Historian reveals link between suicide and political crisisHistorians in the News
tags: politics, suicide, Julie Gottlieb, Munich Crisis
A link between major political and social crises and mental health has been highlighted as part of research by a historian at the University of Sheffield that is seeking to increase our understanding of suicide.
The study, led by Dr. Julie Gottlieb from the University's Department of History, reveals how there was a string of suicides triggered by fear of war as a result of the Munich Crisis of 1938, when whole populations were in a state of suspense and high anxiety, waiting to hear if they would be in war or peace.
Britain, France, Italy and Germany signed the Munich Agreement on 30 September, 1938, which betrayed Czechoslovakia and gave in to Hitler's demands for the Sudetenland, with Neville Chamberlain returning from Munich with the promise of 'peace for our time'.
The Sheffield study suggests the social impact of the crisis has been overlooked. However, there is clear evidence that almost everyone was absorbed and transfixed as it unfolded, and this was magnified by the media.
The worry over war from the air, being fitted for gas masks, and facing mobilization and evacuation made this a 'People's Crisis' and not just a story of diplomatic intrigue. The crisis also caused and certainly exacerbated mental health conditions. The months from the crisis to the outbreak of war in September 1939 were a 'war of nerves', according to the research. ...