Medical Advancements In World War Two

1734 words - 7 pages

World War II brought death and destruction upon the world. On the other hand, it also opened doors for pioneering developments that commonly occur during such situations of high adversity. Some of the most important advancements took place in the field of medicine when the world was embroiled in World War II. As Dr. Ralph Major states, "An army is a vast laboratory of medical research where disease and injuries are seen on a far larger scale than in peacetime. Many improvements in the treatment of infections have come from experiences on the battlefield" (Major 52). Devastation in the war left countless soldiers and civilians with life threatening injuries and diseases. This devastation and destruction, led to the innovation of the three most important medicines in history namely Penicillin, Blood plasma and Sulfanilamide. These three innovations in the field of medicine helped save thousands of soldiers in World War II and are considered to be the most important medical advancements in the war."Penicillin fought for the soldier as bravely as the soldier fought for his country" (www.lib.niu.edu). Out of the three innovations in medicine during World War II, penicillin undoubtedly was the most important. Penicillin was invented by Dr. Alexander Fleming in 1928 and was crucial in saving lives of soldiers on D-Day where stockpiles of penicillin were gathered in depots of England and were on hand in time for the Allied invasion of Germany (Rowland 32) . Operation Overload was the pivotal point of World War II because that was when the Allies took the offensive and attacked the German stronghold of Normandy Beach. It was estimated that 3000 lives were saved on that day with the use of Penicillin and by the time the war ended that number turned out to be over two million (www.historylearningsite.co.uk). These figures clearly show how useful penicillin was during the period of the war. Penicillin however was first seen in action in the Battle of Britain where air raids by the Luftwaffe left many civilians and soldiers wounded and the doctors needed more effective ways to treat burns (www.lib.niu.edu). Penicillin was needed in large numbers as it was the only way Britain could save their soldiers and civilians. Penicillin was also the first broad spectrum antibiotic ever created. It was first broad spectrum antibiotic because it cured various diseases such as: "hemolytic, streptococcus, gonorrhea, syphilis and it was a wonderful antibiotic for wounds and burns" (www.historystudycenter.com). All these diseases could be cured with the use of penicillin and displays how penicillin outnumbered any other medical advancement during World War II in the number of diseases it cured. Soldiers also felt more confident having penicillin in their pockets as they knew that no disease could affect them as long as they had penicillin. This passionate bond could be observed through posters from World War II saying "Thanks to Penicillin…He Will Come Home!!" which...

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