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The Immediate Treatment of Frostbite in the American and German Armies in Europe During World War 2: An Historical Perspective
  1. RJ Defalque, Professor Emeritus1,* and
  2. AJ Wright, MLS, Associate Professor Director1
  1. 1Department of Anaesthesia, University of Alabama in Birmingham School of Medicine, Jefferson Tower 965, 619 19th Street, Birmingham, Alabama, 35249-6810, U.S.A
  1. History of Anaesthesia Section Department of Anaesthesiology Library, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 619 19th Street South, JT965, Birmingham AL 35249-6810 205 975-0158 205 975-5963 ajwright{at}


This historical account, based on a survey of 250 medical articles written during and immediately after World War II, reviews the immediate treatment of frostbite in the American and German ground troops in Europe from 1941 to 1945. The American management was simpler and more conservative than the elaborate treatments reported in the German publications. Because the German patients’ injuries were more severe than those of the American soldiers and because neither Army carried out strict clinical trials nor prolonged follow-ups, it is impossible to judge what treatment was superior.

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