Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Michael Faubion

Second Advisor

Dr. Friederike Bruehoefener

Third Advisor

Dr. David Fisher


The aim of my master’s thesis is to study how the United States’ Marine Corps recognized, defined, and treated mental health issues during the Great War and how this translated into the treatment of Marines by their peers and commanding officers. Similar to other countries that fought in the Great War, also referred to as World War I, the United States witnessed intense discussions about the psychological effects of war. The question of whether and how modern warfare affected troops’ mental health was addressed by all branches of the United States’ military. Yet, the issue of mental health in the Marine Corps has received little scholarly attention. To fill this gap, my thesis will analyze official Marine Corps’ documents such as protocols, orders, communiques, as well as medical reports, bulletins, and journals. In addition, it will gauge soldiers’ personal narratives such as diaries, letters, and memoirs. The analysis of these primary sources mirrors the approach taken by Joanna Bourke and is classified as a New Military History. I found a gradual shift within the Marine Corps towards acceptance of mental illness as an injury to be treated as opposed to cowardice. This was seemingly a gradual increase in recognition of mental illness as seen through various editions and publications of officer’s manuals, legislative actions, and medical journals and bulletins.


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