2What roles did European women play in World War II combat?
3BritainMany went into civil defense and the Women’s Land Army, but it began to change during World War IIConscription began in 1941 for women 21 years of age, which required them to join the armed forcesText from - Craddick-Adams, Peter. "Women At War: 'She Soldiers Through the Ages'" 1 Mar May 2007 <http://womenshistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=womenshistory&cdn=education&tm=13&gps=74_9_1020_598&f=11&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.bbc.co.uk/history/lj/warslj/women_01.shtml>.Above is a poster of British women enrolled in the military, to promote female participation in World War II.Image from -
4BritainAlthough women were recruited into the military, they were not allowed to fill active combat rolesSeveral non-combat units existedWomen’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS)Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS)Air Transport AuxiliarySpecial Operations Executive (SOE)Women as agentsWomen as radio operators in areas of Nazi occupationIn 1949 women were officially recognized as part of the British militaryCraddick-Adams, Peter. "Women At War: 'She Soldiers Through the Ages'" 1 Mar May 2007 <http://womenshistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=womenshistory&cdn=education&tm=13&gps=74_9_1020_598&f=11&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.bbc.co.uk/history/lj/warslj/women_01.shtml>.Posters like the one above right helped to attract over 3,000 women into the Woman’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS.)Image from -
5British SpiesAmong the most notorious British spies, are Lillian Rolfe, Denise Bloch, and Violette SzaboMembers of British Paratrooper Unit (FANY)Worked as underground spies in France after being arrested by the S.S“All three were very brace and I was deeply moved. Suhren was also impressed by the bearing of these women…” – Johannes Schwarzhuber (March 12, 1946, at the Hamburg trials in which they were executed.)Above right is Lillian Rolfe. Image from -Above left is Violette Szabo. Image from -
6British SuffrageJohn Stuart Mill wrote The Subjection of Women which proposed for women’s suffragePetitioned Parliament in the Reform Bill of 1867Lydia Becker founded the first women’s suffrage committee, also in 1867In 1897 all women’s suffrages committees united to form the National Union of Women’s Suffrage SocialitesAt the start of World War I, women joined the war effort and temporarily halted women’s suffrage effortsIn February 1918 women over the age of 30 received the right to voteIn 1928 suffrage rights were equalized for men and womenUsed - Mill, John S. On Liberty and the Subjection of Women. London: Penguin Group,
7Cecily Margot Lefort April 30, 1900 – May 1, 1945 With husband Alex Lefort, opened their home for underground resistanceJoined the British Auxiliary Air Force in 1941Was sent to Special Operatoins Executive in London to translate FrenchWas arrested by the GestapoSent to Ravensbruck concentration camp in GermanyWas held prisoner from 1943 – 1945Was gassed May 1, 1945 when she was considered useless to the Nazi’sHeroine of World War IIPictured above is the British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, which Cecily Lefort played a significant role in.Image from -
8Finland Similar roles to the British women Lotta Svard organization Nursing, air raid signaling, hospitalization, rationingLotta Svard organizationAuxiliary work of armed forcesLargest voluntary organization in WW2Helped Finland hold off Soviet forcesDid not typically engage in combatWas the first nation to allow women as candidatesSmart, T L. "Women in Aviation." 24 Sept June 2007 <http://warriordoc.com/women_in_aviation.htm>.
9Suffrage in FinlandThe first major European country to permit women’s suffrageGranted in 1906Was also the first country to allow females to run in elections19 females were elected in 1907 to the Parliament of FinlandAbove left are the female members of the Finnish party. Above right is the day women were granted suffrage, in Images from -
10Poland Extensive role in the resistance movement Worked as couriers delivering messages from the cells of the movement to the printing pressesTook part in the actual combatWarsaw Rising (1944) participated in the Home ArmyWanda Gertz – commanded DYSK- Women’s Sabotage UnitOver 2,000 female pow’s held under the German armyWomen over 30 were granted suffrage in 1918Smart, T L. "Women in Aviation." 24 Sept June 2007 <http://warriordoc.com/women_in_aviation.htm>.
