Relationship Between World War I And The Influenza Pandemic Of 1918-1919

1483 Words Nov 5th, 2016 6 Pages
The Relationship Between World War I and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919
War and disease have been intertwined throughout history as human pathogens, weapons and armies have met on the battlefield. 1914-1919 marked the cruelest war in the chronicles of the human race preceded by the world’s deadliest unspoken pandemic. The aftermath of World War I proved so profound in their consequences that the influenza virus remained a blur in the public’s memory. Instead, focus was shifted towards the events that were results of World War I such as the rise of fascism, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War (Kent Introduction 23). However, what many fail to remember is that at the end of the First World War, the occurrence of a public enemy called the Spanish Flu killed more people than all the military forces combined. In Susan Kingsley Kent’s The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919: A Brief History with Documents, Kent demonstrates how political and medical discourses and newspapers exposed the relationship between the pandemic and the war, the regulations taken place, and the preceding emotional responses and repercussions.
To begin with, at a rudimentary level, zones of war and civil unrest were perfect breeding grounds for viruses due to the “narrow radius within which infections flourished” (Lancet 1918 Vol II p. 588 Nov. 2, 1918). Additionally, the close quarter nature of military service and trench warfare enabled the viruses to spread and mutate. The war held…

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