THERE are practical considerations and technical details about the use of skeletal traction in war fractures which need not be learned by costly experience. In view of the present international situation, the techniques of management of multiple fractures may be reviewed with profit by civilian as well as military medical personnel. The experience with fractures at the onset of the second world war in relation to the first world war emphasized the wisdom of George Santayana's remark that "those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it."
In World War II, shortly after the North African Campaign, surgeons in general and station hospitals of the European Theater of Operations were instructed by circular letters and directives from the Theater Surgeon to treat fractures of the long bones wherever possible by skeletal traction and balanced suspension. These instructions, which originated from World War II experience rather than civilian trends