Speaker: Professor Edgar Jones (King’s College London)

The two World Wars intensified the study of the psychological effects of combat for both soldiers and civilians. This talk explores how health-care professionals in the UK interpreted psychosomatic disorders such as shell shock, battle exhaustion and traumatic neurasthenia, in the context of psychiatric research and the new forms of warfare. Civilians and emergency workers were exposed to extreme stress during air-raids forcing doctors to weigh up the causal contribution of personality versus traumatic events.