Discover the traumatic effects of war on those that survive it, from the soldiers on the front lines to the civilians at home.
2014 marks the centennial year of the beginning of the First World War. The war began in the Balkans, but it soon spread to become a European conflict, and developed into a world war. It was a war of unprecedented scale and brutality, with countless casualties. It also left a poisonous legacy for the 20th century and beyond, and many of the issues that were left unresolved in 1918 would lead to another world war in 1939. 1914-1918 was a period in history that has proved provocative and culturally resonant for the last hundred years.
You will study the subject of physical and mental trauma, its treatments and its representation. You will focus not only on the trauma experienced by combatants but also the effects of the First World War on civilian populations. In this three-week course, you will discover just how devastating the effects of the First World War were in terms of casualties across the many combatant nations and look in depth at the problem of ‘shell shock’ and how deeply it affected the lives of those who lived through it. You will also develop the skills to carry out your own independent research.
The war was not only experienced on the battlefield, however, and you’ll explore the many and varied ways in which civilians’ lives were affected by it, for example in the way combatant casualties affected the lives of loved ones who were left behind.
Finally, you’ll be looking at how the trauma of the First World War has been depicted in art and literature and see what has been learned from the past in the modern day treatment of combat stress reactions and PTSD.
This course has been produced in collaboration with the BBC, using archive material you will see how representations of trauma have changed over the years.
This course is part of a series designed in partnership with the BBC to commemorate the war.
World War 1: Paris 1919 – A New World Order? (University of Glasgow)
World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age (University of Birmingham)
World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism (University of Leeds)
This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in the the First World War. Some prior knowledge of the history involved may be helpful in understanding the context of some elements of the course, but is not necessary.