11Wanda Gertz April 13, 1896 – November 10, 1958 Polish major and solider of the Armia KrajowaPolish defensive war of 1939Participated in defensive of WarsawWas a member of the SZP (Polish Victory Service)Organized and commanded the DYSK“Women’s sabatoge unit”Was a prisoner of war in several campsAfter U.S army liberated Poland she became a member of the Polish I corps in the WestImage from
12Germany Third Reich offered positions to many women Auxiliary units in the navy, army and air forceAuxiliary called AufseherinMajority of women at Ravensbruck (Concentration camp)Female Soviet POW’s placed in RavensbruckBegan arriving February 27, 1943Image from"Women Join German Fighting Forces." BBC News. 2 Jan June 2007 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/ >.
13Suffrage in GermanyWas granted in 1918 after World War IWas revoked from 1935 – 1945Under Nuremburg LawsFemale voting restrictions were also applied to all territories that were occupied by the Nazi’s during World War IIFull voting rights restored at the end of the warCarrie Chapman Catt spoke of thewomen’s conference for suffragethat was held in Berlin.“Twenty-five years ago a small group of women met in Berlin, Germany, for the purpose of organizing an international women’s suffrage alliance. At that time there was a law in Germany which forbade any woman to go to a political meeting. Yet the organization was effective. “"Women's Suffrage." Grolier Grolier Online. 1 June 2007 <http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=5193>.
14Female Nazi’s Therese Elisabeth Alexandra Förster-Nietzsche Sister of Friedrich NietzscheDistorted his work “The Will to Power” after his deathIn 1933 Elisabeth became a prominent supporter of the Nazi partyGave large funds to the partyIrma Grese supervised Ravensbruck, Auschwitz and Bergen-BelsenWas nicknamed the “bitch of Belsen”Notorious war criminalExecuted in 1945Hundreds of female Nazi’s were executed for war crimes at the end of the warSaidel, Rochelle G. The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
15Thea Rasche 1899 - 1971 First female pilot in Germany As a member of the 99’sWas the only woman in the air show in BerlinWas awarded “wings around the world for peace”Above left is Thea in the 1930’s before a flight. Above right is Thea alongside Lisel Bach and Elly Bienhorn in 1932.Pictures and text from -
16Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg January 9, 1903 – April 8, 1945German aviatorHer professional aviation abilities saved her and her family from being sent to concentration campsAwarded the Iron Class 2nd Class in 1943On April 8, 1945 she was shot down and later died from injuriesImage from forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=
17Denmark Was invaded by Germany on April 9, 1940 Called Operation WeserbungGermany took over the economyWomen involved in the armed forces since 1934Ground Observer CorpsDanish Women Army and Naval Corps as of 1946Suffrage for women in 1908 in local elections1915 women received full voting privileges"Women's Suffrage." Grolier Grolier Online. 1 June 2007 <http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=5193>.
