By Fiona Reid
Shell surprise accomplished a really excessive political profile within the years 1919-1922. guides starting from John Bull to the Morning submit insisted that shell-shocked males might be taken care of with admire, and the Minister for wellbeing and fitness introduced that the govt. was once devoted to keeping shell-shocked males from the stigma of lunacy. but while, many mentally-wounded veterans have been suffering from a pension approach which used to be failing to offer them safety. it really is this clash among the political rhetoric and the lived event of many wounded veterans that explains why the govt was once not able to dispel the detrimental wartime overview of professional shell-shock remedy. there has been additionally a true clash among the government's desire to omit shell surprise when memorialising the battle and remembering the conflict lifeless. because of those contradictions, shell surprise was once now not forgotten, to the contrary, the shell-shocked soldier fast grew to symbolise the confusions and inconsistencies of the good conflict.
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Additional resources for Broken Men: Shell Shock, Treatment and Recovery in Britain 1914-30
Shell shock is now widely used as a term to describe the condition of men who had suffered from some kind of madness or nervous breakdown as a result of combat, or more particularly by the emotions of combat. Shell shock is not madness, but shell-shocked men were often described as such, and a small number of men were eventually conﬁned to local lunatic asylums – the traditional home of ‘the mad’. However, neither madness nor nervous breakdown are unproblematic terms in themselves, and the extent to which mental illness is partially or wholly an organic condition was, and still is, a highly debateable issue.
There has been a strong trend towards positing a gendered analysis of shell shock as a medical complaint. 76 There were clearly cultural difﬁculties inherent in the very nature of a soldier suffering from a nervous breakdown because military values were linked with the masculine traits of bravery and self-control under adverse circumstances, and it was self-control that appeared to be so conspicuously lacking in cases of shell shock. Nevertheless, the situation was more complex than many gendered analyses allow.
At this point it is pertinent to ask why shell shock was such a difﬁcult condition to diagnose even after it had been made quite clear that war neurosis was a psychological response to the obvious strains of trench warfare, just as nervous breakdown was often a psychological response to the strains of civilian life. As has already been noted, cases of shell shock were roughly divided into categories deﬁned as either hysteric or neurasthenic, a medical division that broadly reﬂected the class-based military hierarchy.