A Fate Worse Than Death – Disfigured Veterans of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

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Filmed at Romagne 14-18 museum: http://romagne14-18.com

Plastic and reconstructive surgery saw rapid development during World War 1. Modern medical care and better equipment increased the chances of survival for the soldiers. But these survivors were often disfigured or lost limbs as a result. To help them return to a somewhat normal life, reconstructive surgeons developed methods to restore their faces and aided them with prosthetics.

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» WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES?
Videos: British Pathé
Pictures: Mostly Picture Alliance
Background Map: http://d-maps.com/carte.php?num_car=6030&lang=en
Literature (excerpt):
Gilbert, Martin. The First World War. A Complete History, Holt Paperbacks, 2004.
Hart, Peter. The Great War. A Combat History of the First World War, Oxford University Press, 2013.
Hart, Peter. The Great War. 1914-1918, Profile Books, 2013.
Stone, Norman. World War One. A Short History, Penguin, 2008.
Keegan, John. The First World War, Vintage, 2000.
Hastings, Max. Catastrophe 1914. Europe Goes To War, Knopf, 2013.
Hirschfeld, Gerhard. Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg, Schöningh Paderborn, 2004
Michalka, Wolfgang. Der Erste Weltkrieg. Wirkung, Wahrnehmung, Analyse, Seehamer Verlag GmbH, 2000
Leonhard, Jörn. Die Büchse der Pandora: Geschichte des Ersten Weltkrieges, C.H. Beck, 2014

If you want to buy some of the books we use or recommend during our show, check out our Amazon Store: http://bit.ly/AmazonTGW
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» WHAT IS “THE GREAT WAR” PROJECT?
THE GREAT WAR covers the events exactly 100 years ago: The story of World War I in realtime. Featuring: The unique archive material of British Pathé. Indy Neidell takes you on a journey into the past to show you what really happened and how it all could spiral into more than four years of dire war. Subscribe to our channel and don’t miss our new episodes every Thursday.

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– CREDITS –
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45 Responses

  1. Steve17010 says:

    The PBS's "The Great War" and its corresponding/companion book covers some of the facial damages issues. It also includes amputations and what was then called shell shock'.

  2. It's so sad seeing these poor men who fought and were injured for their country and then not being ever able to have a normal life again back home for many.

  3. Carter says:

    Excellent video guys.

  4. David Lewis says:

    What a hard hitting topic as not much is shown about this affect off the war this channel gets better all the time

  5. A good way to think about the war, is that it was the worst war. This is because, even with our superior tech today, we are worried about conserving resou

  6. Great video!! I always kinda wondered how they dealt with this level of carnage. We had a guy in my home town who was a WWI vet (this was in the early 80's) I remember he had scarring on his cheeks. From what my dad told me (my dad was in the VFW/Legion with him), he caught a lucky bullet- it passed cleanly through both cheeks, knocked out his teeth in the process. I just remember how he looked, like he had weird dimples in his cheeks, haha.

  7. Tom McCool says:

    Pat Barker's "Regeneration Trilogy" dealt with the Gillies hospital and the artist who helped with the process of reconstruction surgeries. Good novels dealing with human events and the costs of such horrific injuries caused by the high explosives used in the war. She put a link to the hospital's pictures of many of the before and after surgeries. Difficult subject, horrible pictures of devastating injuries. Well done. Thanks

  8. Very informative. It's awful what happened to these men.

  9. makes me think of One by Metallica

  10. Hey Indy would you mind taking a look at the trailer 'The Ottoman Lieutenant' it's a new movie set in WWI

  11. Hey Indy would mind taking a look at the trailer for 'The Ottoman Lieutenant' its a new movie set in WWI

  12. I think you should do a channel for the second world war

  13. Does anyone know how many others wars happened during ww1?

  14. i cant imagine that a war could leave so many scars in this world. thank god for what we have

  15. GabdeVue says:

    Thank you. This was a stellar episode.
    The advances in medicine are truly interesting to me – i'd like to know more on this subject. From how field hospitals were staffed and maintained and more on that topic.
    I was taken aback by the viewer discretion warning, since this is a war-documentary-channel, but I understand now. But there have been the one and other image before that shook me and I am glad it did (pictures of dead soldiers in trenches). Since I am a mom, I can barely look at these images anymore – imagining my son dying for some abstract conflict between "countries" hundrets of miles away in the mud. This happens to people every day.
    And my wish, that europe stays peaceful is stronger than ever. … eh, i completely derailed here.
    So – thank you for the quality episode and I'd love to see more on medical advances.

  16. Westkane11 says:

    Thanks for showing the true colors of war. There is no honor or glory in war, only victims.