18Norway Women have been serving in the military since 1938 Women were allowed to serve in any branch desiredIncluding direct involvement in combatMany women were involved in the resistance movement against GermanyDirectly after World War II (1947) limitations were placed on women in the militaryAs a result of injuries sustained by females in the warGoldman, Nancy. "The Changing Role Of Women In The Armed Forces." American Journal Of Sociology (4):
19Soviet Union Women as aviators First nation to allow female pilots Marina Raskova, known as the Russian Amelia EarhartFirst woman pilot in the Soviet Air ForceFirst nation to allow female pilotsThe three divisions that women could participate in were586th Fighter Aviation Regiment46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment125th Guards Bomber Aviation RegimentWomen as snipersNina Alexayevna Lobkovskaya and Lyudmila Pavlichenko killed over 300 German soldiersWomen as machine gunners, medics, political officers, tank drivers and communication personnelGoldman, Nancy. "The Changing Role Of Women In The Armed Forces." American Journal Of Sociology (4):
20Suffrage in the Soviet Union Since women played a large roll in the war, they felt they particularly deserved voting rightsMany organizations petitioned the Soviet government for female suffrageGranted by the 1918 Soviet ConstitutionHowever there were many restrictionsNo direct voting by femalesDirect voting was not granted until the 1936 Soviet constitutionAbove is the International Council for Women’s Suffrage. Image from -
21Soviet and Russian Militias Played a greater role in the military than women of any other countryOver 800,000 women served on the front line89 of which eventually received the highest military honor, the Hero of the Soviet UnionSexism still persisted howeverVery few women were ever promoted to officersImage from
22Russian Aviators Marina Raskova was the first female aviator First to become a navigator in Soviet Air Force, in 1933She convinced Stalin to create female sectors of the air force586th Fighter Aviation Regime46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regime125th Guards Bomber Aviation RegimeWomen flew over 30,000 missionsSeveral were named Hero’s of the Soviet UnionRaskova includedDonnelly, Karen J. American Women Pilots of World War II. New York: The Rosen Group,
23Russian Land Forces Women were especially talented as snipers Excellent hand-eye coordination requiredNina Lobkovskaya and Lyudmila Pavlichenko killed over 300 German’s as snipersServed as machine gunners, medics, tank drivers, political officers, communication workersWomen aided resistance movements again GermanyZinaida Portnova – was awarded Hero of the Soviet UnionZoya Kosmodemyanskaya – awarded Hero of the Soviet Union for work as a PartisanGoldman, Nancy. "The Changing Role Of Women In The Armed Forces." American Journal Of Sociology (4):
24Natalya Myeklin Born September 8, 1922 in Russia Combat pilot in one of the three women-only Russian air unitsUnit named the Night Witches by the GermansJoined in 1942, at 19 years oldFlew 980 millions in total by the end of the warIn the years following the war, she worked as a translatorCurrently is a member of the Union of Soviet WritersGoldman, Nancy. "The Changing Role Of Women In The Armed Forces." American Journal Of Sociology (4):
25Lilya Vladimirovan Litvyak August 18, 1921 – August 1, 1943Known as the “white rose of Stalingrad”1943, awarded the Order of the Red BannerPromoted to Lieutenant, then Senior Lieutenant296th IAP was renamed the 73 GuardsShot down and killed on August 1, 1943Completed 168 millions and had 12 victoriesText from -Image from -
26Frieda Belinfante May 10, 1904 – April 26, 1995 Leader of the Dutch Resistance movementMainly contributed by forging documents for Jews to hide their identitiesHelped to organize the bombing of the population registry in AmsterdamDestroyed thousands of documents which helped many conceal their identitiesPursued a music career in the U.S, but was fired for being a lesbian.Image from -
27French Resistance“Quoi qu’il arrive, la flamme de la résistance française ne doit pas s’éteindre et ne s’éteindra pas” [Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished] – Charles de GaulleMovement against German occupation of FranceResistance groups consisted of armed men and women, underground newspaper writers and those that facilitated the escape networksCooperation with Allied secret services helped defeat the Nazi’sWeitz, Margaret C. Sisters in the Resistance. London: Wiley, 1995.
28French Resistance Notable women from the movement include Abbe Pierre Lucie AubracJacqueline AuriolJosephine BakerDenise BlochMartha DesrumeauxMarie FourcadeEilane PlewmanSuzanne SpaakEvelyn SullerotWeitz, Margaret C. Sisters in the Resistance. London: Wiley, 1995.
