Shell Shock

When Canadians veterans returned from service, they often suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. But their suffering was frequently not acknowledged.

Posted February 12, 2013

The following articles originally appeared in our award-winning June-July 2010 issue, a special investigation into shell shock. “WWI: The Great War of the Mind” is an audio excerpt; the full article can be read in our digital archive. “Shell Shock Through the Wars” was a website-only article that includes a photo gallery of propaganda posters.

WWI: The Great War of the Mind

Military historian Tim Cook explores the history of shell shock, also known as the "storm centre" of military medicine.

WWII: The Long Road Home

Flying Officer Frank Rowan was presumed dead in 1945. Germany's surrender gave him a second chance at life.


Prisoners of war during the Korean War suffered the added injury of having their loyalty called into question.

Off the Rails

A disturbing incident in 2002 shoes that the stigma surrounding shell shock in the Canadian military has not gone away.

Shell Shock Through the Wars

No one knew how to treat soldiers suffering from shell shock in the First World War, so doctors tried everything including shaming, blaming, and electric shocks. 

Are you man enough?

As the war machine chewed up unit after unit, officials became increasingly desperate to find new recuits. A powerful tool in their recruiting arsenal was the use of propaganda to shame men into fighting.

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