Did you think the recent Invictus Games, held for wounded, injured and sick service personnel, was a new idea? The First World War brought disability under a public spotlight – and one of the ways it did so was through sporting events.
As it is Disability History Month, an annual event which creates a platform to focus on the history of disability and the social impact of disablement on individuals across time, it seemed the perfect opportunity to focus on this sports event. In this post I will concentrate on the aftermath of the First World War, particularly the self-driven activity of disabled war veterans.
With the current focus on the First World War it is easy to forget that consequences were felt far beyond the 1914-1918 conflict, into decades and generations. One of the easiest things to overlook is the number of men, and indeed women, injured in the war who had to live their daily lives with physical and mental impairments as a consequence. Servicemen and civilians were directly and indirectly affected by the conflict. Both in the trenches and on the home front, from the predictable gunshot wounds to tropical diseases, from explosions in munitions factories to zeppelin raids. Continue reading »