For preview only. Get it at Amazon.com  #ad.


2010, Health  -   27 Comments
Ratings: 8.93/10 from 167 users.

After the Civil War more than half of the patients in mental institutions were veterans. In 1980 post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) became an accepted diagnosis for veterans with psychological wounds. Based on personal accounts of American soldiers whose physical and mental health was torn asunder by the shock and fear of bloodshed and PTSD, the documentary narrates the chronic effects of battle agony and post-traumatic anxiety on military personnel and people close to them throughout American history... from the Civil War through today's modern warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There's a lot of confusion about post-traumatic stress. What are some of the physical manifestations? Well, the hallmark symptoms are the agitation and being keyed up and on edge. And the problem with PTSD is that those symptoms don't go away when soldiers come back home. It's almost like a seizure where they don't have control, they don't know when it's going to happen, and they have to constantly plan so that if it does happen, they're in a place where they can recover.

So what about the people that don't get it? Is there anybody that you can honestly say was in a great deal of intense combat situations and comes back completely fine? Those folks are pretty rare. There's that mythology of the warrior that the only thing you should feel when you shoot an insurgent is recoil. But in fact, nobody is really unscathed unless you really have no compassion for human life. If you have a total disregard maybe the only thing you feel is recoil. Everybody else carries something with them.

In August 1943, General Patton slapped a young soldier who was hospitalized with nervous exhaustion. He was reported to have said: I won't have the hospitals cluttered up with these sons of bitches who haven't got the guts to fight. Send that yellow son of a bitch back to the front line.

More great documentaries

27 Comments / User Reviews

  1. DustUp

    Enjoyed reading all the comments so far. Unfortunately the propaganda regarding WW2 to prevent the Nazis from taking over still persists despite the available information if people would only review it. I know a front lines WW2 who bought German made VW mico buses for family transport some time after war, upon finding out what really went on and who was behind it. As Patton said, we were fighting the wrong enemy.

    It has long been my opinion that only old men should be allowed to fight in wars. Further, only politicians, lawyers, judges, and ceo's of companies that will directly benefit. That would slow the march toward war greatly. Unfortunately until the parents of the young and/or the young unhook themselves from the propaganda machine, they will continue to be cannon fodder; keeping the war profiteers in good stead.

    Hopefully you will be more successful than I have been in trying to get friends to turn off the TV propaganda machine which reinforces what indoctrination that occurs in school.

    On the other hand, how does one combat the indoctrination that occurs in the madrasas, the muslim schools? Knew one in college who was explaining to me how the Jews were expansionists and had plans to move into Africa and take over the North quarter center chunk and everything in between, including his homeland where his granddad had 100 wives. No doubt the usa was portrayed as the great satan to him as well since usa supplied aid and arms to Israel throughout most of its history ...although he never mentioned that since he was a fair bit wiser than some who got beat up for celebrating the Iranian Ayatollah taking of usa hostages during Carter's presidency. If we all of a sudden became passive, they would be emboldened. They want to take over the world and tell you to live under Sharia law, which is not compatible to the usa constitution.

    If you understand that, you will understand why the socialists and so called progressives view muslims more positively than Christians. Because the enemy of their enemy is their friend. Christians prefer the constitution as it is which declares freedom. Socialists and progressives are blocked from what they want to do by it and are forever nibbling away at it. Will terror attacks increase with gun control or subside? History, even recent history shows that most attacks occur in gun free zones.

    Until the rest of the world wants peace (truly) and wants to leave everyone else alone, as the usa should, then it seems we still need volunteers to man the lookout posts. To march into foreign lands under false pretenses, to maintain the petrodollar currency exchange system to continue to enrich the bankster elite who are the puppet masters, is absurd and will continue to create war. The only thing that saved Iran? They decided not to open their non-usdollar oil trading house. Saddam and Qaddafi learned the hard way.

  2. patrick

    I think this documentary need to be shown on public free TV.
    These soldiers go thru hell and never come back.
    Its a sad state for any human or enemy need to be in

  3. Pickerl

    You are a sorry SoB. Shame on you.

  4. Marc

    7 million Americans served during WWII. They must have picked the 24 whiniest of the bunch. I don't mean to minimize the horrors of war, or the sufferings of many. I was a few years too young for Vietnam but I remember knowing many who were there. At the time I remembered thinking not one of them was not messed up in some way, but no one was even close to these wretches and while my base of knowledge is minimal, they are all ok now, 40 years later. I don't doubt some are forever scarred, but this movie does a disservice to all that served. It makes it seem like no one after watching this miserable attempt at history, would be in their right minds to join the armed forces. I knew many WWII vets, many of them combat veterans and no one, not a one was even close to these depictions. A despicable attempt at journalism.

