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

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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
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As explained by a London physician in the Daily Express, “people who [were] run down [fell] easier victims than those in a robust state of health” (Kent D36 83). With almost every survivor experiencing the loss and grief of a passing father, son, husband, or friend from the war, none were prepared for the devastating incident that followed. Individuals carried this burden of personal grief, trauma, and loss throughout the course of their lives making them not only physically but also mentally vulnerable of what was to come next (Kent Introduction

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