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Effects of WW1 on the Study of Psychology and Views on Psychological Illness

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Olivia Hester

on 3 December 2012

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Transcript of Effects of WW1 on the Study of Psychology and Views on Psychological Illness

Did World War 1 Affect
People's Views on Psychological Illness? Works Cited Humphries, Mark. "War’s Long Shadow: Masculinity, Medicine, and the Gendered Politics of Trauma, 1914–1939." The Canadian Historical Review 91.3 (2010): 503-31. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

Rae, Ruth. "An Historical Account of Shell Shock during the First World War and Reforms in Mental Health in Australia 1914?1939." International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 16.4 (2007): 266-73. Print.

Showalter, Dennis E. "Shell Shock." History In Dispute. Vol. 9. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson/Gale, 2002. 209-16. Print.

"World War 1 and Mental Health." More for the Mind. N.p., 2010. Web. 03 Dec. 2012.

World War 1 Soldier Carries His Buddy. N.d. Photograph. Canada's History. Government of Canada, 2012. Web. 3 Dec. 2012. Plan of Investigation Evidence Thesis World War One did affect people's views on mental and psychological illness. Did world war 1 affect people's views on psychological illness? Before the war, the view on mentally ill people was not favorable. Often times, illness of the mind was believed to be a fault in character, or the person was blamed for their sickness. But with the end of the First World War, some changes were happening. Men they knew before the war were now different, the description often being “shell-shocked”. Emotional breakdowns and outbursts occurred, challenging the “masculinity” of the soldiers who spent up to years drowning in violence. The focus of this project will mostly be from the end of the war in 1918 to a couple of years later, during the recovery from the war. These dates were chosen, as the focus of the research question is not about what happened during the war, but in the aftermath. “Shell-shock” was the term often used to describe what is now known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was originally thought to be a physical disease from having ones nervous system “shocked” but was found to be an illness of the mind.The types of sources accessed to answer this question are primarily secondary, mostly from journals or other historical sources. Primary source pictures have been used as well. The sources to be evaluated are "War’s Long Shadow: Masculinity, Medicine, and the Gendered Politics of Trauma, 1914–1939" from the Canadian Historical Review, and a photograph from World War one depicting a soldier carrying his wounded friend, found on the website “Canada’s History”. Shell Shock and View of Mental Illness Before the First World War
- Shell Shock was originally thought to be a physical disease, where the nervous system was "shocked" but being too near a shell blast.
- Many thought that mental illnesses were caused by a fault in morality, or that it was the person's own fault. There was not much sympathy
- There was much "social distrust" of people with psychological illnesses.

The War
- "More than 15,000 Canadian soldiers were diagnosed with some form of war-related psychological wounds."
- The level of knowledge of these sorts of illnesses by doctors and nurses was low, and initially the soldiers were met with disdain. There is evidence, though that medical professionals came to change this view as time- and the war as well as its aftereffects- went on. Evidence (Continued) After the War
- After World War One there was a significant advancement in psycology just as was in the physical field of medicine.

- Many women, having known the men before they were soldiers, found that a brave person, a hero even, could become mentally ill, and that this fate was not left only to "mentals" and "cowards".

- Unfortunately, while there was a shift in attitude in that people realized the fault did not necessarily lie with the ill person, the types of treatments, such as shock treatment (ironically), were very primitive, if they were "treated" at all. Source 1: Secondary Source

“War’s Long Shadow: Masculinity, Medicine, and the Gendered Politics of Trauma” is an article in a journal. It’s purpose is to educate about the topic.

-A value of the purpose is that since the purpose is to educate the reader, fewer slants on the information will be used, providing a clearer picture in that respect.

-A limitation of the purpose is that since it is written just to educate, a distinct viewpoint of a country cannot be seen.Orig Source One: Origin

The article was published in 2010 in The Canadian Historical Review.

-A value of the origin of this source is that is was published in a journal. This means it must be well researched and has been checked for factuality before being published.

-Another value of the origin is that since it was written in 2010, there has been time for the records from post-world-war-one to be released, and a better picture of what happened could be found.-A limitation of the origin of this source is that the write, Mark Humphries, is only an assistant professor, and therefore might not be as knowledgeable as other historians. Source Two: Primary Source

The purpose of the taking of this photograph was to capture a moment during the war
-A value of the purpose is that we see how it really was, including the emotions and facial expressions of the man in the picture.
-A limitation of the purpose is that the picture was taken by one person of one person, and thus might not represent how all of the men felt.


This picture was taken during World War One.
-A value of the origin is that we can see an authentic picture of how it was then, without any other opinion getting in the way.
-A limitation is that since in was just taken during the war, with no research around it, we don’t know the context in which the photograph was taken.
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