Experiencing Trauma Before Trauma: Posttraumatic Memories, Nightmares and Flashbacks Among Finnish Soldiers

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This chapter discusses the appearance of trauma symptoms among the Finnish soldiers of World War II. Kivimäki analyzes three kinds of sources: wartime psychiatric patient files, war veterans’ dream reminiscences and war-related fiction movies in the postwar era. These materials reveal that posttraumatic memories, nightmares and flashbacks were a wide-spread phenomenon already in the 1940s, although the concept of trauma was not yet developed within Finnish psychiatry. The chapter suggests that traumatic symptoms are not simply born out of psychiatric paradigms, but that the culture that shapes and produces the symptoms must be understood more broadly. In the end, Kivimäki proposes the concept of experience as a move forward in the historical analysis of human reactions to trauma.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTrauma, Experience and Narrative in Europe after World War II
EditorsVille Kivimäki, Peter Leese
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783030846633
ISBN (Print)9783030846626
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in the History of Experience
ISSN (Print)2524-8960
ISSN (Electronic)2524-8979


  • dreaming
  • history of experiences
  • trauma
  • military psychiatry
  • movies
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3


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