Mental Health in the Military During World War Two

At the time of World War Two, 1930 to 1945, physiatrists used a plethora of terms to describe the mental illnesses within the United States military. At the time, throughout the 1900s, terms such as battle fatigue, shell shock, and combat stress reaction were all separate diagnoses. Today, they all operate under the encompassing term of “Combat Stress reaction” or CSR. There were other diagnoses like shell shock that was used separately, but is now considered to fit under the umbrella of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Then there are the separate, more modern diagnoses, of depression and dysphoria. All of these mental illnesses portray their own symptoms that affected enlisted and veteran men.

Mental Illness was treated as an unspeakable social taboo in the 1900s, and especially affected not only men but military members disproportionately. Creating an extensive research into some specific illnesses that enlisted men faced during World War Two reveals these troubles. Military Personnel faced various illnesses within the service and when returning home; there is a clear connection between their affected mental states and the suicide rates of service members.


Isabel J