During the latter half of the 1910s, the world was plunged into an era of misery.
World War I (1914 – 1918) destroyed life and property on a massive scale.
65 million people joined the fight, despite grim survival odds. A World War I soldier stood a roughly 50/50 chance of returning home alive, with their physical health intact:
- Est. 9.5 million troops killed (roughly the combined populations of present-day Denmark and Morocco)
- Est. 21 million troops injured
- Est. 6.5 million civilians killed during the war (roughly the combined populations of present-day Switzerland and Chile)
Those lucky enough to survive the conflict and return home were rarely unscathed: missing eyes and limbs were very common, as were burns. Yet shell shock – the significant psychological reaction to the terrors of the front – was not considered to be an injury and is excluded from statistics.
Soldiers who suffered from shell shock often did not receive the treatment they needed because the problem was not understood – even by most doctors. This short, disturbing video highlights the plight of men returning from the front with this terrible problem.