Shell shocked soldier, 1916

A shell startled a soldier in a trench during the Battle of Fleurs-Corslet during the Somme Offensive in September 1916. His eyes express the madness of war. The soldier seems to have gone mad with what he has seen.

In that time everything that has been raised to work within him, the social structures that make up every part of his life, just torn apart and became nothing, and he's lying there, in a ditch. Has fallen, fearing for his life, hearing and seeing death all around him, his whole psyche shattered. Even more scary when you think people didn't smile for pictures then.

The circumstances of the First World War pushed hundreds of thousands of men beyond the limits of human endurance. They encountered weapons that were deprived of any opportunity for valor or courage or even military prowess because the artillery weapons that caused 60 percent of all casualties were miles away from the battlefield. Were.

The term "shell shock" was coined by the soldiers themselves. Symptoms include fatigue, tremors, confusion, nightmares and impaired vision and hearing, inability to reason, hysterical paralysis, and a dazed thousand-yard stare is also typical.

It was often diagnosed when a soldier was unable to function and no obvious cause could be identified. "Simply put, when even the most obedient soldier fired enough shells at him, without any means of fighting, he often lost his self-restraint".

While the term shell shock is no longer used in medical or military discourse, it has entered the popular imagination and memory and is often recognized as the signature injury of war.

Shell shock would later be called "war neurosis". It is similar to, but not identical to, PTSD. As in the case of PTSD, mental stress leads to dramatic physical difficulties.

Some victims of shell shock have been prosecuted and even executed for military crimes, including desertion and cowardice. While it was recognized that the stress of war could cause men to break up, a lasting episode could be seen as a symptom of an inherent lack of character.

For example, in his testimony to the post-war Royal Commission investigating shell-shock, Lord Gort stated that shell-shock was a weakness and was not found in "good" units.

It's not clear how many shell-shocked and cowardly or guilty of abandonment when they were actually insane. The British government later pardoned the soldiers killed for cowardice and deportation, thus officially recognizing the shell shock effect of the war on its soldiers.

The Battle of Fleurs-Corslet (15–22 September 1916) was fought during the Battle of the Somme in France, against the German First Army, by the French Sixth Army and the British Fourth Army and Reserve Army during World War I.

The Anglo-French attack of 15 September began the third period of the Battle of the Somme, but until its conclusion on 22 September, the strategic objective of a decisive victory was not achieved.

The German front divisions suffered several casualties and the capture of the villages of Courslet, Martinpuich and Flers was a considerable strategic victory, but the German defensive success on the British right made the exploitation and use of cavalry impossible.

Tanks were used in combat for the first time in history, and the Canadian Corps and New Zealand Division fought on the Somme for the first time. On 16 September, Jagdstaffel 2, a specialist fighter squadron, introduced five new Albatros D.

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