Published: November 8, 2013

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created thousands of new combat veterans – but what is it like for those soldiers as they return home? How were veterans of America‚Äôs earlier wars treated, and what kinds of challenges did they face? Are veterans only as popular as the wars they‚Äôve fought in?¬†This episode of BackStory¬†examines the veterans’ experience across American history.

We¬†explore how the psychological impact of war was understood before ‚ÄúPost Traumatic Stress Disorder‚ÄĚ emerged as a diagnosis, and probe the symbolic place of Confederate veterans after the Civil War ‚Äď including their relevance for veterans of the United States military today. Plus, looking back to when veterans were exclusively male, we take a look at the changing expectations for soldiers‚Äô wives and mothers when the boys returned home.