Introduction
in Shell-shocked British Army veterans in Ireland, 1918–39
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This introduction outlines the development of shell-shock as a diagnosis and establishes its position in the historiography of the First World War. It demonstrates that no study has addressed the experience of Irish men who suffered from psychoneurotic ailments as a result of war service. The introduction explains the reluctance of previous works to engage with Ireland by highlighting a perceived dearth in archival materials and the distinguishing features of the political and socio-economic circumstances in Ireland. It delineates the reasons for the methodological choices made in writing the book and explains its chapter structure. The book aims to widen the traditional interpretation of shell-shock by challenging the assumption that the experiences of mentally ill veterans in Ireland are unquantifiable and untraceable. The unique socio-political and economic circumstances in Ireland ensures the Irish experience of post-war mental illness and disability does not reflect previous British-centric works. The post-war care and rehabilitation of mentally disabled British Army veterans in inter-war Ireland were heavily influenced by bio-psycho, socio-economic, cultural and political concerns. This thesis will become evident in the book’s five ensuing chapters.

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