Shell Shock

Shell shock was a huge thing in WW1. Shell shock, as it was called then was noticed since antiquity. It also goes by the name of Soldier’s Heart, Combat Fatigue and currently PTSD. Shell shock was prominent in WW1 because that’s when it made it’s first big impact in society. Some say that the new modern warfare worsened mental decay in combat because that the soldiers could never really rest because of the new weapons and the nature of trench warfare. Even when in a trench, the soldiers had to watch out for shelling. At the time, people thought that shell shock was a physical neurological problem caused by constant shelling and being buried by explosions. Many cases then reported unexplained physical symptoms like paralyzed limbs, loss of sight and upset stomachs among other things. Those strange symptoms seemed to have been somatic in nature. Many believed shell shock to have been cowardice and malingering and many were shot for cowardice and desertion because of shell shock. Amazingly, though, some hospitals, like Netley in England were set up to handle shell shock cases. Some therapies ranged from traditional therapy from a psychologist, to hypnosis and electro-shock therapy. One person even made a series of videos called “War Neuroses” on shell shocked patients. Today, shell shock is recognized as PTSD and the current military has acknowledged the need to de-stigmatize it and take it seriously as a real condition. England gave a posthumous pardon to the soldiers shot for desertion due to shell shock.


About History Is Interesting

I like ancient and medieval history!
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One Response to Shell Shock

  1. c says:

    How crazy to be shot for ptsd. We luckily have come a long way since then. a posthumous pardon doesn’t do a soldier much good.


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