Women's Role During World War II
Length: 818 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
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World War II was the largest and most violent armed conflict in the history of mankind.
It has affected millions of people around the world both, directly and indirectly.
Even though half of a century separates us from the unforgettable event, it left horrible memories especially in those who saw, felt and experienced World War II which was waged on land, on sea, and in the air all over the earth for approximately six years. Whether it’s a battle, hospital, or holocaust, there are so many stories from the survivors, who can teach us not only about the profession of arms, but also about military preparations, global strategies and combined operations in the coalition war against fascism.
My interviewee went through a lot during World War II and sharing her amazing story left me evaluating her words for a long time, rethinking and still not willing to imagine the pain. She was one of the 150,000 American woman served in the Women’s Army Corps during the war years. They were one of the first ones to serve in the ranks of the United States Army. She recalls being teased a lot about being a young woman in a uniform but was very proud of it. Women finally were given the opportunity to make a major contribution to the national affair, especially a world war. It started with a meeting in1941 of Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers and General George Marshall, who was the Army’s Chief of Staff. Rogers asked General to introduce a bill to establish an Army women’s corps, where my interviewee, Elizabeth Plancher, was really hoping to get the benefits after the World War II along with other women. ( Since after World War I women came back from war and were not entitled to protection or any medical benefits. )
Mrs. Plancher was a strong-willed woman, dedicated to her goals. She was waiting for this day to happen and it did finally making many women happy. The bill was introduced in May, 1941. At first it failed to receive consideration but General helped to get the bill through the congress. After all the paper work, “auditions” were passed. Applicants had to be between 20-40. Elizabeth was 22 at that time. She was 5'4, about 120 lbs which suited the position. Only 1,000 women were accepted into the special Women's Army Auxiliary Corps ( WAAC).
She was trained for a couple of months. After training many women were sent to work as file clerks, typists, stenographers. Mrs. Plancher was not in any of this position. She was one of the women working directly with soldiers, fixing their clothing, shoes, making sure new supplies came in on time and in secret. Many soldiers had questioned her moral values and of many women that were attracted to military service and passed these beliefs on to their families at home. She says that these men will never understand what women are capable of, only if they are given a chance. Many rumors were passed that she was a prostitute and was sent to “keep men happy”. Mrs. Plancher said it was very hard to come back home and getting dirty looks from people instead of getting appretiation for what she’d done for her country.
I know that we can learn a lot from her story. It included many sad details about World War II. The women learned that their word at the front lines was frequently crucial to the success of men in the field. Women worked very hard and probably not only they wanted to help their own country, help win and stop the war, I saw that what Mrs. Plancher’s main goal was to show the society that women can do just as much as men and their dedication did bring the final step. Ultimately, more than 150,000 American women served in the Army during World War II. The overall philosophy and purpose of the Women's Army Corps was to allow women to aid the American war effort directly and individually. The concept of women in uniform was difficult for American society of the 1940s to accept. In a 1939 Army staff study which addressed the probability that women would serve in some capacity with the Army, Many men thought that women’s jobs would include those of librarians and waitresses. No men would ever imagine that battlefield would be filled with highly skilled workers from WACs , who eventually held, handled and carried their job with significant responsibility and many people doubted that women were capable of handling such jobs. The Women's Army Corps was successful because its mission, to aid the United States in time of war, was part of a larger national effort that required selfless sacrifice from all Americans. The war effort initiated large economic and social changes, and indelibly altered the role of women in American society who were admired all over the world.