AN OLD ENEMY IN A NEW GUISE: THE ARMED FORCES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Keywords:armed forces, infectious diseases, Russian flu, Spanish flu, COVID-19
COVID-19 seemingly opened the issue of the militarisation of health, primarily due to the war narrative which accompanied crisis communication during the pandemic from its very beginning, but also due to the specific engagement of the armed forces in facing the various challenges that the pandemic posed to almost all countries of the world over time. However, as it usually happens during events that affect the entire planet, collective memory and historical knowledge become the first victims, and all possible historical parallels with previous, same or similar, situations and difficulties are erased from people's memories. The purpose of this review is to clearly indicate that infectious diseases are not a “new enemy”, that the role of the armed forces has been constant since the first recorded global infections, and that the armed forces have played a major role throughout modern history in developing ways and measures for repressing infectious diseases. Precisely taking into account the importance of the armed forces during pandemics of infectious diseases, we decided to choose three pandemics that left an indelible mark on the history of three different centuries - the Russian flu, the Spanish flu and the COVID-19, with special reference to the documented experiences of the armed forces of Serbia in selected periods. Literature review and content analysis of original and peerreviewed academic articles, institutional reports and media articles have been used for the purposes of preparing this review article.
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