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October 26, 1940

CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE WORLD WAR TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF MEDICINE

Author Affiliations

Lieutenant Colonel, Medical Corps, U. S. Army WASHINGTON, D. C.

JAMA. 1940;115(17):1443-1451. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.72810430003012
Abstract

So wrote Major John McCrae, a medical officer of the Canadian army, at his dressing station during a lull in the hottest phase of the second battle of Ypres in 1915.1

Little did he dream, as he created this immortal poem, that it would be cherished as the World War's greatest contribution to poetry. Nor did the harassed people of that day realize that the war would contribute substantially to the advancement of medicine. They were more concerned with what medicine could contribute to the war.

More than sixty million men were mobilized in the sixteen belligerent nations during the World War. About twenty million lives were sacrificed as a direct or indirect result of the war. About ten million soldiers and sailors were killed in action or died from wounds or disease. Approximately twenty million were wounded and nearly seven million were listed as missing or prisoners. Excluding

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