Nurse’s Role during the Spanish Influenza

European streets erupt with praise each evening as civilians stand on their balconies and clap for the medical professionals who labour endlessly to save patient after patient rushed through the hospital doors. We can all agree that they deserve the honour and so much more.

One of the dominant heroes of the Spanish Influenza had to be the nurses, who risked their lives to save and/ or care for the victims of the 1918/ 1919 pandemic. Unfortunately nobody lined the streets, gave them a clap of honour each evening or praised their exhausting work. These silent heroes risked their lives with each patient they saw, fighting exhaustion and defeat each day in order to keep fighting the ravaging disease.

World War One:

Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Countess Sophie Chotek, about to set off on their visit to Saravejo on the 28th June, 1914.

The first world war began in the June of 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Bosnian Serb. Austria- Hungary, the Archduke’s country, then declared war on Serbia on 28th July 1914, and marked the outbreak of World War One.

In a world where most women were not even allowed to vote, thousands of nurses enlisted to work as Army Nurses in the war and play their part to support their country.

In most of the countries involved in World War One, all able- bodied men either enlisted or were drafted to fight in the war. This of course meant that most of the doctors were away from their home countries when the subsequent pandemic eventually broke out.

The Spanish Influenza:

Influenza Epidemic, Mill Valley, California, 1918 (C.Raymond)

The origins of the Spanish Influenza is unknown, but the first recorded incidence of the flu was among the American military in the spring of 1918. As soldiers from one country came into contact with soldiers from other countries and then went home to their families, it was extremely easy for the flu to be passed from person to person, and the global spread was exponential.

The first strain was quite mild, with most patients suffering the usual flu- like symptoms, and very few deaths. The second strain, however, came in the autumn of 1919, and this strain was a lot deadlier, causing the high mortality rate that history books write about.

It is estimated that over 500 million people were infected by the Spanish flu, while 20 – 50 million people were killed by it, and is known as one of the most dangerous pandemics in history.

Lack of Doctors:

A nurse tends to a patient in the influenza ward at Walter Reed Hospital during Spanish Influenza

Unfortunately most of the doctors were fighting as soldiers or working as Army paramedics in the war, and were completely unable to help with Spanish Influenza patients in their home countries.

Civilians were in desperate need of doctors, and soon the responsibility of the medical care of patients fell on the nurses.

Women during the Spanish Influenza:

Health workers prepare to retrieve victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic in St. Louis

The nurses of 1918/ 1919 are not given enough credit for the work that they accomplished during the Spanish Influenza. They worked tirelessly in hospitals as well as home visits, seeing as many as forty cases in a day, consistently putting themselves in danger with each patient they saw to and cared for. As there were no antibiotics or medicines for their patients, nurses made sure the Spanish Influenza victims remained hydrated, in bed and isolated to reduce infecting others who may not have yet had the disease.

Before the Spanish Influenza, the necessity for nurses was limited and they were underappreciated, their choice of profession was looked down upon and they were not seen as very important. However, by the end of the Spanish influenza, nurses had been on the forefront of the pandemic and people began looking upon them as an invaluable asset to society. They were seen as a necessary part of life and extremely important to the field of health care.

Because of these tenacious and courageous women from one hundred years ago, the nurses of today are celebrated and clapped for alongside all other medical professionals because of their hard work and endless dedication to saving lives and caring for who ever walks through their hospital doors.

10 Historical Movies to Watch in Quarantine

Is there anything better than a good long and emerging historical movie with popcorn? Certantly not!

This is the perfect time to enjoy one of these masterpieces digging into our past.

From Ancient Rome to the Second World War, gripling stories are told on the silver screen

Here are a few of the very best ones you can watch or rewatch in your quarantine.

10. Lawrence of Arabia

This classic movie tells the tale of legendary british intelligence officer T.E Lawrence better known as “Lawrence of Arabia” and his epic quest to stage a Arabic revolt against the Turkish Ottoman Empire during The Great War.

Year: 1962

Length: 216 min

Imdb: 8,3

9. Hacksaw Ridge

This WW2 era flick tells the tale of young medical student Desmond T. Doss and his experience as a US soldier during the Pacific war. Doss refused to carry a gun, vowing instead to save his fellow wounded soldiers. During his stay at Iowa Jima he saved 75 lives.

