Recycling the disabled

Army, medicine, and modernity in WWI Germany

By Heather Perry

Recycling the disabled

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8924-4
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: August 2014
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History of Medicine, History, History of medicine, HISTORY / Military / World War I, MEDICAL / History, Germany, Medicine / History of medicine
  • Series: Disability History


Recycling the disabled: Army, medicine, and modernity in WWI Germany examines the 'medical organisation' of Imperial Germany for total war. Faced with mounting casualties and a growing labour shortage, German military, industrial, and governmental officials turned to medical experts for assistance in the total mobilisation of society. Through an investigation of developments in orthopaedic medicine, prosthetic technology, military medical organisation and the cultural history of disability, Heather Perry reveals how the pressures of modern industrial warfare not only transformed medical ideas and treatments for injured soldiers, but also transformed social and cultural expectations of the disabled body - expectations that long outlasted the war.

This book is ideal for scholars and students interested in war, medicine, disability, science and technology, and modern Germany.


'Heather Perry's Recycling the Disabled is a welcome and much needed addition to the historiography of Germany's First World War experience. For a non-expert in the new field of Disability History in specific and medical history in general, this book serves as an excellent entry point and a fine addition to any collection on German society in the grip of Total War.' - Brendan Murphy, Department of History, University of Sheffield, June 2016

'This book is an important contribution to the historiography of World War I and should hold particular interest for historians of medicine and of technology.'
Lisa J. Pruitt, Middle Tennessee State University, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Volume 90, Number 4, Winter 2016

'This book is a useful part of a growing literature on rehabilitation in World War I.'
Sanders Marble, San Antonio Texas, German History Table, Volume 35, Issue 4

'This is an important book.very informative and makes an excellent contribution to ourcollective knowledge.'
Emmeline Burdett, University College London, H-Disability, November 2017


Introduction: War and medicine in World War I Germany
1. Healing the disabled: The re-orientation of German orthopaedics
2. Re-arming the disabled: WWI and the revolution in artificial limbs
3. Rehabilitation nation: Re-membering the disabled in war-time Germany
4. Inventing disability: Re-casting the 'cripple' in war-time Germany
5. Recycling the disabled: The mobilization of the wounded in war-time Germany
Conclusion: Mobilization, militarization, and medicalization in WWI Germany


Heather R. Perry is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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