The Human Machinery of War

The Human Machinery of War: Disability on the Front Lines and the Factory Floor, 1941-1945
The Psychological Consequences of War
In 1994, scholar Michael C. C. Adams maintained that "we should remember that 25 percent of WWII veterans still in veterans' hospitals have psychological wounds. What they were forced to witness so appalled them that they recoiled permanently from our world. They will never return from overseas."*
*Michael C. C. Adams, The Best War Ever: America and World War II (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 113.
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Photograph: Medics Tend Wounded Soldiers on the Beach in France
"American Wounded,"
Invasion of France, 9 June 1944  

Numbers, annual rates, and noneffectiveness for admissions (1) due to neuropsychiatric disorders, and number and percent of disability separations, by diagnosis, U.S. Army, 1942-45 (2)

[Admission rates stated as number of admissions per 1,000 average strength per year]
[Noneffective rates stated as number excused from duty per day per 1,000 average strength per day]

Neuropsychiatric diagnosis
Admissions (1)
Noneffectiveness
Disability separations (3)
Number
Rate
Average Days
Daily Rate
Number
Percent of admissions
Neuropsychiatric, total
929,307
36.68
46
4.44
312,354
33.6

Psychoses [This included "Schizophrenic disorders," "Involutional melancholia," "Manic-depressive reaction," "Paranoid disorders," and "Psychosis."]

68,352
2.70
98
0.71
59,657
87.3

Psychoneurosis [This included "Anxiety reaction," "Hysterical reaction," "Obsessive compulsive reaction, incl. phobias," "Neurotic depressive reaction," "Neurocirculatory asthenia," "Neuroasthenia," and "Psychoneurotic reaction, other."]

648,460
25.59
46
3.17
246,712
38.0

Character and behavior [This included "Pathologic sexuality," "Asocial and antisocial personality type," "Immaturity reactions and pathologic personality," "Alcoholism," and "Drug Addiction."]

118,989
4.70
26
0.32
3,031
2.5

Disorders of intelligence

28,866
1.14
36
0.09
2,556
8.9

Psychiatric, other

64,640
2.55
22
0.15
398
0.6

(1) Includes cases carded for record only.
(2) Includes December 1941.
(3) Number of disability separations among nonbattle cases with this diagnosis as primary cause of admission. There were 336,309 disability separations among all nonbattle admissions with neuropsychiatric disorders as cause of discharge.

Source: Frank A. Reister, ed., Medical Department, United States Army, Medical Statistics in World War II (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1976), 43, 412.