Breaking

Women at War seen through rare photographs, 1939-1945


World War II changed the United States for women, and women in turn changed their nation. More than three hundred and fifty thousand women volunteered for military service, while twenty times more took up civilian jobs, including positions previously closed to them.

More than seven million women who were not wage earners before the war join the eleven million women already in the American workforce.

Between 1941 and 1945, an untold number moved away from their hometowns to take advantage of the opportunities of war, but many more remained, to conserve resources, build morale, raise money and fill jobs left by men Organized home front initiatives. who entered military service.

The US government, along with the country's private sector, instructed women on several fronts and carefully scrutinized their responses to the wartime emergency.

The most important message to women—that their activities and sacrifices would be needed only "for the duration of the war"—was both a promise and an order, suggesting that the war and the opportunities it created would end simultaneously.

Social customs were tested by the demands of the war, allowing women to benefit from shifts and make their own changes. Yet dominant gender norms provided ways to maintain social order amidst rapid change, and when some women challenged these norms, they faced harsh criticism.

Race, class, sexuality, age, religion, education and region of birth, among other factors, combined to limit opportunities for some women expand them to others.



Several hundred thousand women served in combat roles, especially in anti-aircraft units. America decided not to use women in war because public opinion would not tolerate it.

Although 400,000 women in the U.S. served in uniform in non-combat roles in the Armed Forces; 16 were killed by enemy fire. Many women served in the resistance in France, Italy and Poland, and in the British SOE and American OSS, which assisted them.



Other women, known as Comfort Women, were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II. The name "comfort woman" is a translation of the Japanese euphemism and a euphemism for the similar Korean word wanbu shofu meaning "whore(s)".

Estimates of how many women were included in Chinese sources vary, with numbers ranging from 20,000 to 360,000 to 410,000; The exact numbers are still being researched and debated.

Many of the women were from occupied countries, including Korea, China and the Philippines, although women from Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan (then a Japanese dependency), Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies), East Timor (then Portuguese Timor), and other Japanese-occupied areas were used for military "rest stations".

Stations were located in Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, then Malaya, Thailand, Burma, New Guinea, Hong Kong, Macau and French Indochina. A small number of women of European descent from the Netherlands and Australia were also included.

According to testimony, young women from countries in Imperial Japanese custody were abducted from their homes. In many cases, women were even coaxed into working in factories or restaurants; Once admitted, the women were imprisoned in rest stations in foreign lands.




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