“Shell Shock During World War One”

The Great War, later renamed World War One, was mainly a battle between the German and the English troops. Millions of soldiers died in the trenches. Others suffered from severe psychologically traumas. The majority of the soldiers, who suffered from psychologically traumas, were never able to return to the battle field. Experts were desperate to find a cure, but the regeneration hospitals remained unsuccessful during the war. Many of the soldiers, who suffered from shell shock, were haunted by the cruel memories for a lifetime.

The text, “Shell Shock during World War One” is an article published by BBC-history in 2011. The author of the text is Professor Joana Bourke. The intended audience is perhaps those, who are generally interested in history and also those, whose specific focus is World War One. The medium, in which the text occurs, is an online website founded by BBC. The general purpose of the text is to enlighten and expository the reader. There’s no sign of use of persuasion in the article. As the headliner emphasises the article is about shell shock during World War One.

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During the text we follow one of the British soldiers called Arthur Hubbard, who suffered from shell shock. The article focus on the mental traumas, which many soldier experienced during World War. The article deals with medical symptoms, how to define trauma and furthermore how the traumas may be cured. The argumentation plays a minor role in the article. As mentioned before the articles intention is neither to persuade nor propagandize. The article is a historically exposition. The author makes a statement, that the psychological traumas played a major role during World War One.

The statement is not presented as openly and directly as if it was a clear argument. She emphasises, that the psychological traumas could happen to anybody, because every person has a “breaking point”. Furthermore it is difficult to define trauma and find a solution to the suffering. “During World War One, four-fifths of men who had entered hospital suffering shell shock were never able to return to military duty” The author claims are supported by statistics and quotes from the war itself “Once wounds were excluded, emotional disorders were responsible for one-third of all discharges”.

She also refers to examinations made by experts of that time to support her main statement “What medical officers quickly realised was that everyone had a ‘breaking point’: weak or strong, courageous or cowardly – war frightened everyone witless”. Millions of British and German, both soldiers and officers, suffered from shell shock and a possible cure was unrealistic. Generally the language is really objective. Very few adjectives are used in the article, which makes it hard to determine, what the arguments are and how they are presented.

Overall the language is rather easy to understand. Even though the main part of the article is rather easy to understand the quotes from World War One, which she emphasises a lot in the article, are difficult to understand, because the way of writing has changed over the decades and is therefore different to ours. I really enjoyed reading the article. It gives a huge amount of information and insight knowledge concerning the war. She emphasises personal experiences and quotes from World War One, which makes it easier to relate to.

The article is very well-written, because it varies between short and long sentences, which gives the article variation and dynamic. I think that the article gives a realistic and objective description of World War One. The aim of the article is neither to persuade nor propagandize and therefore I believe it a reliable source if you want to seek information about Shell Shock during World War One. The article doesn’t emphasis the problems, which occurred when the soldiers went to regeneration.

A few things I would like to point out in the article are the conflict defining when a soldier was ready to return to the battlefield after regeneration at the hospital. The conflict between the soldiers, who wanted to return to the battlefield and the doctors, who disagreed with them is not pointed out. But perhaps it would make the article more subjective, which clearly is not the intention of the author. I would like to relate this article to a World War One poem called “The Happy Warrior” written by Herbert Read. His wild heart beats with painful sobs, His strin’d hands clench an ice-cold rifle, His aching jaws grip a hot parch’d tongue, His wide eyes search unconsciously. He cannot shriek. Bloody saliva Dribbles down his shapeless jacket. I saw him stab And stab again A well-killed Boche. This is the happy warrior, This is he… ” It describes the situations the British and German soldiers experienced in the trenches. The poem describes the horrible scenarios of the trenches, which made tons of soldiers physically marked for the rest of their lives.

By emphasizing the war poem it becomes easier to relate to the cruel experiences the soldiers experienced during World War One. When you have witnessed such gruesome things you reach the “breaking point” as the article emphasises and you become mentally ill. The soldier, who is described in the poem, has probably reached the “breaking point. He will be sent to a regeneration hospital, where the memories of the horrible war will haunt him forever. He will perhaps never return to the battlefield again.

Overall the context of the article is very objective and very few adjectives are used. The way the quotes from the war itself gives an insight knowledge, which can be used to establish a realistic image of that time. By quoting the author successfully emphasises personal experiences during World War One, which makes the article interesting to read. The mix between the objective exposition and the subjective quotations from the individuals, who experienced World War One, makes the article historical reliable and gives insight knowledge as well.

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