Mental Illness, Masculinity, and the Australian Soldier: Military Psychiatry from South Africa to the First World War

TitleMental Illness, Masculinity, and the Australian Soldier: Military Psychiatry from South Africa to the First World War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKarageorgos, Effie
JournalHealth & History: Journal of the Australian & New Zealand Society for the History of Medicine
Volume20
Issue2
Start Page10
Pagination10-29
Date Published11/2018
Abstract

Australian histories of military psychiatry position the First World War as a starting point, due to the unprecedented incidence of shell shock. However, military-medical authorities encountered psychological casualties of war as early as the South African War (1899--1902) and links exist between the wars in terms of official attitudes towards psychiatric disorders. During both conflicts, many physicians believed that ideal Australian masculinity precludedpsychological trauma, so emphasised physical diagnosis and treatments, as well as the role of morality in war neurosis. This article positions military psychiatry as an evolving practice, analysing the parallels between the wars with newly uncovered evidence from the South African conflict. These findings necessitate a reconfiguration of the Australian historiography of military psychiatry to include the South African conflict.

Short TitleHealth & History: Journal of the Australian & New Zealand Society for the History of Medicine
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