29Women as SpiesFrench women served as spies for the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) after the invasion of Southern FranceBecame a part of the 36trh Infantry DivisionWomen were mainly used for short-range intelligence workOdette and Simone, resistance fighters and intelligence workers were went to GermanyForced the surrender of several German’sDiscovered information vital to France’s resistance movementSaidel, Rochelle G. The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
30French SuffrageLouis Napoleon proposed universal suffrage in the Constitution of 1851Democratic caeserism, which was the policy used by his uncle Napoleon Bonaparte1871 Paris Commune granted female suffrageSuffrage revoked with the fall of the communeWas not extended to females until 1944By Charles de GaulleA French military and statesmanPictured above right is Charles de Gaulle. Image from -Text from -
31Dutch ResistanceTiny Mudler, a 19 year old Dutch citizen was a prominent leader of the underground resistance movement“The German’s treated the Dutch very well at first, to gain our trust. Then we began to see what was coming”Worked in the government office, distributing clothing, food and oilRescued Allied airmen from the GermansThe movement destroyed German war industries and lifted Dutch morale
32The Other SideMany countries and individuals tried to prevent or limit the amount of women involved with actual combatCanada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway the Soviet Union and Switzerland were the only countries in which women could participate in combatRomantic relationships and friendships could potentially disrupt the unit’s capabilitiesFor many it was just because of tradition, which typically excluded women from combatVirtually no women were involved in combat in World War IThe possible subjection of women to sexual and physical abuse
33The Other SideIt was believed that females did not possess the physical strength of their male counterpartsExcerpts from With the Armies of the Tsar: A Nurse at the Russian Front in War and Revolution“Some remained in the trenches, fainting and hysterical; others ran or crawled back to the rear.”“Bachkarova retreated with her decimated battalion; she was wrathful, heartbroken, but she had learnt a great truth: women were quite unfit to be soldiers.”Skaine, Rosemarie. Women at War: Gender Issues of Americans in Combat. McFarland, 1999.
34Effects of Women in the Military Female involvement in the military, especially in live combat helped progress women’s rights significantlyPrior to World War II, there were very few women actually involved in combatBy the end of the war women proved that they were highly capable of fulfilling combative positionsDifferent countries allowed varying degrees of female involvement in the militarySoviet Union had the greatest amount of female military involvementIn the majority of countries women lead resistance movementsLead to greater rights for women, and in many countries, namely France, universal suffrage for the first timeDonnelly, Karen J. American Women Pilots of World War II. New York: The Rosen Group,
35The EndCraddick-Adams, Peter. "Women At War: 'She Soldiers Through the Ages'" 1 Mar May 2007 <http://womenshistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=womenshistory&cdn=education&tm=13&gps=74_9_1020_598&f=11&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.bbc.co.uk/history/lj/warslj/women_01.shtml>.Donnelly, Karen J. American Women Pilots of World War II. New York: The Rosen Group,Goldman, Nancy. "The Changing Role Of Women In The Armed Forces." American Journal Of Sociology (4):Jones, David Women Warriors: A History. Brassey's,1997Lavendar, Lisa. "The Campaign for Women's Suffrage." 28 Nov May 2007 <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/undergrad/modules/hi253/lectures/lecture16/>.** McDevitt, Bette. "Tiny Mulder: Teenage World War II Resistance Heroine." History Net. 21 Nov June 2007 <www.historynet.com/magazines/world_war_2/ html>.** Mill, John S. On Liberty and the Subjection of Women. London: Penguin Group,Naughton, Russel. "The Pioneers." 4 Aug May 2007 <http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/rasche.html>.** Saidel, Rochelle G. The Jewish Women of Ravensbruck Concentration CampSkaine, Rosemarie. Women at War: Gender Issues of Americans in Combat. McFarland, 1999.Sulkenen, Irma. "The General Strike and Women's Suffrage." Centenary of Women's Full Political Rights in Finland June 2007 <http://www.aanioikeus.fi/en/articles/strike.htm>."Women Join German Fighting Forces." BBC News. 2 Jan June 2007 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/ >.** represents primary sources