West Virginia University Historical Review


The discourse surrounding mental health awareness has progressed throughout decades of research, stigma breaking, and connectedness; however, this trend of growth regarding mental illnesses was not as forgiving over a century ago, during and directly after the Great War. Natural elements of war alone caused tumultuous suffering for soldiers within the Triple Entente and the Central Powers. Yet, it was the man-made technologies of World War I that caused the deepest traumas, particularly the chemical variants created by Fritz Haber. By examining this history through a psychological lens, the British soldiers exposed to chemical warfare from Ypres to Verdun are given a better diagnosis than the broad term of “shell shock.” In addressing the origins of gaseous agents like sulfur mustard and phosgene, this paper finally recognizes the men that fought to preserve the world order for the war they were fighting on the inside post-gas attack.

Included in

History Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.