  5. Blaice

    It is heartbreaking to see all of the soldiers and their constant subjection to hell during, and after the war. I especially feel great sorrow for the men in WWII. They were most likely drafted, or felt it necessary to go, and it was all caused by one ineffably vile man.

    I believe the Iraq war was a travesty to all Americans involved, and possibly the most unnecessary "war" to date.. I will never, ever, allow my sons or daughters to enlist in the army.

  6. TedMuller

    My grandfather, who was deployed to the front line on 3 occasions in World War One told me this... "When you kill another human being, you're actually killing yourself".

  7. Eric Lawson

    Very well put together Documentary !Sad that so many are affected by wars !!!Glad my son never went !!!

  8. timbo

    why would you ever enlist as a soldier to fight wars, to be told what to do, when to go to sleep and when you can wipe your ass. Brainwashed people who need someone to tell them what to do, who need to give their life meaning to fight for a false 'cause'. Im sorry I cant feel sorry for 'soldiers' past or present, they didn't die for us, they died because they wasted their life. If everyone took heed of 'the greatest speech ever made' then we could all sit down with popcorn and watch the world leaders slaughter each other

    1. Psych3d

      A lot of people get told the wrong stories to lure them in... A lot of people are too poor (or poorly educated) to have a choice other than to get enlisted (it's food, it's money, it's a way to provide...)

      What disgusts me most is the people in power who decide someone else should go to battle for them... just to get the pr machine going... coaxing the general public into a state of fear and resolve... "We need this war to protect our country" ...

      In today's day and age, these barbaric ways of "solving problems" in the world is just too absurd to even think about...

      Welcome to the world behind the scenes...

    2. teresa smith

      Schools and colleges need dissenting war voices and ads to dissuade kids from enlisting. It is too easy to get kids from impoverished areas to take the bait for a promised education and to make something of themselves when they get out of the service. The majority are too shell-shocked with PTSD or physical impairments to have any hope of a "normal" life. Teach your kids that the fight isn't about patriotism but, in reality, about making money off these "legitimate" wars. There always has to be a boogeyman to bring in the money and our leaders will stop at nothing to instill fear in us all.

    3. Psych3d

      So, for you to blame soldiers for someone elses decisions is simply mind-boggling if you knew what was really going on in the world... the real psychopaths are pretty much safe in their office... and yet you don't seem to see that it is they who are the puppet masters... So please, educate yourself, or you too might make mistakes in life that are not really your fault to begin with... Ignorance... kills... and what doesn't kill you... leaves a scar...

    4. timbo

      'the real psychopaths are pretty much safe in their office... and yet you
      don't seem to see that it is they who are the puppet masters.'

      errrr yes i do, i totally agree (???) blame still goes out to the soldiers, who like you said make the poor decision and as I said, brainwashed

    5. Psych3d

      so, when you get brainwashed... are you still in control to make your own decisions? Because that is a contraction in terms...
      And that is what I mean by stating that people should be careful for blaming the soldiers.

      If a mad-man on the corner starts yelling "the end is near". Is that his own conscious and logical decision or does he have a disorder which pushes himself to do these things?

      The world is not as black and white as we would like to believe it is...

      And again, I never said they "chose" to join the army, I said some of them aren't left much of a choice (which is something completely different).

      Does that mean I say: "it's ok, if they kill someone, it's because they didn't know any better." No, that's not what I am saying either. But it is simply far to easy to blame them if they did...

      There's more sides to the coin than we can see...

    6. timbo

      well evidently no, thats why there are millions upon millions ready to give their lives for their country...

    7. Psych3d

      Well, o course, not every country is as free as any western country, this way, a whole lot of people are simply obliged to join the army (if they don't they will get jailed, one of the reasons we have "political immigrants" all over the world as well).

      In the end soldiers are (most of the time) just people.

      I'm not talking about the private "security" companies though, which is a whole other affair... hell, they get paid so good it's almost tempting to just go for a kill during the weekend and return by black-hawk on monday to witness the superball (so to speak). I guess there is plenty of sadist enlisted there... (with a wink...)

      All in all though... on whatever side of the warline you're at, nobody deserves to die for oil, for money, for a policy, for...

      unfortunately, the world today hasn't changed much in the past... several thousands of years... (give or take the periods of peace).

