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About this book

This book provides an overview of the history of allied medicine in the Great War. Based on both primary research and secondary literature, it offers a clear and concise account of medical treatment during the Great War, exploring the advancements of the period and the human experience of the medical war.As well as covering European medical work, the book draws on a range of American primary sources and texts in order to address the American medical experience of the First World War, an area that has been neglected by the existing literature.

This is an accessible exploration of the medical war, the people involved, and its impact. It is an essential text for undergraduate and postgraduate students of History taking courses on medicine in war, the history of medicine or the Great War.

Table of Contents

1. The Great War

Abstract
The Great War. The war to end all wars. Such brief statements are accurate and simple, but these also speak to the shock and disillusionment that World War I created. People needed these phrases to reflect the momentous nature of the conflict that upended their worlds. The concept of war changed from one focused on patriotism and heroism, though it was always darker than that. Instead, it became viewed as a man-made encounter that fosters brutality, suffering, and inhumanity. It was a beast that seemed to feed on itself, growing more difficult to stop as the months passed on. At no time was this ever more true than during the years of 1914 to 1918, when the Great War dominated world affairs. It was impossible to contemplate another war after this one.
Jennifer S. Lawrence

2. Allied Medical Innovations

Abstract
As the war dragged on for four long years, hundreds of thousands of soldiers among the Allied Armies were given medical care. With the slew of patients, medical innovations and advancements during World War I occurred continuously throughout the conflict. World War I is often cited as the dividing line for the beginning of the “modern” world. In the case of surgery, this is an applicable statement. The doctors in the war greatly benefited from the knowledge gleaned in the past decades that explained germs and bacteriology and from inventions such as the X-ray machine, but the war made what are now recognized as modern surgical techniques and treatments to be put into place uniformly in the treatment of patients.
Jennifer S. Lawrence

3. Medical Personnel

Abstract
Medical staff on the Western Front served as a key ingredient in keeping the soldiers fighting. The organization of the medical care that was offered came from both military medical departments and volunteer outfits that mobilized as soon as the war started. The French and the British obviously had the most established presences as the war progressed, but a steady stream of volunteers also came from across the Atlantic, even in the early months before more formal structures were in place. Many categories of positions existed within the medical community and, as the previous chapter discussed, increasing specializations. Further cadres of nurses, stretcher-bearers, ambulance drivers, and the like all performed work to assist patients. Without all of their efforts, the armies could not have stayed intact and continued to fight.
Jennifer S. Lawrence

4. Soldiers and the Medical Front

Abstract
It was the rare soldier who never found himself in need of some sort of medical care during the war. If he was lucky, it might only be a scrape that needed a bandage that would bring him to a dressing station. But this would have been lucky indeed. In battle after battle, the casualty numbers demonstrate the great injuries the Allied armies suffered. Even when there was not an actual battle, the artillery shelling regularly inflicted wounds on the entrenched men. These might be shrapnel wounds, concussions, or all manner of cuts and bruises. Machine gun fire was also a daily occurrence, causing bullet wounds to whatever flesh might be exposed to the enemy. And then during battle, the injuries became more numerous and often more lethal. As such, soldiers became increasingly exposed to the medical front of World War I as the years went on.
Jennifer S. Lawrence

5. Effects of the Medical Front in the Great War

Abstract
As the war wrapped up, doctors and other caregivers turned their time and thoughts to other concerns than the daily grind of work. The outbreak of influenza was ratcheting up and certainly occupied the focus of many in these waning months of the conflict; it would continue to do so into the early part of 1919. Some looked forward to demobilization after the armistice, hoping that the peace talks in 1919 would bring about a period of harmony after these long years of fighting. Soldiers excitedly looked forward to returning to their families and homes. Others approached the future with questions arising out of their time on the front. How could the new medical practices honed during the war be taken back to the civilian side of medicine? The success of the civilian medical endeavors was not simply proving the merit of the medical innovations and knowledge from the war; it also involved often personnel effort by individual physicians to spread that learning themselves.
Jennifer S. Lawrence
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