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The current time is: 10/17/2017 7:18:27 AM
 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5935
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The Spanish Flu Pandemic and it's effect on the US in WW1
Posted on: 9/30/2017 8:10:42 AM
In the autumn/winter of 1918 the Great War in Europe was winding down and peace was on the horizon. The Americans had joined in the fight, bringing the Allies closer to victory against the Germans. Deep within the trenches these men lived through some of the most brutal conditions of life, which it seemed could not be any worse. Then, in pockets across the globe, something erupted that seemed as benign as the common cold.

The influenza of that season, however, was far more than a cold. In the two years that this scourge ravaged the earth, a fifth of the world's population was infected. The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children. It infected 28% of all Americans.

An estimated 675,000 Americans died of influenza during the pandemic, ten times as many as in the world war. Of the U.S. soldiers who died in Europe, half of them fell to the influenza virus and not to the enemy (Deseret News). An estimated 43,000 servicemen mobilized for WWI died of influenza. 1918 would go down as unforgettable year of suffering and death and yet of peace. As noted in the Journal of the American Medical Association final edition of 1918.

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[Read More]

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5935
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Spanish Flu Pandemic and it's effect on the US in WW1
Posted on: 9/30/2017 11:52:36 AM
In the fourth dreadful year of the war, as the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) assumed fighting strength and prepared their first great offensive against the Germans, the flu struck.

By the War Department's most conservative count, influenza sickened 26% of the Army—more than one million men—and killed almost 30,000 before they even got to France.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the Army lost a staggering 8,743,102 days to influenza among enlisted men in 1918. The Navy recorded 5,027 deaths and more than 106,000 hospital admissions for influenza and pneumonia out of 600,000 men, but given the large number of mild cases that were never recorded.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3295

Re: The Spanish Flu Pandemic and it's effect on the US in WW1
Posted on: 10/1/2017 3:01:12 PM
 Worth noting that Spain was not the origin point of the epidemic. On a personal note, my grandparents' generation certainly recalled the epidemic when I was a boy; it made quite an impression.

Cheers

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5271

Re: The Spanish Flu Pandemic and it's effect on the US in WW1
Posted on: 10/1/2017 7:22:29 PM
50,000 Canadians lost their lives to that flu pandemic. The US totals were about 500,000.

It was felt that the soldiers who were sick and returned home while ill passed the disease on to the general public.

But one fellow disputes that and suggests that the North American spread of the disease can be traced to US soldiers on their way overseas.


Quote:
The physical path taken by pandemic influenza in Canada was determined by the intensification of the war effort, not by its waning. Influenza did not spread from Europe to Canada with soldiers returning from the trenches during July 1918. Instead, the disease arrived in Canada from the United States in the second and third weeks of September with American soldiers on their way overseas to the battlefields of Europe. Once in Canada, the course taken by the disease was determined by the extension of the war effort and particularly by the mobilization of the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force.


His paper, published in the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association is interesting.

The author, Mark Humphries, traces the time frame of the spread of the disease and concludes that the flu did not arrive in Canada with the returning soldiers. The disease was already here before the start of the 100 Days campaign.

The returning soldiers exacerbated the problem during the mobilization for the Siberian campaign.


The Horror at Home: The Canadian Military and the “Great” Influenza Pandemic of 19181
Mark Osborne Humphries

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Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5935
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Spanish Flu Pandemic and it's effect on the US in WW1
Posted on: 10/2/2017 4:10:30 AM
GM George thank you for your interesting post.I remember doing this topic, some years back, on another forum.There we had several Canadians-one an ex Army Brigadier who pointed out the exact same solution to how Canada was in infected; but he was of the opinion that it was "returning" US soldiers via Canadian ports- who brought the disease into Canada.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5271

Re: The Spanish Flu Pandemic and it's effect on the US in WW1
Posted on: 10/2/2017 6:37:25 AM
There are a number of references to the first case of Spanish flu in North America being diagnosed at a military base in Kansas.

The AEF left for Europe using 6 US ports and 4 Canadians ports.

Some of the US soldiers who had contracted the flu may have brought the disease into Canada.

But there are other theories that the disease arrived in North America from China.

The flu had been reported in China in March of 1918.

Mark Humphries, the author of the last link that I posted, has also reported previously that the flu may have arrived in Canada with the thousands of Chinese labourers who were transported across Canada by train to Canadian ports where they would embark for the war zone in Europe.

From a National Geographic article of 1914:

[Read More]

So Humphries also identified China and Chinese labourers as a possible means by which the disease was transferred to North America.

The disease did travel from west to east across Canada in a matter of days.

BTW, those labourers were treated very poorly. Many did wind up in hospitals but when the disease was discovered among them, they were kept in camps under guard or even on the trains as it travelled across country.

Part of all of that was blatant racism, never mind the flu. Canadians didn't want Chinese to escape from the trains or the camps to live in Canada.

So I am not sure to which theory Mark Humphries now subscribes, US soldiers as the source or Chinese labourers or possibly both.

He has written a book on the subjects. Humphries is a historian at Wilfred Laurier University in Ontario.

He has also taken over the directorship of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS) from esteemed historian, Terry Copp.



Cheers,

George

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5935
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Spanish Flu Pandemic and it's effect on the US in WW1
Posted on: 10/2/2017 7:16:04 AM
Now I can see the light -the Chinese Labour Corps os course-now why I did I not plump for that as an extremely likely source-"age doth weary and the years condemn"


Quote:
Around 2,000 men of the Chinese Labour Corps died during World War I, most from the 1918 flu pandemic and some as a direct result of enemy action or of wounds received in the course of their duties. In all, an estimated ten thousand died in the war effort, victims of shelling, landmines, poor treatment or the worldwide flu epidemic.
Wikipedia

I have to assume that the British officers.NCO's and men would also been at risk. However that apart from a few thousand Chinese set against 50,000 Canadian deaths is quite another conundrum-could it be the Canadians were lacking in natural immunity by virtue of their lifestyle and environment.????

NB.British death toll was 228,000-a war weakened nation was perhaps at the root of this significant figure

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5271

Re: The Spanish Flu Pandemic and it's effect on the US in WW1
Posted on: 10/2/2017 9:25:47 AM
The Chinese death rate during the epidemic (in China) was not as high as in other parts of the world.

It is presumed that over the generations of dealing with influenza that some sort of immunity to certain strains had been developed.

Cheers,

George

 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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