07/22/2017 (Sat) 15:57:39
Modern warfare doesn't limit itself to the front lines anymore. WWII is the prime example how the hinterland got it's own share of hardships.
The Italian infantry officer Giulio Douhet became the world's first recognized airpower theoretician with the publication of his book Command of the Air in 1921. Douhet declared, "The disintegration of nations [which] in the last war was brought about by [attrition] will be accomplished directly by . . . aerial forces."
Prior to World War II, psychologists and military theoreticians such as Douhet predicted that mass bombing of cities would create the same degree of psychological trauma seen on the battlefield in World War I. During World War I the probability of a soldier becoming a psychiatric casualty was greater than that of his being killed by enemy fire. As a result of this, authorities envisioned vast numbers of "gibbering lunatics" being driven from their cities by a rain of bombs. Among civilians the impact was projected to be even worse than that seen in combat. When the horror of war touched women, children, and the elderly, rather than trained and carefully selected soldiers, the psychological impact was sure to be too great, and even more civilians than soldiers were expected to snap.
This idea led to the bombing of cities by both sides in WWII. Pesky Italians I would break all their spaghetti in half. But actually everything went better than expected:
And yet, incredibly, the incidence of psychiatric casualties among these individuals was very similar to that of peacetime. There were no incidents of mass psychiatric casualties. The Rand Corporation study of the psychological impact of air raids, published in 1949, found that there was only a very slight increase in the "more or less long-term" psychological disorders as compared with peacetime rates. And those that did appear seemed to "occur primarily among already predisposed persons." Indeed, bombing seemed to have served primarily to harden the hearts and empower the killing ability of those who endured it.