The essay focuses on the way in which Italian Military High Command and Italian War Neuro-psychiatric services progressively dealt with what the British called, after the debacle of the Somme, the shell schock, i.e. posttraumatic desease. It analyses the wide debate on the "weird disease" that involved the most eminent psychiatrists and the main scientific Journals. The belief of a hereditary pathology was gradually set aside, so was the temptation to consider the berserk a coward. The source of the psychiatric diseases was progressively acknowledged in the atrocities suffered in the war even if post-traumatic disease was still considered, in many writings, only a temporary phenomenon, if not mere dissimulation at the end of the war.
Keywords: WW1; insanity of war; post-traumatic disease; military insubordination; war psychiatry.