WWI Poetry

Poets have long used their poignant words to laud, memorialize, describe, and decry war. WWI poets were no different; it was the war itself which was different, with a record around 10 million soldiers dead. This was the War to End All Wars, a rather poetic statement in and of itself, albeit one proved untrue…

From Adversity Comes Art

    Some lasting artwork came from victims of shellshock undergoing occupational therapy treatment. The famous wartime poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon wrote for the Hydra, the inpatient magazine at the Craiglockhart War Hospital, while suffering from shellshock. The practice of encouraging sufferers of PTSD to create things continues in the form of art…

How Have We Changed?

Soldiers who displayed signs of physical distress as a result of the stress of combat were not always treated kindly. Many were tried and executed for desertion. In 2006, a blanket posthumous pardon was issued for British soldiers who were shot at dawn for cowardice or desertion. How have our views on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder changed…

First US Troops Arrive in France, 26 June 1917

The arrival in France of General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing in 1917 to lead American Expeditionary Forces. From L’Illustration, 1917.  Design Pics Historical Collection / Universal Images Group During World War I, the first 14,000 U.S. infantry troops land in France at the port of Saint Nazaire. The landing site had been kept secret…

Psychological War Wounds

  The concept of psychological war wounds was new at the time, and doctors scrambled to find effective treatments for their charges. Major Arthur Hurst pioneered a regimen for sufferers of shellshock at Netley Hospital that boasted a 90 percent success rate. A major aspect of his treatment was occupational therapy, and his charges worked…

Crafting and Shellshock

    Not long after the fighting started, soldiers began showing symptoms of a strange new affliction. They became disoriented and confused. They developed tremors, limping, and paralysis that had no physical cause. At first, commands assumed that the men were trying to escape the fighting, and many were charged with cowardice or malingering and punished. Some…

June 5, 1917 : Great National Lottery Day

In spite of all the stratagems to convince men to voluntarily join the War effort, there were not enough new recruits to meet the demand. To solve this, Congress passed the Selective Service Act of 1917 on May 18, 1917. The act required that all men between the ages of 21-30 must register though later with…