  17. Neko Atheist says:

    What does a french car sound like when it's slowing down….vvvvvvuuuuurrrrdun

  18. This was a very moving and very hard to watch episode

  19. Another brilliant episode!! Amazing work!

  20. Infinitivity says:

    I couldn't hold my tears…

  21. 1joshjosh1 says:

    15 dislikes? Over what??

  22. Qtya Fiya says:

    they were still not deprived of free will of human being just because they were ugly this is not whats worse than death…

  23. Javier says:

    Hello Indy and crew, here is a question for out of the trenches, do the british officers really never duck? was it something they said just for raise the moral of the troops?
    Thank you for a great show

  24. Nige GSX14 says:

    Excellent episode even better than normal thanks ?

  25. Chris says:

    Is the title wrong? Or am I missing something

  26. I would have made a law to pay once or twice a week hookers for them. I mean it's impossible to find a woman with that face. At least you give them comfort.

  27. OdinMMA says:

    These poor people, my god. What they were put through by the rich bastards who couldn't accept losing empire.

  28. This might be the saddest episode you guys have done.

  29. Dennis Px says:

    Hi Indy and the team. I have a few questions for out of the trenches concerning religion: Were soldiers allowed to take breaks to pray in the trenches during battles if the heat of battle allowed it? Were there muslim soldiers or soldiers of other notable religious minorities in European armies (except for Turkey of course) and were they treated differently by their officers and fellow soldiers?

    Concerning the role of religion in politics: Did the pope or any other religious leader try to take influence to end the war or did any of them even favor and support one side publicly?

    I really like your show, please keep up the god work.

  30. Like fools we sang victory and death to enemy. Conquering heroes we were made believed to be. But alas when we did not die heroes death. We did not come home as heroes but torn men shaken to the core. People run away when they see us. We are no more. True Horrors of war on our faces they ignore to believe. Our future generation, fools like us will go to war. Dreaming victories and silver stars on their chest, not nightmares and missing limbs. At the end we only wish they would not forget us.

  31. skyislandaz says:

    I'd rather have WW I facial trauma than WW I shell-shock…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWHbF5jGJY0

    The greatest tragedy of all is that they were mischaracterized as neuroses rather than being recognized as neurotrauma and/or neurotoxicity

  32. Feeling sick. "A fate worse than death" – spot on. Death is final, and to me not very "scary". But living without life, that's an alltogether worse proposition. Glad that this was covered – still feel sick tho' 😀

  33. With out doubt one of the most moving and important episodes YOU WILL EVER AIR. As a combat vet of the 82nd ABN facial disfiguration was the TABOO subject in barracks room BS sessions. The only time I ever saw it handled with a quiet acknowledgement was the series "Boardwalk Empire" which featured a character who wore one of the "masks". Of course Hemingway alludes in several of his novels; "The Sun Also Rises", in particular to debilitating, un-manning wounds; and occasionally Hollywood tips it's hat in passing. Yet every war produces as many or more broken men, as ever die "cleanly" on the field. They also are a type of collateral damage that far outlives the conflict. I have only to sit in the lobby of Wade Park VA Hospital in Cleveland to see them on their way to the prosthetic lab in the basement to count the long term costs they will pay the rest of their lives….

  34. Oscar CB says:

    Hey there Indy, huge fan! Love the fact that you are educating the current generations of social media on my favourite era! Also hello from Liverpool! (Don't look up the destruction of old beautiful heritage Victorian buildings in Liverpool unless you want to be upset!) Anyway my question is, was there a large spike in suicide during the war on the home front? For example due to loss of loved ones. I have seen interviews with women of the time and my great great grandmother, and they all suffered tremendous mental strain at the time. Thanks!

  35. Robert Cains says:

    A very thoughtful and sensitive episode.  Well done guys.

  36. TheNewNews12 says:

    A truly amazing video, as always!

  37. A very good example of the facial mask was central to one the characters in the series "Boardwalk".

  38. Very beautiful what you said at the end

  39. Eric Cook says:

    Excellent video. Very well-worded and mindful of their predicaments. I have much respect for the makers of this video series and it keeps me watching.

  40. I don't watch YouTube, I watch the great war. Thanks for all the hard work on these topics. I'd elaborate but I'm still in class.

  41. GravesRWFiA says:

    Thank you Indy and crew- a tough subject but one that needed to be approached. Among people who made masks were many theatre people who had skill at make up and such. To add to this info, in WW2 the british developed skin grafts for burn victims. Sponges were put under the sutures so the seeping blood would cause them to swell and force the flesh into place.

  42. So tragic, good videos keep it up??

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