First World War memoirs were a powerful and influential genre of life writings, but most were written by combatants. This book contributes to the, as yet, limited literature on the writings of nurses. This body of texts offers a unique perspective on the consequences of industrial warfare: the wounds, sickness and emotional trauma caused by the First World War. They were heavily influenced by their authors’ social and professional backgrounds. As autobiographical texts, or ‘life writings’, they provide insight into both the nature of warfare; women’s lives; and the nature of nursing in the early twentieth century.
American millionaire, Mary Borden, established three field hospitals in the French lines during the First World War. The first of these, L’Hopital Chirurgical Mobile No. 1, was both an effective military hospital and a cauldron of literary creativity. Although Borden’s contribution is well-documented, that of her head nurse, Agnes Warner, is less well-known. Warner’s book, My Beloved Poilus, was well-received in her home-province, New Brunswick, Canada, but has, until now, received very little attention from historians.
The First World War was the first ‘total war’. Its industrial weaponry damaged millions of men, and drove whole armies underground into dangerously unhealthy trenches. Many were killed. Others suffered from massive, life-threatening injuries; wound infections such as gas gangrene and tetanus; exposure to extremes of temperature; emotional trauma; and systemic disease. Tens of thousands of women volunteered to serve as nurses to alleviate their suffering. Some were fully-trained professionals; others had minimal preparation, and served as volunteer-nurses. Their motivations were a combination of compassion, patriotism, professional pride and a desire for engagement in the ‘great enterprise’ of war. The war led to an outpouring of war-memoirs, produced mostly by soldier-writers whose works came to be seen as a ‘literary canon’ of war-writing. But nurses had offered immediate and long-term care, life-saving expertise, and comfort to the war’s wounded, and their experiences had given them a perspective on industrial warfare which was unique. Until recently, their contributions, both to the saving of lives and to our understanding of warfare have remained largely hidden from view. ‘Nurse Writers of the Great War’ examines these nurses’ memoirs and explores the insights they offer into the nature of nursing and the impact of warfare. The book combines close biographical research with textual analysis, in order to offer an understanding of both nurses’ wartime experiences and the ways in which their lives and backgrounds contributed to the style and content of their writing.
Some nurses chose to work independently. Trained British nurse, Elsie Knocker, established, with her untrained associate, Mairi Chisholm, an aid post in the village of Pervyse behind the Belgian front-line trenches. Her memoir, Flanders and Other Fields, documents her innovative treatment for wound-shock as well as her experiences close to the front lines of war. Violetta Thurstan, a highly-trained professional British nurse, served with the Order of St John of Jerusalem in Belgium, with the Russian Red Cross in a flying column on the Polish Front, and then, again, on the Western Front. Her writings include one of the few technical manuals of wartime nursing practice to be published during the war.
South Korea’s development of a hepatitis B vaccine and national prevention strategy focused on newborns
Eun Kyung Choi and Young-Gyung Paik
For several decades South Korea has been recognised as a country in which hepatitis B is endemic, but it has also become famous for its controlled hepatitis epidemic, using a well-organised vaccination plan.The social determinants surrounding the vaccination plan have not been studied, however. In the 1980s, the hepatitis issue was a major concern in Korea, involving various actors, including medical doctors, the government, foreign scholars, and international institutions. While the domestic production of hepatitis B vaccines and the vaccination campaigns focused on newborns, combined with extensive prenatal screening have been counted as key success factors, the adoption of these specific measures was not simply based on scientific analysis. In this sense, when an anti-hepatitis plan was finally introduced in South Korea, it was not just a reaction to the prevalent hepatitis B but also a reflection of the nation’s future-oriented, developmentalist imaginaries.
Factors such as climate and geography were important determinants of the types vaccines selected for use and the prevalence of certain infectious diseases in Japan. However, as shown in this chapter, there is strong evidence that preventive vaccination policies that were strongly influenced by foreign health authorities, changing societal expectations, pressure from special interest groups, and new scientific discoveries played as an important, if not a more significant role in the formation of Japan’s approach to immunisation and vaccine production. By delineating the principal features and influences on the development of Japan’s vaccine policies and production using a wide range of illustrations, the writer argues that Japan’s approach differed markedly from the ones adopted by the health authorities in other nations. This distinctiveness stems from Japan’s unique history of disease, policies and institutions, whose centerpiece is the Preventative Vaccination Law (PVL) introduced in 1947 during the Allied occupation (1945-52). This chapter will trace these influences—both past and present—on Japan’s vaccination policies in order to shed light on its unique approach to immunisation and production.
A century ago, state institutes of public health played an important role in the production of sera and vaccines. In The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries they continued to do so until after World War II. Focusing in particular on The Netherlands, this chapter examines their withdrawal from vaccine production in the past 20 years. In the 1980s the Dutch government was still committed to maintaining the state’s ability to produce the vaccines needed by the national vaccination programme. A series of legal and institutional changes sought to protect the public sector vaccine producer against the threat of privatisation. These changes ultimately proved inadequate. Not only was the Institute’s ability to meet demand for new vaccines being eroded by global developments, but policy makers were increasingly convinced that vaccination practices should be harmonised with those of other European countries. The decision to sell off the Dutch state’s vaccine production facilities, taken in 2009, has to be understood in historical context. It was the outcome of globalisation processes that for two decades had worked simultaneously on both the supply and the demand sides