Medicine, Health and Irish Experiences of War, 1914-45
6-7 September 2012
University College Dublin
Organisers: David Durnin and Ian Miller
Hosted by the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland
The role of Ireland in both the First and Second World Wars has attracted increasing levels of scholarly attention in recent years. Although Ireland remained neutral during the Second World War – ‘the Emergency’ – international conflict had immediate consequences for Irish social and economic life. There has been a significant growth of historical interest regarding the impact of war on Ireland and its effects on Irish politics, commerce and society. Nonetheless, further scope for inquiry exists. In particular, the role of medicine and health during these two critical periods remains remarkably undeveloped in relation to Ireland. This workshop aims to unravel Irish medical and health experiences in these two defining periods of worldwide conflict. As well as exploring how warfare impacted upon the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the Irish populace, the event seeks to examine how Irish medical, scientific and official communities operated in relation to both physical and mental health.
Various core questions will be explored at this event. For instance, were Irish medical and health experiences in any way unique compared to other countries? Did the financial exigencies of war impact detrimentally on Irish health care provision? What psychological and emotional responses to war and grief were formed in Ireland? Did the disruption of First World War have lasting implications for interwar health care? How did war affect Irish medical communities operating in international contexts? And what can be learnt by comparing the medical and health experiences of both wars with reference to Irish contexts?