Year: 2016

Length: 131 min

Imdb: 8.1

8. The Kings Speech

This Oscar winning flick tells the story of British wartime monarch George the 6th, and his unexpected rise to head of the British Empire. The movie follows the kings struggle to combat his stuttering and deliver a speech to the British people in the darkest days of the Second World War.

Year: 2010

Length: 119 min

Imdb: 8

7. Master And Commander

This movie tells the fictional story of a Royal Navy vessel during the Napoleonic Wars and its mission to hunt down a French warship. Though the story is made up the movie gives a great glimpse of the life aboard a warship of the era.

Year: 2003

Length: 138 min

Imdb: 7.4

6. Das Boot

This movie tells the other side of the Second World War, from the German perspective. The setting of the film is life in a German submarine deep under the sea and we get to experience the stress, terror and boredom this creates for the crew.

Year: 1981

Length: 149 min

Imdb: 8.3

5. Braveheart

This epic movie tells the story of Scottish national hero William Wallace. A knight who led a mass revolt against English overlordship in the early 14th century. A great medieval epic with torture, war and amazing speeches.

Year: 1995

Length: 178 min

Imdb: 8.3

4. Gladiator

Gladiator tells the tale of fictional Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius and his fall to gladiator. The movie includes real historical Roman emperors like Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Not a true story but a great ancient movie flick with amazing gladiator battles.

Year: 2000

Length: 155 min

Imdb: 8.5

3. Downfall

Downfall tells the story of the very last and desperate days of the Third Reich. We follow life in a destroyed and besieged Berlin as the Soviet army draws closer to the “Fuhrer bunker”. We also witness the Fuhrer’s last desperate and vain attempts to fight to the end.

Year: 2004

Length: 155 min

Imdb: 8,2

2. Troy

Troy is the movie adaption of the legendary epic by Greek author Homer. The story follows Hector, Agamemnon, Achilles and all the other great characters of the epic during the assault on the ancient city of Troy.

Year: 2004

Length: 163 min

Imdb: 7.2

1. 12 Years a Slave

This tragic Oscar winning movie tells the tale of northern free black man Solomon Northrup, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery while on a music tour in Washington. The film follows his 12 year fight to return to freedom.

Year: 2013

Length: 134 min

Imdb: 8,1

How the world of sports reacted to the Spanish Flu

While people were celebrating Armistice Day in autumn 1918 an extremely deadly virulent strain emerged behind the scenes.

After the end of World War I a hidden enemy continued killing millions of people over the globe leaving over 50 million dead bodies behind.
Spain was the first to report the outbreak of the world wide epidemic and since then the causing virus is known as the Spanish Flu.
We still do not fully understand the origins of the pathogen and how it developed itself into a human virus but one thing is certain. It spreaded unexpectedly fast and infected half a billion people.

American Red Cross care for infected during “Spanish Flu Epidemic ” 1918

We can see COVID-19 spreading with the same speed and learning from the past strict measures made by governments all over the world seem reasonable beside the fact that its morality rate is nowhere near to Spanish Flu’s. The best way to prevent the spreading of the virus is minimalizing contact between individuals. We could not find a better place crowded with thousands of human individuals than a sport event. Thankfully the world of sports reacted to the outbreak of coronavirus as fast as possible.

The cancellation and postponement of sporting events are a common occurrence nowadays. Almost every major events from F1 Grand Prixs through the NBA season to the Olympic games were affected. But if cancelling great gatherings is the only way stopping viruses getting from one human to another why didn’t the sport associatons reacted to the Spanish Flu as fast as it was needed? Or did they eventually?

The Spanish Flu was highy underestimated all over the world until it started killing men, women and even children in great numbers.

At the time MLB was the largest American pro league. According to FANBUZZ, „(MLB) season ended shortly before the worst of the flu pandemic during the fall of 1918. Public health was so bad by the time the 1918 World Series came around, though, Major League Baseball went so far as to ban the “spitball” from being thrown.” Doctors were fighting in Europe and healthcare was in very poor conditions and the virus killing more and more people teams started to step back from games and the season came to its end. But with the Montreal Canadians and the Seattle Metropolitans having the same record they are remembered as co-champions.

Highschool and college football games, soccer and boxing matches were cancelled and public gatherings were banned in general.

Despite all the problems caused by the war and the flu, in 1920 the Belgian Olympic Committee decided to hold the Olypic games mainly to fade bad news about hunger, famine and bad post war circumstances. They sent out invitations to the games of the Seventh Olympia to be held in Antwerp.
They excluded the members of the late German alliance.