    8. tim

      Hi, I want to commend you on your eloquent and learned response to Edgeweller. The Vietnam war draft ended just as I came of age and I fear I would have been ignorant enough to have gone if drafted.
      I grew up pledging allegiance to the USA every day in school and being brainwashed by state schools about the glories of the country. I had no dissenting voices telling me the truth and the Iraq war was probably even worse in regards to the manipulation.
      Recruiters set up in the schools so as the victims could be lured in and lied to and seduced into serving the puppet masters as they came fresh out of being fed propaganda by the government controlled schools and once they are seduced into signing up they are little more than slaves. And the slavish main stream media pouring out very nuanced and not so nuanced Orwellian nationalistic propaganda themselves,
      I left the US 15 yrs ago ostensibly because I could no longer stomach to pay taxes that where then used to kill, imprison and destroy peoples lives both in and out of the USA, and amazingly it has gotten much worse than even me the cynic could have ever.
      Things look even clearer from afar and thank goodness for the internet and non mainstream sources of information. The myopic, power hungry, self-righteous and fundamentalist US Government truly is the Great Satan and by far the biggest risk to some form of world peace on this planet.

  9. sonibvc

    Amazing! Were they naive when they went there and signup for an army of a country that starts wars every 5 years or so?? What did they expect - That its like in the movies and video games??? How about the millions that died in all those wars and did not make that choice???? I do not feel sorry for them...not one bit! They had a shock and lost a few thousands...big deal!!! The victims in all those countries are millions and their relatives will never know peace!!!!

    P.S. The above does not concern the vets from WW2. They were the good guys and my heart goes out to them for their sacrifice to stop the Nazis!

    1. winston

      Meanwhile, the people who armed and backed the Nazis still run the world and profit from the blood of others. This War of Terror is based on lies. Nanothermite from 911 & the anthrax from a week later, both traced back to our own military labs, you dont need to be a genius to figure it out. Bush, Cheney, and the rest of them, Powell, Rumsfeld, etc., -should all be charged with treason and crimes against humanity.

    2. szeredai akos

      careful now. there are no good guys in war, there are only victors

  10. Horst Manure

    The trouble with a war you don't know who the enemy is the people you are fighting for or against..at least WW1 and 2 you have guide lines and I guess more motivate to fight.

  11. anthony

    I hated to read this week in Dutch,newspaper The Telegraaf'a woman whos son was slightlly wounded in Irak or afgan saying marines or service members shouldnt complain about PTSD. That article really got to me,not complain I guess she was the perfect mom following a platoon were her son was in in Dutch batt.on camera.Let her stay longer then 6 mo.a year or 2 3 then see what she says!

  12. szeredai akos

    you enroll into the army, from day 1 you are trained to be the most effective killing machine, you go blow people faces off as long as you have yours, and when it's over they expect flowers on golden pedestals surrounded by unicorn fart? people make decisions and they have to live with it.

    "i am a bad person" f--k yeah you are a bad person. you are the one who enrolled into the army, from day 1 you were trained to be the most effective killing machine, you blew peoples faces off as long as you had yours, and when it's over you expect flowers on golden pedestals surrounded by unicorn fart?

  13. dmxi

    my dad had to do three tours of 'N.Ireland' (with intrusions beyond the border) in the late 60s 'till early 70s( me dad died 2002, R.I.P....dad)... endured several 'lethal contacts', survived them all unscathed...except his most horrific moment: on duty for transporting laundry he was 'begged' by his mate ('X') to swap duty so he could meet up with his new girlfriend residing at that given destination... he done as requested. Was shocked later to hear, that exact that 'rover' was targeted by a 'rocket-assault'. His mate ('X') died by that contact in the exact position where my dad would have been placed/sitting!

    Next to that he was active on the infamous 'bloody sunday' (being an irishman himself; talking of conflict... I started to show interest into my heritage with 13/14... becoming an i.r.a sympathizer which led to my 'leaving-the-comfort-of-home' pretty early!)) which he wasn't 'too' proud of (in later years) due to brute unnecessary retaliation.... but he never showed signs of fatigue or PTSD... I wonder why? Maybe because 'violent outbursts' were classified (domestic or drug induced) different than today...? I can't speak for the US of A conflicts... but being put into battle, experiencing unjust behavior towards innocent (collateral) populace leaves blemishes on every 'intact soul'...

    1. Fabien L

      A guy I know who was in Kosovo told me you don't know what war is until you saw your friend get shot in the forehead right beside you and you've seen babies nailed to the front door of a house. It's no wonder these guys are traumatized for life.

    2. dmxi

      my wife is of serbian descent & most of my friends also...& i know of those stories....which i treat with the utmost caution as there is alot 'legend' packed into those 'grimm-story-tales'(pun not intended)....i say that out of experience!

    3. Fabien L

      My friend is a Canadian paratrooper without any link to the region, he was there with the U.N. force.

    4. dmxi

      well,then i hope he's well & PTSD free...seriously!