I understand that many soldiers were shot as a result of battle fatigue in WW1 and WW2, however, I also know that other soldiers were placed in hospitals and treated/studied.Sheldrake wrote: ↑05 Oct 2019 13:04/... as did the British., Over 3000 death sentences and around 275 executed for military offences. (But out of an army of some 2.5 million who served on the Western Front)Carl Schwamberger wrote: ↑05 Oct 2019 03:11In the Great War the French called it cowardice & shot some of them as a example.
It is complicated. The Allies were more understanding in WW2. About 1/4-1/3 of casualties in Normandy were psychiatric cases.
The Germans and Soviets regarded their soldiers as representatives of a regime and any weakness as cowardice. The Germans were said to allow men who wavered in battle to be shot without any process. (Though this is from western rather than German sources. Dire threats from above to shoot waverers may not have translated into action until 1945 when draconioan measures resulted in some 12-15,000 executions.) The Red army did have blocking detachments and did execute lots. John Erickson said around 15,000 in the defence of Stalingrad alone.
German and Soviet loss rates may have meant that few soldiers ever experienced a long enough front line service for combat stress to be a factor.
Each episode of PTSD would be unique, but the underlying causes have to do with a combination of emotional trauma and physical proximity to violence; both affect the central nervous system negatively. So it is more likely for soldiers sitting in a bunker, enduring hours of artillery fire directly on their positions, to end up suffering from PTSD as compared to soldiers who spent a long time in the field, but only encountered intermittent combat.
German soldiers assigned to Army Group Center would have participated in a tremendous amount of violence over a long period of time during the following campaigns - Operation Barbarossa, Operation Typhoon, the Battles of Rzhev and Operation Büffel. Effectively from 22 JUN 1941 – 22 MAR 1943 those units were exposed to 638 days of combat with very few breaks. How were those soldiers handling the psychology of it?
One can only imagine what the Soviet soldiers were thinking on the opposite side knowing that they were going to be sent, sometimes without weapons, across an open field to “attack” the enemy. Consider how many of their comrades they witnessed get killed in the “Rzhev Meat Grinder” following incompetent leaders, it would be very depressing and would likely foster PTSD in the soldiers who survived. Somehow, they persisted and fulfilled their duties, but do we know what happened to their psychology?
The Japanese have an even more unique outlook, they had suicide squads, pilots, submariners, etc. Their soldiers toiled away under absurd conditions, and from 1943 on they were fighting to the death, with very few POWs taken relative to the numbers fought against. I suppose summary executions were very likely for someone who started “complaining” about the amount of combat they were exposed to.
As authoritarian as the Nazis, Soviets or Imperialists were, there would still be an interest concerning the effects of combat on a soldier’s state of mind. If there are other studies for these nations like one posted by Carl it would be fascinating to read, but I have not yet found one.