Throughout history, epidemics or virulent infections often proved to be a greater determinant of battle outcomes than combat operations. During World War I, thousands of men occupied congested trenches for prolonged periods, facilitating the spread of diseases. The Spanish flu and other ailments were also transmitted through training and base camps.
Unlike previous wars, the army was also confronted with an unprecedented challenge—caring for soldiers suffering from inhalation of chlorine or mustard gas. These substances caused blindness, scarred vocal chords and severe lung disease for survivors.
Learn how the Army Medical Department strived to improve and maintain soldiers’ health during World War I with Dr. Sanders Marble at 7:30 p.m. Thursday June 14 at the Allen Public Library. Honoring Flag Day, the program will open with a medley of patriotic music performed by members of the Allen Community Band.
A senior historian for the U.S. Army Office of Medical History in San Antonio, Dr. Marble received his doctorate in history from King’s College London. Author of the forthcoming book, From Trenches to Hospitals: US Army Medics in World War I, he previously served as a historian at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Office of Medical History, and a project historian at the Smithsonian Institution.
A guest curator for the Army Medical Department Museum’s exhibit on WWI, Dr. Marble has contributed to the US WWI Commemoration Commission’s web pages about medicine in WWI. Dr. Marble commented on the U.S Army’s efforts at that time, “Taking care of individual soldiers is good for the individual, and for the Army.”
Dr. Marble is also the author of Scraping the Barrel: The Military Use of Substandard Manpower, 1860-1960 and King of Battle: Artillery in World War I.
The Allen Public Library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the concert is free. Call 214-509-4911 for additional information.