In the anticipation of conflict, as well as during the fighting itself and afterward, there have long been known to be psychological effects on the people–both combatants and noncombatants–affected by conflict.
In the anticipation of conflict, as well as during the fighting itself and afterward, there have long been known to be psychological effects on the people–both combatants and noncombatants–affected by conflict. In the ancient and medieval world, this was little understood, because there was not much understanding of the workings of the mind or of mental illnesses, although the effect of the nature of the cruelty in war would have led to
The topic of war’s pscyhological impact took on significance gradually over the course of the twentieth century. During World Wars I and II, many instances of
In the ancient world–although little was known about the workings of the mind–enthusiasms, shock, and
Even though there are many examples of wanton cruelty, such as the brutal
Certainly Caesar and the Romans also understood the need to terrify people who opposed the Romans, and they did this by their triumphal marches through Rome, after which large numbers of captives were murdered in public, while some of their number were allowed to return home to tell people of the horrors they had seen and the mighty power of the Romans. Similar tactics would be followed by countless armies throughout history.
In Europe during the “Dark Ages” and the later medieval period, there are many examples of wanton cruelty to terrorize people. During the
Since ancient times, people had lived in
Hatred of people from rival kingdoms was combined with the concept of
During the Renaissance, there were efforts on the part of theorists and philosophers to rationalize and advocate this use of terror in war.
Throughout western Russia, in Flanders, and in many other parts of the world, fortified homesteads and farms were the norm until the early twentieth century. This sense of being potentially under attack at any time did much to affect the lives and lifestyles of these populations, who spent much of their lives worrying about when the next war might erupt. The French writer Guy de Maupassant’s short story about the elderly lady trapping a Prussian soldier in her cellar reflects the effects such wars had on ordinary people.
As for the soldiers themselves, until World War I little was known about what became called
Lebanese-born James Thaber listens to President Dwight D. Eisenhower announce that he is sending U.S. troops to Lebanon in July, 1958; atop Thaber’s radio is a picture of his son, a recent recruit into the U.S. Army.
The idea of
After World War I, many of the soldiers returned to their homes shattered by what they had seen. With shell shock and trauma, many returned to
World War II (1939-1945)
After World War II, there were wars throughout the world that proved unpopular in their home countries. Some veterans from the
However, what distinguishes more recent conflicts is that there have been many attempts to deal with the traumas experienced by their veterans. Not only has individual treatment become available to many soldiers, but there are also attempts to establish a “fair” end to any conflict. From ancient times, the end of a conflict meant that the victors were allowed to exert vengeance on the losers, in any way they wanted. In 1975, for example, when the
Allison, William, and John Fairley. The Monocled Mutineer. London: Quartet Books, 1978. Explores the life of Percy Toplis, a World War I deserter from the British army. Cosmopoulos, Michael B., ed. Experiencing War: Trauma and Society from Ancient Greece to the Iraq War. Chicago: Ares, 2007. Presents ten academic papers from a 2004 conference, with the goal of raising awareness of the catastrophic impact of war and violence on individuals and society as a whole. Egendorf, Arthur. Healing from the War: Trauma and Transformation After Vietnam. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. Written by a psychologist and Vietnam veteran. Egendorf explores what is necessary for healing to take place for Vietnam vets to overcome their memories of the war. Haythornthwaite, Philip J. The World War I Source Book. London: Arms and Armour, 1992. A good general coverage of World War I, looking at the impact that weapons and conditions on the front had on soldiers. Krippner, Stanley, and Teresa M. McIntyre. The Psychological Impact of War Trauma on Civilians: An International Perspective. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003. As the evolution of warfare in the twentieth century increasingly impacted civilian populations, questions began to arise as to how best to treat their illnesses, which can be very different from those experienced by soldiers.
Biology, Chemistry, and War
Medicine on the Battlefield