The demographic impact of the First World War: an anthropometric perspective

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    During the 1970s and 1980s Jay Winter published a series of highly influential articles on the demographic impact of the First World War, culminating in his study of The Great War and the British People in 1986. Winter argued that the war led to a dramatic improvement in average living standards, and that the survival chances of most sections of the civilian population improved more rapidly than they might have done if peace had been maintained. This paper seeks to test the strength of Winter's hypothesis in three main ways. Section I examines the arguments which Winter himself put forward to support his view that the war led to unanticipated gains in the survival chances of older men, women, and infants. Section II focuses more directly on Winter's claim that the war led to a systematic erosion of pre-war differentials in infant mortality. Section III utilizes evidence relating to children's heights to examine the extent to which the war led to improvements in children's ‘nutritional status’. The paper's overall conclusion is that the war did not lead to any dramatic improvements in civilian health; the overall impression to be gained from an analysis of wartime health statistics is one of continuity rather than change.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages343-366
    Number of pages24
    JournalSocial History of Medicine
    Volume6
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1993

    Fingerprint

    World War I
    First World War
    Demography
    Survival
    civilian population
    health statistics
    Health
    Infant Mortality
    Nutritional Status
    living standard
    infant mortality
    Warfare
    Demographics
    Anthropometrics
    erosion
    infant
    peace
    continuity
    Winter
    Population

    Keywords

    • demographic impact
    • first world war
    • WWI
    • anthropometric perspective
    • demography
    • infant mortality
    • health

    Cite this

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    abstract = "During the 1970s and 1980s Jay Winter published a series of highly influential articles on the demographic impact of the First World War, culminating in his study of The Great War and the British People in 1986. Winter argued that the war led to a dramatic improvement in average living standards, and that the survival chances of most sections of the civilian population improved more rapidly than they might have done if peace had been maintained. This paper seeks to test the strength of Winter's hypothesis in three main ways. Section I examines the arguments which Winter himself put forward to support his view that the war led to unanticipated gains in the survival chances of older men, women, and infants. Section II focuses more directly on Winter's claim that the war led to a systematic erosion of pre-war differentials in infant mortality. Section III utilizes evidence relating to children's heights to examine the extent to which the war led to improvements in children's ‘nutritional status’. The paper's overall conclusion is that the war did not lead to any dramatic improvements in civilian health; the overall impression to be gained from an analysis of wartime health statistics is one of continuity rather than change.",
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    The demographic impact of the First World War : an anthropometric perspective. / Harris, Bernard.

    In: Social History of Medicine, Vol. 6, No. 3, 1993, p. 343-366.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    KW - WWI

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