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Disease, War, and the Imperial StateThe Welfare of the British Armed Forces during the Seven Years' War$
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Erica Charters

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226180007

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226180144.001.0001

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Flux, Fever, and Politics:

Flux, Fever, and Politics:

The European Theater of War

(p.86) Chapter Three Flux, Fever, and Politics
Disease, War, and the Imperial State

Erica Charters

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines 'regular' diseases of eighteenth-century armies: fevers and diarrhoeal diseases. It opens with an overview of the nature of disease in European campaigns, tracing how provisioning and logistical difficulties contributed to crowd diseases such as typhus fever and dysentery. The details of camp regulations and sanitation illustrate the measures taken by contemporaries to try to reduce the incidence of disease. Key to medical care during Continental campaigns, the nature of military hospital medicine is then examined, placed within the context of eighteenth-century civilian hospital medicine. The chapter concludes by examining the relationship between disease and public opinion, outlining contemporary ideas about the health of the general population and the use of disease to criticize military and political leadership. This chapter provides insight into the nature of eighteenth-century British political debates in Parliament and the public sphere, and also demonstrates that Europe was considered a foreign and insalubrious environment, similar to the Atlantic colonies. As a result, health concerns in Germany were politically fraught and were integral to debates concerning the planning and the conduct of European campaigns.

Keywords:   crowd diseases, military hospitals, public opinion, military medicine, European warfare, British Army

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