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JAMA Revisited
June 6, 2017

The Duty of the Medical Profession in This War

Author Affiliations

June 2, 1917

JAMA. 1917;68(22):1626- 1627.

JAMA. 2017;317(21):2241. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.4823

This is the most destructive war the world has ever experienced. Indeed, it is more than a war. It is a cataclysm in the progress of civilization. In its effects on man it is comparable to the great geologic epochs which have endangered the existence of the race and profoundly modified the development of civilization. Whatever may be the results of this titanic struggle, the trend of man’s evolution must be profoundly altered. Ultimately, it may result in benefit to the race; or it may lead to deterioration. Our success, with that of our allies, is essential to the welfare of the world. Defeat would mean not only disaster to ourselves, but the retrogression of all nations. We are fighting to protect our nation against a ruthless aggressor; to aid England, France and Italy, whose ideals are in harmony with our own and who up to the present have been fighting our battles; to restore desolated and ravished Belgium and Serbia; to assist Russia in her struggle for liberty, and to give freedom to the great masses of the German people themselves. The cry for help that comes to us from our allies should cause us to respond with our greatest effort, directed by our highest intelligence, and stimulated by our most unselfish desires.

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