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The Enemy Within

By schappegirl2012 Oct 13, 2012 1420 Words
Ashley Schappe
“The Enemy Within”
Christine M. Kreiser
Article Review #1.2

“The Enemy Within” by Christine M. Kreiser provokes the challenge faced with the Spanish outbreak in 1918 with the Influenza flu. It was a global crisis because from September 1918 and June it pandemic killed 675,000 Americans. In this article, the author examines the castrophe and the mostly futile efforts to combat it. This disease provokes the alarm that influenza affected mainly healthy people who are young, whom worked in the industry, tended the stick and fought war. US is in war with the central powers, meanwhile they're neglecting to prepare and take cautions and precautions towards the enemy within which is the flu. The excerpt question that Christine M. Kreiser is trying to make a point to is In the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis, can a government protect the welfare of its citizens at home while rushing millions of troops to battlefields half a world away? In 1918 America faced just such a challenge. Health services were quickly overwhelmed while the U.S. government struggled to meet its obligations to provide men and materials for World War I. With the war going on the United States focused on the war and the Armed forces instead of the epidemic flu disease. The main point that this author’s article is trying to get at is “The flu lurking in the midst of this patriotic fervor, however, would prove far more lethal than trench warfare and poison gas.” Kreiser portrays the affirmation of the Influenza in 1918 during World War I when the Influenza flu disease was in effect. Lastly, in the article itself General John pushed to build up the troop’s strength, Rupert Blue who thought the outbreak was possible, the flu pandemic mitigation where quarantines were enacted with the interaction of the influenza disease and focus on the nation at war.

Rupert Blue was an American physician and soldier who was appointed the fourth Surgeon General of the United States from 1912-1920. He was aware that an outbreak of the Influenza flu was however possible. In that instinct he was given 10,000 dollars to continue and do further research but he denied the request that they offered him in July 1918. This was the ignorance on the governments and the government’s official’s behalf and all he did was tell people what to avoid and gave them gauze masks. In all the honesty, the government officials were not seen wearing that protective gear and no one took it seriously through the aspect of this flu that was going on during the war. The government had took their part into consideration to enforce the dangers and the outcomes of the flu but no one forbidden the deadly flu germs it caused. This devoted the investigating claims that it brought through that was manifested in the states under a German –held patent.

Then, there comes through the quarantine due to the flu had spread rapidly from military camp sites. But the director of the city’s Health and Charities by the name of Wilmer Krusen declined. Quarantines were regularly enacted during the terrifying polio epidemic in 1916. There were two basic components that insisted for this to be denied, which were the ignorance of the government do to the required research of the flu. This left the public’s head in the clouds and from the dangers at hand. Then the other reason behind this is that the idea was shut down due to the fact that there was a parade being held in Philadelphia as a fundraiser. This was used to cash in money to fund for the war. After this parade had happened, six hundred thirty five new civilians cases came about and one hundred and seventeen deaths from all the 200,000 spectators who came to the parade. General John was the commander in chief of the American forces in Europe. He pushed all his might to build up troop strength. The belief was that the flu wasn’t the only obstacle that was happening at this point it had to deal with at war. At the beginning of the war their weren’t enough troops because of British and French lines. Pershing needed more men and more materials for this were but the fact behind this was that most people had the disease of Influenza. The request for the troops were quite frankly in great demand by General Pershing in the rate of 250,000 troops per month even though the flu was going through the troop’s ships. Those who survived simply spread the disease at the front line for everyone else to inherit it and spread it on.

The public itself downplayed the seriousness of the Influenza flu and focused on the more enemies of a nation at war. At the end, everyone just gave up and put the flu behind to winning the war. Nothing could stop a disease that infected everyone in the battlefields, and the public for weeks and carried of thousands of people in life. Some people fought through and died and others caught the flu but then spread it to everyone else. By the end of 1918, the deaths from the flu have raised greatly in the knowledge of influenza and the way it works. The people who were exposed to the flu however developed the immunity to the disease but didn’t have the lasting regrets from what the disease caused. Researchers have said “it’s probably impossible to prevent an outbreak of the flu, but it’s possible to prepare for if the government agencies agree on a plan of action to prevent it from for coming.”

"Carol R. Byerly presents a history of the epidemic in the U.S. Army that incorporates several distinct themes. First, the influenza epidemic was inextricably linked to the war. Indeed, the war created the epidemic by producing an ecological environment in which the virus could thrive and mutate to unprecedented virulence. Second, army medical officers were caught between their responsibilities to protect the health of soldiers and at the same time carry out the Wilson administration's war aims. Such dual responsibilities were often in conflict; the prevention of disease sometimes clashed with the goal of having the strongest possible military force. Third, there were inevitable pressures within and without the federal government as Congress, the public, and medical officers sought to shape policy. Finally, cultural ideologies and political interests shaped the experience of medical officers and their subsequent interpretations of events. Confidence in their ability to fight infectious disease proved illusory. Consequently, they ignored the epidemic as a meaningful event, excised it from the national memory, and thus preserved a faith in their ability to control disease during war. The selective memory of events also glorified the American role in World War I, which was drastically overstated.

“The flu lurking in the midst of this patriotic fervor, however, would prove far more lethal than trench warfare and poison gas.” In essence to this, the author states that the disease of the flu tended the sick people and fought the wars and insisted on an effect for the disease. However, the flu was to be cause by bacteria and there were no vaccines for the flu. The author states that at the end “The Enemy Within” focused on the more tangible enemies of a nation at war rather than the Influenza disease. The author’s purpose of this article is to state that oldest specter was influenza and it invested many people in the engaging of war. The main idea of this whole article was to show how the troops dealt with this flu and it interfered with World War I.

Kreiser Christine M. “The Enemy Within.” American History, 2006. Byerly Carol R. The Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army during World War I. The American Historical Review, 2006. Molly Billings. “The Influenza Pandemic of 1918, 2005. (assessed October, 2012)

[ 1 ]. . Christine Kreiser M.,”The Enemy Within”, American History, December 2006, pgs.22, 24-26, 28-29. [ 2 ]. Ibid.
[ 3 ]. Ibid.
[ 4 ]. Molly Billings, “The Influenza Pandemic of 1918,” RDS, (assessed October 2,2012) [ 5 ]. Christine Kreiser M.,”The Enemy Within”, American History, December 2006, pps.22, 24-26, 28-29. [ 6 ]. Carol Byerly R., The Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army during World War I (The American Historical Review,2006) pp.214-215

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