Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

Categories: Health and Medicine

War is always death, pain, suffering and deprivation. It is quite clear that no one wants these already terrible things to be aggravated by diseases, and even "bad" ones. People suffer from venereal diseases both "in civilian life" and in the trenches, only the possibilities for prevention and treatment in such cases are different. How did they fight against STDs on the fronts of the Second World War?

Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

During the fighting, many men are away from their wives and girls. Therefore, the guys solved intimate problems in a simple, but not the most worthy way — by communicating with prostitutes or simply by entering into casual relationships with unfamiliar people. Soldiers and officers had different requirements for ladies of easy behavior, but they were ill with syphilis and gonorrhea on equal terms.

During the Second World War, 40 days were given for the treatment of syphilis. For a situation where every soldier counts, and doctors are needed to treat the wounded, a large number of infected people was a real disaster for the military unit. And what will happen if an epidemic breaks out?

Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

Both sides of the front were thinking about how to avoid mass infection with syphilis. The command of the Red Army and the Wehrmacht were looking for ways of prevention, both medical and propaganda. It is worth noting at once that the Soviet side was more successful in this struggle, although it was not easy.

It was not customary to raise this topic, because the Red Army soldier by definition was highly moral and conscious, and the image of the defender of the Motherland could not be discredited. But the fact that the problem is hushed up, it does not disappear anywhere and the situation on the "venereal front" was tense all the years of the war.

Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

The authors particularly focused on the fact that although we had patients with "bad" diseases, there were much fewer of them than the enemy, who was demoralized and mired in debauchery. If you believe the experts, then everything was very deplorable for the allies — what to take from the capitalists, unprincipled and disbanded.

A special, hitherto unseen medical specialty appeared in the Red Army — a front-line venereologist. Thousands of such specialists were sent to the war, who worked on all fronts without exception. These doctors were engaged not only in treatment, but also carried out explanatory work among the personnel, working closely with commanders and political workers for this purpose.

Another difficult task facing venereologists was to track the sexual contacts of soldiers and officers. It was important not only to treat, but also to find sources of infection so that the disease would not spread. They did not forget about the civilian population — whole "venereological detachments" of the Ministry of Health worked, which moved together with the troops to identify and treat patients among the local population.

Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

Since the times were very harsh, they did not stand on ceremony with those who caught venereal ailments. This was especially true for "light" patients, for example, with gonorrhea, which could be put into operation in a matter of days. They said that the patient was injected intravenously with boiled milk, which caused the body temperature to rise to 41 degrees.

After that ,a "cleaning" was carried out — the mucous membrane of the urethra was peeled off with a special probe. Of course, no one spent the necessary painkillers for the wounded on such irresponsible "soldiers of love", so during the procedure, the patient had to be held by four people. But even this is "flowers" compared to how syphilis was treated in The Middle Ages.

After such treatment, the patient was rapidly recovering, but the administration of natural needs for him for a long time became a real torture. Another method was less traumatic, but just as barbaric, when a mixture of turpentine and oil was injected into the urethra with a syringe. The infernal fluid caused a sharp exacerbation of gonorrhea and terrible pains, but after that the most neglected patient began to recover quickly. The procedure was applied to both men and women.

Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

Much less often, the sick were sent to the rear, to the hospital, for serious treatment. But the partisans did not have the opportunity to send every fighter with an old clap "to the mainland". In forest detachments, those who, because of their weakness for the opposite sex, put their health, their own and their comrades at risk were often shot.

Historians of the Great Patriotic War know a case when the commander of a partisan detachment wrote a report in The Ukrainian headquarters of the partisan movement, in which he outlined an egregious case. A certain partisan Evdokia Kuznetsova "awarded" several fighters with a venereal disease. It is known that this woman was accused of aiding the enemies and was shot.

In the German army, the issue of venereal diseases was first allowed to take its course, which was later very much regretted. The German historian Franz Seidler wrote that "bad" diseases rapidly attacked the Wehrmacht army and began to mow down soldiers and officer soldiers right and left. If you believe this author, 706 thousand servicemen were ill with STDs during the war years! It is unlikely that this figure claims to be accurate, because many were ashamed of their ailments and secretly engaged in self-medication.

Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

The first measure to combat high morbidity was sanitary points. They were organized in every locality where German troops were stationed. Soldiers and officers, having visited women, were obliged to appear at such a point and undergo preventive treatment. It consisted in thoroughly washing the genitals with a soap solution.

Of course, soap was not enough to stop syphilis and gonorrhea, besides, even disciplined Germans often ignored medical visits after sexual contact. Then propaganda began to work — leaflets and brochures about the rules of prevention began to be distributed among the soldiers. They talked about the need to use condoms and even about the benefits of absolute abstinence.

The military was also warned that negligent attitude to their health, that is, hiding the disease from military doctors and commanders, is equated to intentional self-harm and is strictly punishable under the laws of wartime. For the first time, the patient was sent for treatment to venereological clinics, which were jokingly called "knight's castles". But they did not stand on ceremony with those who were ill again and were put on trial.

They did not talk to civilians at all — women in the occupied territories suspected of infecting German soldiers were shot without trial. But even this did not help to reduce the incidence. Only after seeing the futility of "fighting on the ground" did the Germans finally make the right decision and began to fight" bad " ailments comprehensively.

Front-line venereology, or How they fought with the consequences of military-sexual novels

Dermatovenereological clinics were opened in large occupied cities, such as Kursk, Smolensk, Lviv and Kiev, where both military and civilians were examined and forcibly treated. The population was examined almost completely, and the identified patients were closed in the hospital and meticulously treated in German.

Women who had undergone a course of treatment were registered and obliged to come to a doctor twice a week for an examination. It was impossible to ignore the checks — they were shot for it. Such measures finally gave a result and the incidence curve of STDs slowly went down.

Keywords: Hospital | Doctors | Red army | Germans | Syphilis | Front

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