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Section II Introduction

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SECTION II

IN THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES

INTRODUCTION

A large part of the neuropsychiatric work in the United States (described in Section I of this volume) had for its objects the maintenance of a successful effort to combat war neuroses in the American Expeditionary Forces and the provision of efficient and humane treatment in France for those of our soldiers who fell victim there to mental disease. In a sense, therefore, this section deals with the continuation of that work and its fruition.

After thoughtful consideration in the Surgeon General's Office, certain general principles, based upon the recommendations of the special committee appointed in March, 1917,a were approved. Stated broadly these principles were: First, that it is not only in accordance with the best scientific practice to treat soldiers suffering with war neuroses as early and as effectively as possible but to do so is an important contribution toward the conservation of manpower and military morale; second, that a point of view regarding these disorders based upon a rational conception of their physiological and psychological origin should at all times be maintained and should form the basis for medico-military effort; third, that in neuropsychiatric work, as far as the exigencies of actual service permit, responsibility and leadership should rest in the hands of those who had had special training in this department of medicine.

The success attained was due, first, to a clear conception on the part of the highest military authorities of the objectives to be reached and of the general plan to be followed in attaining them; and second, to the cooperation of several hundred specialists in neuropsychiatric work in connection with combat troops, general and special hospitals, courts-martial, camps, classification boards, and prisons.

aThe recommendations of this committee are given in full in the Appendix, p. 489.

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