Essay: Men and women in the European War

When the United States entered the European War on April 6, 1917, it marked the first time in the history of the country that regular Army and Navy military nurses served overseas’although without rank’and the first time, women who were not nurses were allowed to enlist in the Navy and Marine Corps. A handful of women also served in the Coast Guard. The US Army, however, refused to enlist women officially, relying on them as contract employees and civilian volunteers. Although there was negative public opinion from the citizens of the country and hesitant military leaders limited women’s roles, but the country needed their skills to pursue the war effort and to move male soldiers out of office jobs and onto the battlefield.

By motivating them to go to the battlefields and providing food to them together with taking care of their families. while, men used to go fight and provide protection to the country. By war’s end that is word war I, American military women had served stateside and overseas on the eastern and western war fronts. Over 230 bilingual civilian telephone operators working with the Army were organized and trained by AT&T and took the same oath of allegiance as male soldier.

They maintained communications in numerous French localities, sometimes working under combat conditions. From the outset of World War I, long before American troops arrived on foreign soil, American women were ‘over there’ volunteering with civilian organizations to provide nursing, transportation and other war relief services. Women aligned themselves with humanitarian organizations such as the American Red Cross, YMCA, Salvation Army and others to meet wartime needs. The war increased cases of sexual violence in women.

Besides sexual violence, this war was characterized by the separation of men from women and children, both a voluntary and involuntary separation. Men took up fighting roles, fled to third countries and safe areas, or were rounded up and detained and/or killed in large numbers. Mostly women stayed to find out the whereabouts of their male relatives, or to protect their property, hoping that the war would end and that they would be spared.

Women also had to bear responsibility for their children and their elderly relatives and community when the men in the family have left to fight, are interned or detained, missing or dead, internally displaced or in exile. Hence there is no doubt that war affects women and men differently from the above instances especially in world war 1.

Whenever there has been conflict, women and children have been known to receive the hard end of the stick reason is because they were known to weak in the society unlike men. Throughout history we see examples of terrible abuses against women and children ‘ from the 1.1 million children killed during the Holocaust, to the many women and children raped or killed during the Rwandan Genocide. Women who survive these atrocities often have to live with the vivid and terrifying images of rape, war and death for the rest of their lives. Women also suffer from sexually-transmitted diseases, stigmatization and sometimes unwanted pregnancies, that made them suffer more and even some ended up ding because of the cropping up of diseases in their bodies. They are faced with the daunting task of keeping families together after displacement, providing food, clothing and shelter ‘ in what is, in most instances, destroyed infrastructure ‘ for their children and their families.

‘With people living so closely together, it’s very easy to pick up diseases,’ Clarke says. ‘Soon the rainy season will be upon us, and with open sewers and latrines that aren’t properly covered, there’s a real risk of outbreaks of cholera and other diseases.’ Thus resulted to the uproot of poverty and the population of women and children started to decline. (
World war II(in san diago). The onset of war in San Diego resulted in a profound impact in women in that area. For instance the need for labour opened job opportunities for women.
There was a great transition in traditional women roles that included creating a comfortable home for their husband and properly raise the children to taking up male roles.Such as participating in workforce that included the order to attack men , climbing out of their trenches, carrying their weapons and heavy equipment, and move through the enemy’s field over complex networks of barbed wire, keeping low to the ground for safety.

The objective was to reach the enemy’s front line, where the defending troops would be sheltering in their own trenches, and use rifles or bayonets to attack them directly. Once the defenders were eliminated, the attacking force seized the position ‘ at least in theory. In reality these tactics were often unsuccessful and victorious attacks were rare. Casualties were extremely high, with many men killed and wounded: attackers often suffered higher casualties than defenders. Wounded men were carried or escorted back to field hospitals for treatment, while the dead could only be buried if there was a suitable break in the fighting.

