I have no idea if the term "water-cure" is universally understood or
not by the general public. So just to make sure:
In the mid to late 19th century, hugh business was being done at mineral
springs at various places in the country. Saratoga, N Y was one of the most
dominant locations which capitalized on its multitude of springs. Beside
bottling the spring waters for drinking, there were spas where one could go
to get any manner of water related treatments for any sickness that could be
thought of. This was referred to as taking the water-cure.
In understanding the original meaning of the water-cure term which was
totally aimed at the curing of sickness and making a human being feel
better, the absolute depth of black humor and irony is then understandable
in the use of the term in its military application. It is kind of scary and
sickening when one puts the spirit of intent of the two actions next to each
Somewhere behind the thin smile of the cleverness of euphemism is lost the
reality of seeing what humans are willing to do to each other.
The Ephemera Archive for American Studies