic diseases.