La santé en guerre 1914-1918
Une politique pionnière en univers incertain
HEALTHCARE IN WARTIME, 1914–1918
Pioneering policies in an uncertain world
The First World War resulted in mass slaughter. Over the course of just four years, close to 1.4 million French citizens died, 4 million were hospitalised, 5 million more fell ill and 400,000 were killed by the Spanish influenza.
During the first days of the conflict, the situation called for crucial decisions to be made: rebuilding human capital in order to send soldiers back to the front was the main priority. In this unpredictable landscape, influenced by new kinds of weapons and exposed to pathogens, military health services implemented State-run procedures for evacuation, care, prevention, alert, accreditation, monitoring and regulation.
Through hospitals, mobile health training and efficient logistics, a new health system was established that was dedicated to medical emergencies, the respect of both civilian and military populations against epidemics, and the rehabilitation of the wounded and psychologically traumatised. In fact, this period constituted a moment of truth for 'risk management', since the vital prognosis of hundreds of thousands of citizens was at stake, as well as a textbook case, since for the first time public authorities had total control over the medical body.
This panoramic volume seeks to shed light on this historical turning point in public health and ‘emergency medicine’, led by Justin Godart — who would later become a member of both the French Resistance and the Righteous Among the Nations — while also deciphering the sometimes questionable uses of healthcare during wartime.
Vincent Viet holds a Ph.D. in contemporary history and specialises in the historical study of social and healthcare policies.