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Disasters of the First World War and the Negative Psychological Impacts in a Farewell to Arms

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The historical sources of human history are telling us that there were many disastrous wars, fights, killings which had happened between enemies and hostile groups to control most area of world until now. The leaders of the countries employed young and inexperienced soldiers by giving them a particular job with salaries in the army forces to fight, also is using different types of weapon system to fight between the countries they spent huge economical sources throughout of war to buy new weapons, tanks, and other necessary items used in military.

One of the most famous wars during the twentieth century is the First World War or the Great War from 28th of July, 1914 to 11th of November, 1918. This period of war presents itself as the background to the novel A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemingway. The war, in the previous century, was between some huge countries at that time, and they were divided into two major groups: the first one consisted of France, Russia and Britain which were called Triple Entente, and the second group consisted of Germany, Austria, Hungry and Italy which were called Triple Alliance. That was one of the most destructive wars throughout human history because of some several reasons; the war caused huge population areas to be burned and damaged by fire, explosion, and destructive devices systems like bombs. No one could live in the damaged areas; therefore, most of the farmers and the people of the villages had to leave their own farms and houses groups that caused in the stations some men who worked in military services just fell to pieces and other men did not recover. However, beside the injured, other parts who were related to the military were victims – like medical health specialists, doctors and nurses were dead and lost because of they were apart of military health since there was no food, no clean water and security for their lives.

The population who lived under the hostile groups were in a bad condition in life and needed help for the basic services especially for those countries which had a major role such as Britain, this can be considered as one of the most effective strategic way between the enemies countries as Rosanne states that; ‘When Britain became a belligerent, every country in the world was affected. Those who were Britain’s enemies were progressively cut off from overseas trade by the naval blocked'(Rosanne et. al 7).

For a better understanding of the topic we can ask questions about the psychological and emotional status of the soldiers, the kind of diseases they faced, the use of emotional treatment to help them escape from war, and finding empathy and kindness during war.

It is clear war had more negative impacts on the soldiers than anyone else due to being attacked by enemies. The First World War did not only have physical impacts on human body; it also had psychological and mental effects on the human minds. Among them the soldiers and their family were the most vulnerable people to face diseases because they were the center of the war and the most important part of the military. According to a British psychologist Philip Vernon once described ‘the 1900s as ‘the most exciting decade in psychology since the death of Aristotle’’ therefore, they had an important role in ground forces and military services.

Most of the soldiers were in a bad economic condition. Poor or the working-class who needed money and salary to supply their families had to leave home to participate in the army, navy or air forces because that life condition forced the people to join military services as a way to get limited income for their life

As one of the researchers of soldiers’ life in his reports that, ‘Nearly a quarter of soldiers had a simple explanation for their decision to enlist: They ‘needed to make money,’ especially given the economic turmoil the country’s faced in recent years, The Army can provide me with great education benefits, great career benefits later on,’ one soldier told the researchers.'(keller).

Another reason was motivating the soldiers by the leaders of the countries against enemies to make their country have more energy, power, and control over their desires to be able use weapon devices. Therefore, they trained in national services to be regular professional soldiers to use weapons such as TNT, driving cars, using bombs and others. This had negative impact of most of the soldiers at the beginning of the war. Also some of the soldiers were not aware of the rules and the strategies in horrible states.

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‘Life was really hard for the soldiers and their families because of the torment they went through on the brutal battlefields of WWI. None of the soldiers were prepared for the torment, neither were their families truly able to understand the full effects of the War upon their loved ones. WWI ultimately ended in 1919 but not before the lives of millions'(W.W.1 experiences on the Western Front), This quote above declares that they had to briefly fight against enemies and create the pride of their nation, however they were not ready to this war perfectly and not had enough experience because the soldiers were in a social condition which was common.

