PTSD/Battle Fatigue in WWII and after

Discussion in 'General' started by PearlJamNoCode, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. PearlJamNoCode

    PearlJamNoCode Senior Member

    I'm writing a paper entitled "PTSD in the United States Military from WWII to Iraq". I would like to know if anyone here knows any articles, websites, books, or other academic sources I could use for my research. It doesn't have to be a very long paper (only 5-7 pages), but I would like some good info on WWII and Korea especially, since PTSD was finally recognized and somewhat treated as veterans were coming back from Vietnam.

    Thanks for any info!
  2. Cpl Rootes

    Cpl Rootes Senior Member

  3. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    Wiki is a bit taboo in academic cirlces corp.
    Jam, a good tip I was given by alecturer in my first semester was this:

    Go to Google.

    Type in your search term, in this case PTSD > WW2 or similar.

    leave a single space, then type .pdf so your search will look like PTSD > WW2 .pdf

    This will bring up lots of papers and journal articles, but be aware you'll probably have to wade through on average 80+ pages to find half a dozen papers. Do you also have access to something like ATHENS, a journal search machine through your college? Are you at college for this?
  4. Cpl Rootes

    Cpl Rootes Senior Member

    Wiki is a bit taboo in academic cirlces corp.
    Jam, a good tip I was given by alecturer in my first semester was this:

    Yeh I know, but it's always good to look at, even though it is unmoderated so it can contain anything
  5. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Senior Member

    Here are a couple from WW 2:

    Beebe, Gilbert W. & Appel, John W. Variation in Psychological Tolerance to Ground Combat in World War II, National Academy of Sciences contract DA-49-007-MD-172, Medical Research and Development Board, Office of the Surgeon General, Washington DC, 1958
    Beebe, Gilbert W. & DeBakey, Michael E. Battle Casualties: Incidence, Mortality and, Logistic Considerations, Charles C. Thomas Co., Springfield, IL, 1953

    I also suggest reading the chapters in Burkett's book Stolen Valor. He has quite a bit on the rather large fraud industry that has sprung up around PTSD.
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The Sharp End by John Ellis I found a good read regards this subject.
    Been awhile since I read it though.
  7. PearlJamNoCode

    PearlJamNoCode Senior Member

    Well here's the rough draft for the WWII section of my paper... please feel free to tell me what you think or what needs work...

    During the Second World War, symptoms of PTSD were often described as “shell-shock”, battle fatigue, and combat exhaustion. It occurred mostly at two specific periods; as troops first entered combat, and in troops who had faced “prolonged and constant fighting” (Embrey 2000). Irritability, carelessness, and finally apathy were the symptoms of the GIs who had been on the line for an extended period.
    Many men suffering from battle fatigue were sent to the rear to work supply lines or were sent to the hospital. Ninety percent of reported “exhaustion” cases in the ETO were restored to some form of duty, the largest majority of those were sent back to the battle lines (Ambrose 1997, p. 330). Troops fighting in Europe spent much of their time living in self-dug coffin-sized foxholes by themselves or with one or two members of their company. Their entire world was inside that foxhole; their comrades were in their own foxholes many yards to their left and right, and no one dared stand up or yell to the others for fear of being zeroed-in. This isolation was something unknown to the WWI trench fighter who could see the other members of his squad or company fighting alongside him. During shelling all the men could do was stay low and wait for it to end. The situation for the crews of the bombers was a bit different. Unlike the infantrymen who did not know when, or even if, there would be action, these airmen went right into the heart of it, their mere presence in the air brought flak and fighters. The stress began as early as their pre-flight briefing, which in the case of one navigator left him paralyzed by fear (Ambrose 1997, p. 295). These extremely stressful situations led troops to nearly abandon all hope of survival, and it was common for troops to celebrate an injury, and to be envious of the dead or to be joyful for a fallen comrade, for they were at peace. One soldier, after getting his hand blown off by German artillery in the Ardennes, was quoted as cheering, “Thank you God! I’m going home!” (Ambrose 1997, p. 262).
    The practices and policies of the United States Army during the Second World War only intensified the stress and increased the likelihood of PTSD. Once divisions were placed on the front line, they remained there, being replenished with “replacements” after a large number of troops were killed. Most infantry divisions suffered a turnover rate of over 150%, with some divisions having to replace over 250% of their men (Ambrose 1997, p. 280-3). These replacements usually suffered from symptoms due to their lack of training, complete lack of unit cohesion (replacements were assigned to companies individually as needed), and shock. Many hardened combat veterans, who had been on the line since D-Day or whenever their division had entered the war, did not take to the replacements very well; they were killed very often, and the vets did not want to bother to get close with them.
    It was only after WWII, but luckily before Korea, than the Army revisited its replacement procedures in order to prevent the increasing number and severity of combat fatigue cases. The Army realized that preventing combat exhaustion was easier than treating it and suggested the following: Good leadership played a major role in preventing combat exhaustion, replacements should be indoctrinated with the esprit-de-corps in rear areas before being sent into combat, unit rotation and short rest and relaxation breaks were needed (Embrey 2000).
    Unfortunately, these changes came too late for many men. According to one study, about 11% of veterans who served overseas reported PTSD symptoms (Lee et al, 1995, p. 519). Although now many of these men have passed away, and the one’s who are left may not completely fit the DSM criteria for PTSD diagnosis, they still carry with them the memories of combat. As Sgt. George Thompson of the 84th division recounts, “…when I’m home by myself, at nighttime, it all comes back. I’ll hear the noise, the shells exploding. I stay awake thinking about it. I guess it comes from being in a foxhole…” (Ambrose 1997, p. 272).
  8. PearlJamNoCode

    PearlJamNoCode Senior Member

    Yesterday I received an A (100%) on my final draft of this paper.


    Attached Files:

  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Smart arse!
    Well done old chap.
  10. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Congrats pjnc. Well deserved grade. I enjoyed reading that.
  11. PearlJamNoCode

    PearlJamNoCode Senior Member

    Thanks for reading and the compliments :)

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