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Great War battlefield survivors - Part 1

 
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 31 Okt 2010 13:42    Onderwerp: Great War battlefield survivors - Part 1 Reageer met quote

Great War battlefield survivors - Part 1


Financing the War Emergency
The Glorious Dead
... and miscellaneous costs

In a war emergency it is essential for the leaders of society to ...
mobilize public opinion and support for sacrifice ... train the military ... and give them weapons.

No military plan survives contact with the enemy - as even the perfected German war machine discovered.
Innovative 'war-winning' tactics and weapons are quickly copied or countered by the other side.

Lives and money are too easily thrown away in the ensuing desperate effort by career military officers ...
who are under pressure to win.

The true long term costs are only considered in hindsight by historians.

No political leader has ever stated beforehand:
'We think it would be a good idea to fight a war for "The Survival of Humanity" ...
which will cost $1 billion when we are done'

'Externalities' to the core wartime economy ... quite consistently in history ...
are the long term costs lived each day by the survivors.

The young soldiers do their part ... but find they were not indestructible after all.

After the war, society's stoked-up patriotic fever for victory is replaced by relief ...
the moderately-involved citizens are 'war weary' and want to move on to more pleasant goals in their personal lives.

The solemn pledge to 'support the troops'
is neatly tucked away under the stone monuments to the Dead.


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Laatst aangepast door Yvonne op 31 Okt 2010 13:46, in totaal 1 keer bewerkt
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BerichtGeplaatst: 31 Okt 2010 13:43    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Great War battlefield survivors - Part 2

Shell Shock"

In his 1985 book War, Gwynne Dyer wrote:

"The U.S. Army concluded during World War II that almost every soldier, if he escaped death or wounds, would break down after 200 to 240 'combat days'; the British, who rotated their troops out of the front line more often, reckoned 400 days, but they agreed that breakdown was inevitable. The reason that only about one sixth of the casualties were psychiatric was that most combat troops did not survive long enough to go to pieces."

Dyer quotes a US investigation from 1946:

"There is no such thing as 'getting used to combat.' ... Each moment of combat imposes a strain so great that men will break down in direct relation to the intensity and duration of their exposure."

* * *

While military commanders employ the 'fighting system' of 'the men' by using an epidemiological rule of thumb to avoid collective mental breakdown ... the mental health care professionals who must deal with the psychological casualties would emphasize that there is considerable variation in the tolerance for stress when considering patients as individuals.

* * *

It is often stated that 'freedom isn't free', and 'its price is (apparently denominated in) blood'. However, it is facile to suggest that burials and bandages are the only human costs politicians need to consider when they elect to deploy soldiers for 'war-fighting' or high-stress missions.

Just as new soldiers have to be trained and conditioned to overcome their evolved human reluctance to kill other people ... we bipedal mammals have not evolved in environments where there were high-stress or combat conditions for hundreds of days within the span of a few years. Our ancient ancestors probably would have won or lost their fights in a short period of time ... or run away across the savannah, or into the jungle.

It is only the evolved intelligence and power of a modern society's principles, combined with emotion-suppressing military discipline ... maybe like cock-fighting enclosures built of ideas ... which could assemble groups of trained, own-species killers in matching costumes (soldiers) ... and force them to live in cold, disease-and-water-filled ditches for weeks on end (the Great War's Western Front).

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BerichtGeplaatst: 31 Okt 2010 13:47    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Great War battlefield survivors - Part 3


Mary Dexter's War - September 1914 to May 1918




Many, many people wrote books about their experiences in the Great War. As a war industry, it was probably out-grossed only by artillery shell production.

In England and North America ... and other places that took to book-learnin' ... people were eager to find out the exciting and terrible facts from people who had been there. In some cases, letters home were published posthumously while the war was still on. While letters did not have the same continuity and flow of an account written at a later date, they did chronicle the daily experiences, perceptions, and moods of the author.

Mary Dexter was born in 1886 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Her letters to her mother were edited and published by her mother - named only as ... 'her mother' (actually Emily Loud Sanford) in October 1918 as "In the Soldier's Service". A few more biographical notes appear at the end of the second page of "Mary Dexter's War" on this website.

"In the Soldier's Service" is divided into the following chapters: England, Belgium, Psycho-Analysis, France ( ' I'll try "Not A Country" for 1000, Alex ' ) There is no preface or further writing by Mary Dexter and one wonders to what extent she was involved in the decision to publish.

Dexter took a camera with her and a few of her many photos are included in the book. She presents a fresh, articulate, non-military perspective of the war and the people involved in it. She records an interesting and diverse variety of wartime patient care environments.


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BerichtGeplaatst: 31 Okt 2010 13:48    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Great War battlefield survivors - Part 4


Mary Dexter's War - September 1914 to May 1918



'Psycho-Analysis' - The Medico-Psychological Clinic, London

In November 1916, Dexter writes:

" It is just a month today since I began my course at the Clinic (her mother adds 'Medico-Psychological Clinic'). The lectures are even stiffer than I expected - but so interesting it is worth the hard work. It is curious to think that a year ago I had never heard of Applied Psychology - and now I would not go back to nursing for worlds! I am awfully looking forward to having patients of my own - Dr. Murray thinks I can by Christmas-time.

" Some of our lectures have been on 'The Psychology of the First Five Years'. One subject was 'The Subnormal Child' - another 'The Psychology of Children's Misdemeanors'.

" The fundamental cause of war-shock goes back to childhood. The reason why one man gets it and another, under the same conditions, doesn't, is owing to some streak of weakness in the subconsciousness, dating back to conditions of early infancy. Our doctors are not expecting to attempt a complete cure for every war-shock patient who comes to the Clinic - that would involve a course of thorough-going analysis, which would take too long. In many cases it is much better to do a temporary cure in a quick way - and unless the previous causes of war-shock are renewed, it may prove a permanent cure. You understand that the cases of war-shock we shall deal with will often be men who have never been wounded.

" Dr. Stoddart [an MD] lectured on the Neuropathic Patient the other day. We are having a course on the 'Psychology of the Subconscious' and one on 'Normal Psychology' from reflexes and sensori-motor arcs to the measurement of mental ability, etc., and the relation of Social Psychology to Individual Psychology. Also some lectures by Dr. Mackintosh on 'Type and Temperament' and 'Heredity'."


In January 1917, Dexter has passed Normal Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Biology, and has more courses ahead :

" I have three patients now at the Clinic. Also a private case which I am taking under Dr. Murray ..."

" I go now to Dr. Murray twice a week for my own [control] analysis, which I want to get through as much as is possible this winter. Otherwise things would come cropping up later. Also it is very helpful to me to see her in connection with my patients. Every student has to be analyzed before being allowed to become an analyst. No amount of study can take the place of it - it is a necessary part of the course."

In early February 1917 she writes about a 21 year old Gallipoli shell-shock patient:

" I have been trying the word-reaction tests with him - and got exactly the results I knew I would. I made up the lists of words, with words sandwiched in which have to do with his Gallipoli experiences. At any word, such as rifle, sand, ship, waves, bugle, tent, shells, etc. there is no reaction-word at all - his mind is a dead blank."

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