Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Freud, Sigmund

(626 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
Freud, Sigmund (May 6, 1856, Freiberg [now Přibor, Czech Republic] – September 9, 1939, London), Austrian neurologist, founder of psychoanalysis. Freud’s attitude to the World War was at first little different from that of most intellectuals at that time. Freud is recorded as having said in the first phase of the war that his “whole libido” belonged to Austria-Hungary (1915). When this position changed, turning into one critical of the war, is disputed. In relation to fear of war and “infringement…

Nerves

(695 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
Nerves The mental history of the Wilhelminian epoch is marked by the phenomenon of “nervousness.” The over-exertion of mind and body, the worries and fears, the sexual excesses and aberrations, the rapid pace, the noise; the over-indulgence in coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and morphine; as well as the “violent shocks to the body, for example from rail accidents” – those were causes that, taken with the suspected inheritability of “nervousness,” were ascribed to the “cultural progress” of the 19th cen…

Trenches

(1,284 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
Trenches Part of the infantry field fortifications. Before the First World War trenches existed only as a provisional, temporary fortification used to defend areas of land. Trenches developed after the early hardening of the fronts into a socially dominant symbol of military technology in the war. Especially on the Western Front, trenches, and the way of fighting that derived from them, marked the character of the war from October/November 1914 to 1918. After the strategic defeat on the Marne, and the building of the first trenches, between mid-September and early N…

Psychiatry

(620 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
Psychiatry The science that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cerebral illnesses and functional brain disorders that primarily manifest themselves through psychological symptoms. Psychiatry constitutes a major aspect of the medico-military study and analysis of the effects of the World War on human beings. In 1916, the German psychiatrist Robert Gaupp (University of Tübingen) summarized the scientific-empirical value of the war for psychiatry in the following manner: “For psychiatr…