Women Played an Important Role in WWII and Were Changed Forever Because of Their Involvement Research Proposal

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The Important Roles Played by Women During World War II

The scope of World War II was unprecedented in its time and thus far

has yet to be succeeded by anything which remotely resembles it in such

capacities as its number of participants, the geographical range of its

impact or the sheer extremity of its horror and carnage. Likewise, there

has rarely been a catastrophic, man-made event on such a scale as to fully

re-calibrate the entire globe through its aftermath as occurred in the

postscript to this international conflict. This is the impetus which

drives this discussion on the oft-overlooked impact of war on women.

Throughout history, where war has been fought, the emphasis on combat roles

and administrative leadership responsibilities-both facilities

significantly and exclusively occupied by men-has far overshadowed the

supporting roles to which women have been relegated. The outcome is a

recollection of wars and heroics which quite often excludes, minimizes or

disrespects the contributions made by women. There is yet an even greater

injustice due for consideration which is the opportunity provided by

wartime conditions for a marked increase in the abuses also shown to women.

The basest instincts of inequality, sexual objectification and power

imposition would manifest in several examples of wartime roles for women

that were devastating and even deadly. Perhaps what emerges most clearlyDownload full Download Microsoft Word File
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form the discussion hereafter, which synthesizes a recollection of both the

opportunities and abuses facing women during the war, is the notion that a

conflict on such a scale inevitably impact everybody. While man sought to

actively limit the roles which woman could occupy in society, the totality

of war would make these limitations impractical and impossible. And as

pioneers, so many of the women who experienced, survived or sacrificed in

World War II endured great difficulty and suffering so that women today

could be entitled to equal service not just in the military, but in

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Women Played an Important Role in WWII and Were Changed Forever Because of Their Involvement Assignment

positions of public office, in positions of corporate leadership and in all

manner of occupation responsibility that, prior to the workforce shifts and

labor reorientation demanded by World War II, would have been considered


Economic factors in the years immediately preceding the war, Weinberg

(1995) reveals, would play a significant part in the mounting tensions that

ultimately produced the conflict. However, it is evident that these

economic factors would quickly unearth so a vast array of cultural tensions

as to push these issues largely to the forefront of events.[1] In

Germany, for instance, severe depression enabled Hitler to wrestle power

from legitimate governmental structures and to levy the support of his

people. His emphasis on imperial expansion and his scape-goating of the

minority populations which would soon occupy his death-camps throughout

Europe provided Germans with a means to escaping the confines of economic

stagnation while simultaneously realizing long-standing bigotry and

prejudice. Though the designs were quite different, the research conduced

here demonstrates that similar objectives made the undertaking of the war

effort beneficial to the United States. Though the attack at Pearl Harbor

and Germany's declaration of war on the U.S. both provoked the first direct

military intervention of the U.S., it may be assessed that the flagging

impact of Roosevelt's New Deal on the Great Depression ultimately demanded

a new means to transcending economic woes. Wartime industries and the

instantaneous job-creation of a military draft became the immediate boon to

American industries that was required to shake the nation from its

productivity slumber.

These parallels are important in helping us to understand the strange

dynamic between economy and culture which conspired to instigate the

broadness and severity of conflict in World War II. And as an underlying

premise to the discussion held here, it should be understood that where

oppression and abuse of a selected people exists, the women among them are

certain to suffer the firmest brunt of it. The sexual power dynamics

between the genders dictate that where men are victimized by oppression,

both they and their oppressors tend to victimize their women with greater

intensity. And by contrast, the observation in justice-oriented societies

of the extremity of bigotry in the world will tend to incline internal

reflection and reconciliation. Though on the surface, the increased

accessibility of public institutions to women in some contexts during World

War II would be a product of strategic necessity, it would bear with it a

change in core assumptions about women which must be seen as comparably


Essentially, the discussion here will reveal that women played

crucial and varied roles in the global conflict. And more to the point,

both the advances in opportunities and the terrible horrors which were

experienced by women during the war would help to establish the global

identity of the woman today as one deserving of equality and entitled to

protection against the worst abuses of which man is capable. Research on

the roles of women during World War II demonstrates a clear pattern in

which the records of Allied nations tends to be modestly progressive if not

reluctantly yielding to the demand for the elevation in the status of

women. In nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, the

war would be an inflection point in gender relations, with women truly

gaining access for the first time to military, civilian, labor and

professional responsibilities all culturally and psychologically associated

to male social and economic roles. In the Soviet Union and Poland, where

Marxist principle had taken firm philosophical root, there is an indication

that women were perceived in many capacities as being equally capable as

men in certain military capacities. Here, the record for progressive

equality was even more rapidly accelerated by World War II than in the


By sharp contrast, the impulses guided the Axis powers, distinguished

by aggressively dictatorial governmental structures and premises of strict

social control, would reflect an intensification of historical mistreatment

of women. Even as the German military, for instance, allowed women to be

elevated in civilian duties in the military and required a strong corps of

women to serve as SS guards in female barracks of the Concentration and

Death Camps, there is a clear history of sexual objectification and lurid

deviant abuse of female prisoners as will be discussed hereafter. So too

would this be the case with the Japanese, who would use aggressive and

terrible tactics of sexual dominion over occupied nations' women, both as a

show of power and a determination to inseminate foreign lands with its

ethnic seed.

Though the research here makes clear distinctions between the

behaviors of the Allied and Axis nations with regard to women, there is a

consistency across the boards in this discourse. This is based on the fact

that in all of the contexts to be here discussed, World War II would mark a

point of separation in which the experiences of women would enter into

transition. For many, this would mean a significant but measured

improvement of conditions and for others, it would be a historical low

point due for reflection and consideration in the interests of future

prevention. The discussion is largely founded on a synthesis of primary

sources emerging from newspapers and publications concurrent with the war

as well as interviews with many individuals who experienced, participated

with or served in the war effort. Some support is given by a number of

secondary sources which provide basic documentation on the details, events

and notable individuals who served in the conflict.

The Library of Congress provides us with access to some fascinating

primary documents concerning the history of our nation and the fighting men

and women who have defended it throughout. Military service, especially

prior to more recent moves to diversify the ranks by gender, has been

typically thought of as a male social or professional role. And indeed,

during World War II for example, our troops would be constituted largely of

men who had been drafted for armed combat. However, their efforts could

not have been possible without the support of the countless women who

volunteered their services to the war.

The jobs available to women both on the front and back at home would

not only be numerous, but they would be a lynchpin of America's success in

repelling advances by the Germans and Japanese on two separate fronts.

Transcripts providing interview content from female servicewomen are

revealing of this key role by identifying the gamut of opportunities

existent for women to help. Certainly, the most salient and important of

roles would be those played by women in the medical capacity. On the

battlefield as well as in hospital treatment and long-term care facilities

in differing war theatres and upon the return of soldiers to America, an

expansive civilian staff of war-time nurses would be constituted of active

female military personnel.

There were a great many additional roles available to women, as

reported in the interviews considered, as members of the support structure

for the war effort. The entertainment troops that worked with the USO

deployed women from all walks of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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