Other Fronts and Conflicts in German Nursing Accounts

TitleOther Fronts and Conflicts in German Nursing Accounts
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsHigonnet, Margaret R.
JournalJournal of War & Culture Studies
Date Published9/2018

Conflicts in German-speaking nurses’ accounts of the Great War point to the stress of their service in Finland, Russia, and Poland, as well as Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia. Ranging from a seventeen-year-old volunteer to a trained middle-aged professional, these women worked first in the rear echelon, then also in field hospitals, sanitary trains and prison camps. Their diaries and letters express three kinds of conflict in line with their dedication to their soldier-brothers. Their hostility to enemy culture pulled against their medical duty of neutrality. Even more strikingly they responded with irony and defiance to institutional and organizational challenges they had to meet, as they assumed new roles that gave them self-confidence. Dealings with lazy or corrupt medical superiors, the military, and prostitutes tested their medical and diplomatic skills and elicited powerfully ironic indictments. Facing the contradictions of military medicine, nurses voiced inner conflicts that point toward trauma. [author]

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