Laurier Military Speaker Series, Fall 2017
Wednesday, 6 December 2017, 7 pm
The Human Cost of War: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in Korea, 1950-1953
Marred by war and violence, the history of the twentieth century is one of trauma. The Korean War (1950-1953) was a ferocious and brutal conflict that produced over four million casualties. It also represents one of the largest deployments of Canadians in the past hundred years. Throughout the war, psychiatric casualties accounted for one in twenty sick or wounded Commonwealth soldiers. In doing their duty, many of these men would bear permanent scars.
Historian and author Meghan Fitzpatrick investigates the human impact of the “forgotten war.” This talk will examine how the Commonwealth cared for the psychologically wounded in theatre and assess how successful doctors were in returning servicemen to duty. Based on her recently published book, Meghan will explore the challenges that veterans of politically unpopular or neglected conflicts like Korea face in accessing compensation and care. She will also reflect upon how the Korean War experience can inform contemporary policy and underline salutary lessons for the future.
Dr. Meghan Fitzpatrick is a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in War Studies with the Royal Military College of Canada. Her recently published book with the University of British Columbia Press is entitled Invisible Scars: Mental Trauma and the Korean War (2017). She is presently working on a project exploring the history of the Canadian military’s research on psychological resilience and adaptability.