Held at the British Academy on July 9 2014, this lecture looked at shell shock as a new category of emotional response to the terrors of modern war, arising not from individual war experience, but from the monstrous character of the war itself.
Professor Jay Winter contends that the number of men suffering from psychological disabilities after the First World War has been significantly underestimated. As much as 25 per cent of all men wounded in the Great War had psychological or neurological injuries. The significant experiences of this vast army of disabled soldiers - perhaps 5-6 million men among the 35 million who were injured or fell ill during the conflict - must now, in this centenary year, be reconsidered.
About the speaker: Jay Winter is Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University. He has published widely on the history of the First World War and its impact on the 20th century and is one of the founders of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, the international museum of the Great War in Péronne, France. He is the author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (1995).