What role did "shell shock" play in the casualties of WWI?

Expert Answers info

belarafon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write2,867 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

"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...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 452 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial