Defining Soldier’s Wounds: U.S. Shell Shock in International Perspective

Anessa C. Stagner
UC Irvine

Defining “Soldier’s Wounds: U.S. Shell shock in International Perspective” places the history of U.S. shell shock in an international perspective. The project examines the interests of government officials, doctors, and civilians as they debated how to treat shell-shocked soldiers and investigated the effectiveness of their policies. It draws on these discussions in medicine as well as those in popular culture to reveal the ambiguity that characterized medical definitions of shell shock and the ways in which discussions of shell shock spoke to larger debates over the medical treatment of veterans, the meaning of physical and mental illness, and the government’s social responsibility to care for its citizens’ health.