War Meets Girl: The Roles, Responsibilities and Difficulties of England's Women in World War II

1795 Words8 Pages
War has always been a man’s world. But war that shakes the entire world cannot help but involve women. Twice in the early 20th century did England have to involve its fairer sex in the brutalities of warfare, but the second time-World War II- women became involved very early. A Mass-Observation Report early in 1940 said of women that “Now it is not only their men who ‘go’ or who are liable to ‘go’. Too often their children have already gone or other people’s children have been admitted under difficult circumstances into their homes” (Schofield 73). So many men were lost in the First World War that made the involvement of women necessary; no one ever thought for a second that women would not be needed if war broke out again (Crang 356). However, it is unlikely that they knew how badly women would be needed, or to what extent a women’s strength would be tested over the next six years. From military volunteerism to social volunteerism, all the way to conscription, refugees, rations, and having to prove themselves to males across the country, when war beckoned England’s women, their loud and proud answer echoed through the decades.
Women’s military involvement in World War II originated in World War I. The Women’s Auxiliary Corps and the Women’s Royal Naval Service were both formed in 1917, with the Women’s Royal Air Force following soon after in April 1918. 95,000 women served in these services and after the war the government considered maintaining a reserve of those women in case of another war. However, military funding had been cut, and there was an “antifeminist reaction in some quarters towards women in uniform”, so ultimately no reserve was formed (Crang 344).
However, as conditions in Europe worsened, the marchioness of Londo...

... middle of paper ...

... Services in the Late Nineteen-Thirties." Historical Research 83.220 (2010): 343-357. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
Green, Muriel. “Muriel Green’s diary for 1940”. Sheridan 79-92.
“The Munich Crisis”. Sheridan 29-45.
Rose, Sonya O. "Women's Rights, Women's Obligations: Contradictions of Citizenship in World War II Britain." European Review of History 7.2 (2000): 277-89. ProQuest. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
Schofield, Stella. “M-O Report No. 26: Women in wartime, January 1940. Sheridan 73-78.
Sheridan, Dorothy. Wartime women: a mass-observation anthology, 1937-45. London: Phoenix Press, 2000. Print.
Trowbridge, --. “The volunteer war workers, Bradford, October 1941”. Sheridan144-156.
“Wartime factory, Aston, July 1942”. Sheridan 161-175.
Westwood, Louise. "More Than Tea And Sympathy." History Today 48.6 (1998): 3. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.

    More about War Meets Girl: The Roles, Responsibilities and Difficulties of England's Women in World War II

      Open Document