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These haunting films portray the profound psychological effects of trench warfare in a conflict in which 56% of troops would end up killed or wounded (compared to a 4.5% military fatality rate in the Second World War).The films depict individual cases of shell-shocked “other ranker” soldiers demonstrating their symptoms; occasionally the films cut to a shot of the soldier much improved after a course of treatment.
Kaes: I have noticed that most of the recent books and exhibitions on the Great War are more concerned with military and diplomatic history than with cultural history.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular war books in 2014 have focused on 1914 and the origins and multiple causes of a global war that mobilised 65 million men worldwide, claimed nine million lives, and resulted in the collapse of four empires.
The following conversation with Kaes comes as NECSUS contemplates the relationship between war and media. We are now in the middle of the centenary of the First World War, and the media coverage is impressive: archival sources, retrospectives, books, and research projects are emerging all over Europe and elsewhere.
What is your opinion on this proliferation of events and materials, and what is the place of cinema in such a commemorative scene?
There is no film of Preston’s recovery, if there ever was one.
Preston, Meek and their cohort had more to deal with than their psychological troubles.Wikipedia: Combat stress reaction (World War One) In this Mind Hacks post on the Wellcome films, Matt Webb explains some of the differences between “shell shock” and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Cite : Perspectives on 'shell shock' (p=1391) by Fionnuala Barrett ( licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales ( Reuse : I am a master's student of nineteenth-century English literature at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.Recently, Kaes published a book on the legacy of the First World War in Weimar cinema: (Princeton University Press, 2009).This book accounts for a complex network of discourses that the war elicited – psychiatric, memorial, racial, mythic, allegorical – and makes the argument that war trauma lies at the center of four masterpieces of Weimar cinema: (Lang, 1927).‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.Anton Kaes is the Class of 1939 Professor of German and Film & Media at the University of California, Berkeley.He has authored a number of fascinating books, placing films and related discourses within a broader frame: the confrontation of German literati with cinema in the early 20 century, the contradictory relationship of German cinema with national history, and the impact of migration on German identity are only some of the many subjects that Kaes has written on.She reveals how medical approaches to shell-shock were formulated within an evolutionary framework which viewed mental breakdown as regression to a level characteristic of earlier stages of individual or racial development, but also ultimately resulted in greater understanding and acceptance of psychoanalytic approaches to human mind and behaviour.Through its demonstration of the crucial importance of concepts of mind-body relations, gender, willpower and instinct to the diagnosis of shell-shock, this book locates the disorder within a series of debates on human identity dating back to the Darwinian revolution and extending far beyond the medical sphere.