Polish legionist playing soccer 1918


Both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour De France were held in 1919 over the ruins of Europe the war left behind. The 1919 Tour De France is still known as one of the toughest race ever held simply because of the lack of usable roads and the number of finishing riders were the lowest in history with only 10 competitors finishing the race.

With that in mind it we can understand easier why cancelling sporting events is a reasonable and right step to do in these circumstances we are all in.
Learning from the mistakes of the past is vital for our future especially during the times of an epidemic.

How Does US Elections Work During a Crisis

The United States have been in an election since early 2019 and is in the midst of picking the Democratic Party’s candidate to run against Republican president Donald Trump. This has meant rallies, town halls and polling stations for well over a year now.

However something has disrupted this process. The sudden mass arrival of COVID-19 on the US mainland. No longer can people meet in mass gatherings as an election like this demands.

Talk has even been made of President Trump’s ability to completely cancel the election and postpone it.

This begs a crucial question. If this turns into a larger health, economic and political crisis what will happen to the US election. Set to continue until the final election day in november.

To figure this out we can look at how previous national crisis in the US impacted presidential elections.

9/11 terrorist attacks 2001

Statue of liberty in front a smoking Manhattan September 11. 2001

The 9/11 terrorist attacks are a much different crisis than the one facing America currently. However like all crisis and elections they depend greatly on how the present leadership handles the crisis. 9/11 is a good example of how the president’s actions affect a reelection.

The september 11. terrorist attacks on the twin towers occurred on the exact same date as a municipal primary election was set to take place in New York. However the state legislature passed an emergency bill in order to postpone the election by two weeks. Giving us an example of what a crisis might directly do to a election.

It was also reported in 2004 that some parts of the Bush administration were talking about postponing the federal election in case of a another terrorist attack on US soil. However that idea fizzled away and was eventually given up on. However it shows the possible massive effects of a great crisis on US soil.

It was widely reported, in the aftermath of Bush’s election win in 2004 that the reason for President Bush´s win, was his handling of the 9/11 crisis and the following war on terror. Showing himself in the eyes of many as a strong and capable leader in face of a great national crisis. Therefor the crisis of 9/11 can be said to have had a direct political effect on the election, giving Bush 4 more years in office. As it might also have, positive or negatively, as President Trump’s handling of the crisis become apparent.

1918 pandemic

Emergency hospital during influenza epidemic, Camp Funston, Kansas, 1918

The world is a much different place more than 100 years after the 1918 pandemic. The pandemic in itself is also very different. The election in 2020 is also very different than the one americans faced in 1918. However this is perhaps the crisis in american history that resembles the current crisis most.

During the 1918 election, some incumbents were criticized for campaigning throughout the country, and not being in Washington to deal with the crisis. Therefore many politicians chose to communicate with voters through letters or press releases instead. One 1918 candidate even campaigned by greeting voters from his car, and drove around to voters.

The response to the virus varied greatly from area to area, however qurateenes, like today, were in effect in many places. In some areas local officials and campaigns made deals to open primary polling places and for speeches by the candidates to be given in front, as to boost the candidates changes. In an attempt to use the crisis for political gain, as we might very well also see today.

The national quarantine was lifted for 5 days before the election in november and politicians were allowed to campaign in those last days. However after the election infections and deaths climbed rapidly, even though voter turnout was very low.

Wars 1776 to 2020

A destroyed Japanese H8K flying boat is examined by men of the US Army – October 24, 1943

The United States have been involved in a fair share of wars since the American Revolution. The war of 1812, the US Civil war, WW1, WW2 and Vietnam. Just to name a few. In common for them all is that no matter how close or far the fighting was from the continental US, presidential elections kept on.

However these wartime election did not come without problems. One of the largest, being how soldiers could vote while being on the battlefront. It became a large issue during the US Civil War and fears about voter fraud plagued the debate. However eventually military suffrage was implemented. The controversy did not stop there though as endless debate was had about the effects this had upon the elections.

History and today

Donald Trump during his 2016 election campaign

So if history teaches us anything, it is that the election will likely not be cancelled. As America has seen a variety of different crisis before, but elections have kept on.

However what will likely happen is that the election will not occur without problems and conflict. Like 9/11 the crisis will impact voters view of the president because of his handling of the crisis. Like the 1918 pandemic more people might contract the virus when voting. Like America’s wars a logistical nightmare might arrive as people will have to vote from home in much greater numbers.