The idea that a great number of women could take up paid work in place of the men who had gone to war was resisted for a number of reasons. This resistance lasted into World War II, even though ‘women beat a path to the doors of the authorities, begging to be allowed to assist, to help win the war, to give of their talents’.
Both men and women who served in the First World War endured some of the most brutal forms of warfare ever known. Millions were sent to fight away from home for months, even years at a time, and underwent a series of terrible physical and emotional experiences. The new technologies available to First World War armies combined with the huge number of men mobilized made the battlefields of 1914-18 horrific, deadly and terrifying places.

Women also participated in war if a greater number of men died in the battlefield. In Canada, ‘Volunteering’ is a broad term when applied to wartime Canada, encompassing a wide range of activities. Canadians voluntarily that is both men and women donated money to war charities and invested their money in Victory Bonds to help the government pay for the war; they provided voluntary labor to war-related charities, willingly enlisted in the military, and freely decided to apply for jobs in war-related industry or on farms.

In a thousand ways Canadians chose to share with their country the resources of their families and businesses, in what they perceived as Canada’s hour of need.. Canadians (both men and women) valued, applauded, and valorized the spirit of voluntary service during both world wars, regardless of whether it was expressed through knitting socks for soldiers, growing a Victory Garden, or being the first in one’s neighborhood to enlist in the army. Early twentieth-century, Canadians (especially middle-class Canadians) believed that doing or giving something without being coerced spoke volumes about a person’s character: it demonstrated a strong sense of duty, patriotism, civic-mindedness, and charity.

Good citizens offered themselves and their resources freely and generously, and took part in voluntary efforts for the benefit of their community. For this reason, although the results were the same (enlistment in the military), joining the armed forces voluntarily was viewed as admirable and honorable, while being blockaded usually was not. Doing the right thing of your own free will made all the difference in the eyes of early twentieth-century Canadians. Although the spirit of voluntary service animated this wide range of wartime activities, this essay will focus on unpaid, home-front, civilian volunteering.

There were enormous similarities between such activities in the First and Second World Wars ‘ so much so that, unless they are explicitly labeled with a date, it can be difficult to determine whether particular artifacts (knitting instructions or postcards, for example) come from the first or second war.

There was a great deal of overlap in both the organizations and the volunteer’s active in both wars. The Second World War may well have been greeted by these volunteer veterans of the First World War with an attitude akin to the title of a popular 1940s song: ‘We Did It Before (and We Can Do It Again).’ The great benefit of this overlap was that many lessons learned the hard way during the First World War were applied by organizational leaders during the Second World War. An excellent example of how Canadians’ First World War volunteering of both men and women experience shaped their handling of the Second World War is the Canadian Patriotic Fund (CPF). The CPF, Canada’s leading war charity of the First World War, was noticeably absent from the Second World War.

The evolution of Canadian support for soldiers’ families and dependents also highlights the most significant difference between voluntary efforts of the two world wars: namely, the growing presence of government that was democratic that is everyone was equal before the government. since no one was superior than the other in terms of gender, either regulating or replacing voluntary work, during the Second World War. The 1917 War Charities Act took a step in this direction during the First World War, requiring organizations raising funds for war-related charitable purposes to register with the federal government and submit financial statements on a regular basis.. In deduction, differences in wartimes between women and men resulted to conflict in one nation, rape cases to both women and children, poverty, change in role in women that is women perform men’s role in the society and many other negative effects.whilelse the similarities, resulted to positive effect that brought harmony through the mechanism of volunteering that is, both women and men participate in fighting against the enemy thus they ended up winning. Therefore in the modern war both men and women should come together in harmony to fight against the enemy of their nation..By avoiding discrimination of women and giving them positions in the Army

International Committee of the Red Cross(
Common dreams unacceptable: impact of war in women and children
Adam-Smith, P 1996, Australian Women At War, Penguin Books, Australia
British Library
War time Canada
McKenzie Porter, To All Men: The Story of the Canadian Red Cross (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1960), 51; Jeffrey A. Keshen, Saints, Sinners, and Soldiers: Canada’s Second World War (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004), 23

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