The heads of military armies of the most of countries had other responsibilities, because the war was to control and rule the most geographical area of the hostile groups there for one of the effective way to guide the soldiers political ideology was to keep the pride of their nation, as Bloom points it out in Earnest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms on page 78: ‘these are not simply men fighting but men fighting for (their country, freedom, each other, their pride)’

Another negative psychological issue which faced most of the soldiers and the most common psychological disorder among the soldiers and the military army was Shell Shock, a according to Riddle as an author ‘Shell shock was one of the major side effects of WWI. Many soldiers suffered from it, as it was caused by the heavy explosions and constant fighting associated with the war. Troops suffering from shell shock struggled with sleep. They panicked on hearing gunshots, loud noises, shouting and similar. Sometimes it affected their ability to walk and talk. Shell shock was a scary thing.’ Shell shock could be an emotional and psychological shock brought about by the many horrors that men heard while in the trenches. This situation resulted from the soldiers’ experience of the screams of others in agony, torture, pain and the thought of their own death.

Those who suffered from it might be hypnotized, electrocuted, rested or shocked. Due to the same cause, so many men were lost to it; and after the end of the war, they psychological negative impacts and suffering from the diseases. Otherwise, beside the physical injury, most of the soldiers had psychological diseases or disturbances of their emotional pain without caring about it. Professor Joanna Bourke says ‘By the end of World war one the British army had dealt with 80,000 cases of Shell shock, including those of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.’ It means the war ended, but still there were many other people, who suffered, and they were in a bad situation, and they need to be helped, as one of the journals declared the treatment of the soldiers by;’ For most patients, treatment in PIE centres involved rest, hot food and a programme of graduated exercise, culminating in route 216 E. Jones et al. marches.'(Jones et. tal 215¬¬-223).

Then in the same journal in anther data proves the age of the soldiers who had psychological diseases and issues throughout the war ‘The mean admission was 25 days, and the longest period of treatment was 150 days. The mean age on admission was 26.6 years. The youngest referral was 17 years'(Jones et. tal 215¬¬-223).

Although another way of healthy mental treatment, the soldiers can be cured by emotional and careful treatment with calmness, love, sound relationship and caring about family relations as a way to relaxation of mind which women had the main role to fulfilling emotions and coming out of the surrounding war.

Love and emotional states have an important role of our daily activities. Human emotions can force us to take actions and influence our decisions, love has many positive impacts on individuals especially when they are in horrible conditions, for example soldiers during war time, they got injured, as mentioned before, faced some psychological disorder like shell shock, they ruined psychologically they needed a cure to escape from that terrible conditions, for alone depressed the suppressed soldiers love was not a bad treatment to heal their psyche.

The role of love is the source of relief for depression of human beings. Love has different forms to show this emotional state, but Sometimes woman is a main character to play this role and give sense of love in different ways to her circumstance, especially nurses throughout First World War proved that love replace war and have positive impacts on the life of the most of the soldiers, and how soldiers use it to reduce their mental illness, Nurses played a major role in that war according to the proofs. They stayed at hospitals for many hours they cleaned soldiers wound, and took care of them, sometime dalliance happened between them, young Red Cross one of the stations of the treatment for the military services says ‘nurses spent many hours on the wards tending to wounded soldiers. The men’s conversations, jokes and songs must have provided a welcome relief from all the cleaning; making beds and gangrenous limbs the nurses had to deal'(knight). Sometimes While they serve patient soldiers they fell in love with them, because soldiers saw these women as their cure, and they helped the injured, , One negative impact of these psychological diseases among the soldiers was effecting other members of their families specially women but most of the time besides responding economical condition of the family, women had to manage and get responsibility household duties for the children and their soldiers husband, after coming back many the men who worked in military armies they were injured physically and mentally, suffered because of various diseases and abnormal functions in psychologically like Shell Shock, effects of mustard Gas, depression; for this state they need psychological help treatment to recover from their experience of war, also physical form appearance of their body were in a bad situation of sometimes they got in pieces, they needed a long time to get well again and had long¬-life injured. This condition shows that women had been got more responsibility for entire members’ of family, they rolled source of relief to keep unity to household.

In a farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway the two protagonists are in the same condition, Fredric with Catherin when they met they fell in love and sharing their feeling the come out of the depression of war, because he found love strong enough to feel safe during that bloody and disgusting war.

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Disasters of the First World War and the Negative Psychological Impacts in a Farewell to Arms. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 10, 2023, from
“Disasters of the First World War and the Negative Psychological Impacts in a Farewell to Arms.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022,
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