2018 Rose Olver Prize Winner

Congratulations to our 2018 Rose Olver Prize Winner Alisa Bajramovic!

Alisa Bajramovic '18
Alisa Bajramovic '18

Department of History Honors Thesis

“War Broke Their Reason”: Conceptions of Shell Shock in British Society, 1918-1924

Abstract: In my thesis I analyze the ways in which shell shock was discussed and treated in the early interwar period in Britain. Shell shock, which is now seen as related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affected an estimated 200,000 British servicemen in World War I. In studying the ways in which various sectors of society understood shell shock, described shell-shocked soldiers, and conceptualized the role that these veterans should play in society, I primarily focus on Parliament, the War Office Committee of Enquiry into “Shell-Shock,” the Ministry of Pensions, and a charity called the Ex-Services’ Welfare Society. Throughout the thesis, I closely study how each sector of British society framed the issue as closely related to masculinity and class. Ultimately, I argue that despite differences among the groups in terms of how they understood shell-shocked ex-servicemen, the overarching concern for all of them was recreating the society, and ultimately the image of manhood, of prewar Britain.