"The essential facts are that women can do men's heavy work with substantially equal output, without any disturbance of the particular industry, and, when guided by proper conditions, without detriment to their health. How far and how long they ought to do it in the emergency arising from the war is to be decided upon different grounds."
Click here to read about the women war workers of the Second World War.
Here is a segment from a longer article published in 1951 by an anonymous American woman who wished to be known to her readers only as a women who had "grown up with the Century" (born in 1900). In this column she insisted that it was the First World War that served as the proving ground where American women showed that they were just as capable as their brothers - and thus deserving of a voice in government.
"Woman's hour has come! One of the splendid things that have come out of the bloody carnage of war to challenge the admiration of the world is the heroic exhibition of physical strength and courage shown by the women of the belligerent countries. They are doing more than merely substituting at men's work. In England they are winning their struggle for equality with men."
Twelve years after the end of the war, former Y.M.C.A. volunteer Francis Grulick wrote this moving account of her days as a canteen worker in France. She had vivid and colorful memories of her days in the forward positions bringing some measure of comfort to the men of the U.S. Army First Division, to whom she was devoted. She was with them at Gondrecourt, Bonnvillers, Boucq, Cantigny and Soissons. She filled their canteens, served them lemonade, poured their coffee, cooked their meals and also saw to it that cigarettes were plentiful. By the time the First Division arrived in Coblenz for occupation duty, she recognized that the unit was composed almost entirely of replacements and that she was the only witness to the First Divisions earliest days in France.
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"Two years ago when the men began to drop out of the industrial world at the call to the colors their women associates gradually slipped into their places, and in the majority of cases effectively filled them... Those men have now nearly all come back to claim their old, or better jobs. What of the girl, then, in the soldier's job? What is she going to do?"
This paragraph was lifted from a longer article regarding the battle-savvy Native Americans of World War One and it supports the claims made in 1918 by a number of anonymous allied POW's who reported seeing female soldiers in German machine gun crews toward the close of the war. The article appeared after the Armistice and this was a time when The Stars and Stripes editors were most likely to abstain from printing patriotic hooey.
If you would like to read another article about women combatants in W.W. II, click here.
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