Panel for a session at the Deutsche Historikertag
‘War is Good for Babies and Other Young Children’, or at least so said Deborah Dwork (1987) in her book on the infant and child welfare movement in England between 1898 and 1918.
The heavy burdens of infant mortality and non-fatal childhood disease were recognised for the first time by social reformers in industrialising countries during the generation before 1914, and programmes of public health intervention were launched in many countries. Dwork’s argument, in relation to England, was that enthusiasm for these programmes was more easily aroused and maintained in belligerent than in peaceful times. Arguments of ‘national efficiency’ – that child mortality and debility wasted the national stock of future workers and soldiers – acquired new force in countries grappling with ‘total war’ and its unprecedented demands for manpower. Read more and Source …