The years 1919 to 1939 saw many important advances in the history of medicine. World War One had acted as a stimulus for medical progress which had continued post-war. The same was true for the era after World War Two.

Many advances had been made up to 1919 but knowledge on how germs caused infections and disease, did not mean that society had cures available. At the end of World War One, 20 million people in Europe died of flu – scientists knew what caused flu but had no cure for it. Better public health schemes existed in Britain but many of the poor in society were badly affected by diseases associated with lack of basic hygiene.

Between 1919 and 1939, the expanding use of technology and improved scientific techniques improved medical care. X-ray machines improved during these 20 years and in 1931 powerful electron microscopes were invented which meant that the body could be explored in much greater detail. The advent of insulin to combat diabetes was also a vital medical advance.