The role of women in history is a broad topic that embraces various aspects of life and deals with diverse manifestations of human activities. Wartime, as a narrow context, provides a significant spectrum of issues to cover, including the role of women in the armed forces. It is commonly accepted that during the war, men enter the army and leave their jobs to participate in warfare. Women of the industrial societies are expected to take men’s roles and work to maintain industries’ operations and provide supplies for war.1 Nonetheless, the role of women spread much more extensively than taking men’s jobs because many female soldiers entered the armed forces and actively participated in military operations. Despite a large amount of research on women’s role in history, the question of their participation in warfare is still insufficient. Moreover, there are multiple documents and studies devoted to the observation of prominent women’s biographies related to war.2 However, there is a gap in data concerning the inclusion of American women in military operations during World War II.
The overviewed context of the topic under investigation implies the need for a broader studying of the military role of women in war. World War II as the most researched war period that is rich in documentation and evidential data is chosen for the investigation. The research question for the study is twofold and includes the following: Were American women wanting to be involved in military operations during World War Two? Why or why not and what was their actual involvement militarily? As the questions demonstrate, the research will aim to generalize the findings of the existing scholarly literature and archival data to analyze if the American women’s worldview of 1941-1945 was encouraging to join the troops. In addition, the evidence demonstrating the actual involvement of women in World War II will be presented and discussed.
There is a significant range of literary sources available to collect and analyze data concerning women’s role in military operations in World War II. It is estimated that approximately 350,000 women “joined the Armed Services, serving at home and abroad” during the period between 1941 and 1945.3 Special women’s corps was initiated to attract more women to the front and improve the stability of the American position in the war. The propaganda and encouragement were actively applied in this period to stimulate public sentiments and involve more women in the army. The posters claiming the need for women to participate either in civil labor activities or in the armed forces serve as proof of the state’s endeavors in this respect.4 Although the majority of such posters encouraged women to take jobs, some demonstrated significant achievements in the front. Such journalists and photographers as Therese Bonney, Toni Frissell, Clare Boothe Luce, Janet Flanner, and many others contributed to the documentation of the war and facilitated the overall achievement of the USA in World War II.5
Therefore, the fact that American women’s participation in the industrial life of the state while men were serving in the army is more investigated than women’s military involvement justifies the need for specific research. It is claimed that American women whose feminist worldview encouraged them to be actively exposed to the realities of war were willing to participate in military operations in World War II. Current research and historical evidence will be used to answer the research questions and validate the thesis statement to contribute to the scope of research on the role of women in World War II.
Bellafaire, Judith A. The Women’s Army Corps: A Commemoration of World War II Service. Washington: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1993.
History.com Editors. “American Women in World War II.” Last modified August 21, 2018. Web.
Library of Congress. “Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers, and Broadcasters During World War II.” Web.
The National Archives. “It’s a Woman’s War Too!” Web.
Rupp, Leila J. Mobilizing Women for War: German and American Propaganda, 1939-1945. Princeton University Press, 2015.
- Leila J. Rupp, Mobilizing Women for War: German and American Propaganda, 1939-1945 (Princeton University Press, 2015), 4.
- “It’s a Woman’s War Too”. Web.