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Issues of Returning Soldiers from WW1

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Jocelyn Martin

on 12 February 2014

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Transcript of Issues of Returning Soldiers from WW1

More Problems
Speaks up for all WW1 veterans
Lobbies Congress to get benefits for the veterans
Seeks for hospital care & bonus service pay for veterans
Wants aid to be given to disabled veterans
Issues of Returning WW1 Soldiers
By: Jocelyn & Soleiman
World War 1
Government Aides Veterans
Bonus March
Began in 1914 and ended in 1918
Also known as the "Great War" as referred to in
The Great Gatsby
The United States joined the War April 6, 1917
About 30,000 veterans, known as the bonus army, marched to Washington in demand of bonus payments
The bonus army settled their camp near the capital where they would protest
1917 - War Risk Insurance Act Amendments:
provides provisions for government life insurance & provisions for rehabilitation
1918 - Vocational Rehabilitation Act:
gives allowance to veterans unable to work & extra benefits to honorably discharged veterans that are disabled
Problems Veterans Faced
1924 - World War Adjustment Compensation Act:
war bonuses were going to be paid based on the length of the soldier's service
But, these bonuses would not be paid until 20 years later
Government Aides Veterans continued
1919 - American Legion
Rehabilitation for veterans
over 300,000 soldiers returned home with physical or mental effects to their health
in veterans hospitals, men underwent reconstructive surgery as well as received prosthetic limbs (also soldiers with injuries to their faces received prosthetic masks)
"some cities passed ordinances that required veterans with severe facial wounds to wear masks or hoods in public so their disfigured faces would not scare women or children"
As one man explained, "it's no use. I can't study—there are always planes flying in my head."
Recovery process for veterans
injured soldiers received a disability rating; the higher the rating, the more government money they received
military was segregated, difficult for minorities to receive treatment and payment
victims of shell shock usually weren't treated because it was difficult to prove they were mentally ill
Shell shock
Many soldiers were denied government benefits & did not try to reapply for benefits
It was hard for solders to find jobs because the economy was going into a recession
Many disabled soldiers were not able to work
8,000-10,000 were annually treated for mental disorders
Shell shock victims found it difficult to be hired
employers didn't want veterans to have mental breakdowns while on the job
elements of daily life (such as loud noises resembling shells exploding) could easily trigger veterans shell shock
Their protest was ended by the US troops who took the veterans out of the city
Their camps were burned
Bonus March continued
returning to daily life
veterans were taught new trades or professions
shell shock victims found it difficult to learn new professions and assimilate into normal life
after some time, people lost sympathy for disabled veterans
the government was unorganized and for the most part ineffective at treating soldiers
The Great Gatsby
Both Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway were WWI veterans
Gatsby was a very highly decorated soldier
Nick doesn't mention much of his experience as a soldier
it is possible neither of them were in the trenches or fighting in the front lines due to the lack of injuries
At the time period, America was unprepared for the massive effect WWI would have on soldiers. Thousand of once normal men would return disabled, mentally and physically, and would have no way of being treated. Medical advancements of the time helped veterans return to their normal lives, despite the horrendous effects. Overall soldiers returned to civilian life with many problems and few solutions.
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