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EpidemicsHate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS$
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Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198819660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198819660.001.0001

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The Great Influenza

The Great Influenza

(ii) Comparative Vistas—Beyond the Battlefields

(p.502) 23 The Great Influenza

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks whether Canada, Australia, and India followed the US pattern in their responses to the Great Influenza. These countries were involved in the war with heavy losses, but, as in the US, their civilian populations were beyond the battlefields and their militaries did not play a significant role in providing physicians, nurses, hospitals, and material aid to civilians suffering from the pandemic. They show patterns resembling the US’s charitable outpouring, especially in Australia, with heavy reliance on women. Canada differed slightly in that the charitable impetus was more top-down, and India differed further in that its response, like the Deep South’s, was principally centred on men’s organizations. In all these countries, the Great Influenza did not instigate blaming but rather proved to be a force for charity, self-sacrifice, and unity, bringing Muslims and Hindus together in India, even during a period of heightened antagonism between the two.

Keywords:   influenza, World War I, women, civilian role of military, Canada, Australia, India, Cape Town, New Zealand, charity

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