By Susan Kingsley Kent
This booklet examines the influence of collective trauma coming up out of the nice struggle at the politics of the Nineteen Twenties in Britain. Aftershocks reports how meanings of shellshock and imagery proposing the traumatized psyche as shattered contributed to Britons understandings in their political selves within the Twenties. It connects the strength of feelings to the political tradition of a decade which observed remarkable violence opposed to these considered as un-English.
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Extra resources for Aftershocks: The Politics of Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931
These flashbacks continued through 1928. ”39 In part because they feared the nightmares that would follow sleep, insomnia haunted returning veterans. Some succumbed to amnesia— bouts of blackouts usually followed Graves’ flashbacks. R. Ackerley felt enormous guilt that he had survived the war when his brother, Peter, had not. He found that he could not remember anything about the weeks he shared with his brother in the same battalion; his memory of other events and people was so bad, he allowed, that he could not say with any confidence that he really cared about anyone.
43 Out of work, finding it difficult to adapt to civilian life, these one-time heroes were now “returned soldiers,” “a problem to their country, if not a bore,” as Rathbone noted. ” Veterans especially resented the apparent failure of postwar society to appreciate the nature of those sacrifices, to ask them to go about their lives as if no traces of the wounds of war existed. The sense that civilians had forgotten and betrayed the sacrifices made by soldiers plagued many veterans, whose fury sometimes flared into uncontrollable rage.
Gibbs blamed “the seeds of insanity in the brains of men” on the “abnormal life of war” and on women who gave them venereal disease. In this version, the war and women become confused. “Sexually [the men] were starved,” he argued. For months they lived out of the sight and presence of women. But they came back into villages or towns where they were tempted by any poor slut who winked at them and infected them with illness. com - licensed to University of South Florida - PalgraveConnect - 2011-04-30 36 Jews, “Blacks,” and the Promises of Radical Conservatism, 1919–1925 37 The return of the soldier to a Britain in which women played a much larger role in politics and the economy than ever before was seen to pose a serious threat to the stability of the country, marked by disorder in virtually every realm of life—political, social, economic, and personal.