"Shell Shock" is the term describing the effect of war's brutality and pain on the otherwise-healthy human mind. Soldiers who signed up for war -- or in the case of World War I, were drafted -- were usually of sound mind before entering into service. After experiencing warfare up close, soldiers often had extreme stress reactions, ranging from mental breakdowns (amnesia, startle reactions) to violence against friends and non-injury physical ailments (tinnitus, sensory loss). During WWI, these symptoms became very common and are seen as a "classic" injury suffered during the war; ground troops were subjected to constant shelling from air and ground artillery and the symptoms were at first thought to be entirely physical, a response to the concussive and auditory effects of the shelling. Meanwhile, soldiers continued to suffer from shell shock effects, even those who were not close to bombed areas; diagnoses started to focus on the mental and emotional effects, rather than the physical effects.
These effects remained with soldiers even after the war, leading in many cases to post-traumatic stress disorder. Soldiers who returned from war, even if they weren't physically injured, were often unable to return to their original lives, and were referred to as the "Lost Generation." Because of this, the death-toll of WWI and the casualty-toll are significantly different; many more people were affected by the war than were directly killed by it.