Thus, . Huston unintentionally followed in the footsteps of Upton Sinclair. In writing , Sinclair described the horrid (and fictionalized) conditions of the Chicago meatpacking industry, hoping to inform the American public about the worker’s plight. Instead, he only generated concern about the meat readers were eating, prompting him to famously sayHuston’s similarly missed its mark. Instead of documenting the uplifting trend of new treatments for psychiatric casualties of war,
Another soldier suffered from amnesia. The narrator explains, This time, the doctor treated him with hypnosis, another experimental treatment that some psychiatrists had recently started to employ. After putting the soldier into a hypnotic sleep, the doctor prompted him to speak about the experience in Okinawa. The soldier trembled visibly as he related the battlefield horror that triggered the amnesia. When he was pulled out of the hypnosis, the documentary shows that the treatment worked: “Under the guidance of the psychiatrist, he is able to regard his experience in its true perspective as a thing of the past, which no longer threatens his safety. Now he can remember.” Again, instead of viewing this scene as a hopeful demonstration of new treatment, audiences wondered what hell could produce such psychological trauma to begin with.
The soldier’s joy at the successful treatment did not explain, for audiences unfamiliar with such psychological phenomena, how such a problem could manifest. The documentary ends with uplifting scenes from treated soldiers kissing their wives and enjoying a game of baseball, but these were not the images that viewers kept with them. Instead, they remembered the psychosomatically paralyzed soldier being carried into a room, the trembling amnesiac, and the incommunicable stuttering of a psychologically damaged man.
Roy Spiegel and John Grinker’s breakthrough study , which also looked at the psychological consequences of war, was allowed to circulate only among military psychiatrists and lawmakers for years, with original copies stamped “Secret” by army archivists, before it was eventually allowed to be published for the public.