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The Battlefield Traumas Of Gallipoli Essay

1015 words - 5 pages

Gallipoli was one of the most hostile and intense battlefields of the first world war, with over 26,000 Australian casualties and 8,000 of those being deaths in the heat of battle; however, not all of the casualties that survived the ordeal had physical injuries alone. There were many different types of trauma that the soldiers experienced apart from the physical damage to their bodies, such as short term psychological ailments such as Battle Fatigue and Shellshock from living in a constant life or death situation, and also dealing with the after effects of war with their families back home and the long term damage that was inflicted on their psyche. The First World War did not leave one ...view middle of the document...

Soldiers on the front line had to contend with the psychological torment that came with fighting in such torrid conditions, which presented itself with mental conditions such as Shellshock and Battle Fatigue. As the campaign wore on, numerous soldiers in the trenches began to be worn down mentally as well as physically, and the constant stress combined with lack of sleep ate away at the men’s psyches, resulting in some developing mental traumas that could get so bad that they were removed from the front lines, their commanders deeming them being combat ineffective. An example of a common mental trauma that soldiers suffered was Shellshock, which is defined by extreme anxiety, hyper vigilance, nightmares and reliving traumatic experiences long after the event had passed. Not only did the sufferers of Shellshock have to contend with the violence of the war around them, but they had to battle with their own minds, which robbed them of whatever little rest that they could get, reliving the horrors they had witnessed in the heat of battle. Another common mental trauma was Battle Fatigue, a mental condition where the sufferer develops unexplained aches and pains, lack of sleep and prolonged lethargy, as well as problems with decision making and slower reaction times. This made the already trying conditions under which the soldiers operated almost unbearable and affected their ability to perform even the most basic of tasks under pressure, which could mean the difference between life and death for the soldiers and their comrades on the front line. While most physical traumas that were received by the men at Gallipoli were easily treatable with direct medical action and time to convalesce, mental traumas were far harder to treat; Numerous soldiers came home having won the war for their families and loved ones back at home, their battles with the anguish and terror their minds endured were far from over.
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