The world wars that occurred in the twentieth century was a significant turning point for many social groupings in the society due to their participation in the war. Most notably, women were the most influential people who greatly determined the outcomes of the wars though they weren’t directly involved in the warfront. Aftermath of both the wars witnessed a significant transformation of social status of women in the society and especially in America which was actively involved in the wars and most importantly the Second World War. There has been a paternalistic attitude towards contributions of various groups in the war and women has not received their recognition for their role in the wars which was regarded to be subordinate in nature though it was instrumental to the success of individual countries especially in United States. Second war witnessed more extensive and involving role of women in war participation even more and by far than the First World War. Due to development of skills, knowledge and potential participation in the wars, women were now entrusted to more involving and engaging responsibilities besides their predominant subordinate roles (Gregg 21).
Many women were involved in forefront in war field just like men were with the same sophisticated weapons and firearms the same manner men participated in the war. Due to this extensive role of women and their experience in world war one, world war two witnessed a massive number of women recorded at 2.2 million involved in building military and warfront ships, vehicles, aircrafts, working in war industries and manufacture of weaponry. Areas initially demarcated as men preservatives were no longer the case and women were as well active in the operations by working in munitions factories and farms, provision of logistic support and other professional fields. Allied countries experienced massive involvement of women especially in technical areas while thousands enrolled in military groups at local level. Both military and defensive military that operated from home witnessed massive increase of women participation in war with particular emphasis in the Red Army. However, women’s participation in the war in the United States was hindered by the notion of general commanders not to involve women in combats due to general public opinion which would not tolerate the activities of women as combats (Barbara 11).
However as the war intensified and its magnitude increased, the participation of women became increasingly demanded even in combat fields and departments which were men preservatives. The nature of war itself demanded more women participation and in an increasingly large numbers. Unlike world war one which was mostly fought by France, world war two was a global phenomenon carried out on an unprecedented magnitude therefore required the mobilization of the whole population as a whole hence women participation became inevitable. These activities were most dominant and were inevitable practiced by many states especially in America which involved the participation of women in highly skilled labor symbolized by Roise the Riveter (Gregg 33).
Women in United States during Second World War
The nature and intensity of war inevitably involved women in an active role despite the public’s perception and opinion concerning their roles and what was supposed to be men duties. Women were for the first time involved in the combat operations initially as nurses in the Army Nurse Corps. Women also involved in participation of auxiliary duties were actively involved with creation of United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserves, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and Women’s Naval Reserves. Later as war intensified, the organizations and groupings created for performing auxiliary responsibilities were converted and assimilated to become regular army involved in warfronts with all types of weaponry, munitions and guns. Therefore women became involved actively with performance with guns at the height of World War II. During the entire period of war, a massive 350,000 women were involved in the war with 16 killed while in action. The war founded a ground for women advancement in the military operations and it was a milestone for women in this new venture which witnessed Carmen Contreras Bozak as the first woman to be enrolled in American state marines. Despite all these efforts that were advanced by women, they however did not receive equal treatment with their male counterparts with some generals and military commandants keeping women off the combats (Barbara 23).
American women society and how it was affected by women’s role in World War II
World War II witnessed the first instance that involved women in active military operations as opposed to earlier participation of women on auxiliary capacities. Due to shortage of men in the battle fields since many men were deployed to work in combats, women took up the positions left by men in military factories, offices and in the fields. The perception men and the general public held concerning women was altered after women successful triumph in their duties during the Second World War. It was the starting point where women initiated their efforts to be liberated and regarded as equals to their male counterparts. The situation was so dramatic and surprising that the congress during and after the war endorsed the participation of women in the military an action that was boosted by the generals and army commanders during the second war recommending women and preferring to work with women who they regarded as hardworking, humble, respectful, less complaining and efficient in their operations (Gregg 56).
There was a transformation of American women society with regard to roles and responsibilities in the society before, during and after the war. Women could now carry out all the activities, duties and responsibilities which men do as well and most amazing perform them more efficiently and effectively. They was also a general public transformation and changes of perception after women handled and succeed in gun handling during the war. The conservative public perception and view towards women is not any more in the American society. These chronological occurrences involving women gave them another different status in the society with regard to their societal positions. These activities have also elevated the position of women in the American society creating awareness of the capabilities women hold which was clearly demonstrated by their successful usage of guns and other heavy weaponry initially thought to be men oriented (Barbara 67).
American society have undergone numerous transition processes following the unfolding events of women potentials during the world wars and more equality have been created and anchored in the moral consideration of gender in the American society. Therefore the regard of women serving on limited capacities as secretaries, switchboard operators, drivers and medical technicians was no more and they could competitively operate within the same field just like men could do and perform responsibilities. There was a tremendous change that occurred due to women involvement in handling guns in wars, they could from that time earn attractive salaries as compared to before besides being accorded numerous great benefits following their bold and courageous steps to engage in military operations and being at the warfronts. These activities offered a great opportunity for many American women especially from the rural areas for a chance to explore and adventure many parts of the world despising the conservative notion and public opinion held by then concerning the role of women. Following their courageous and potential bravely demonstration, after the war, many women were absorbed in the military, navy and in armed forces giving them higher status in the social consideration in the society (Gregg 89)
In conclusion, the public perception and conservative regard that was accorded to women before the world wars was not justified and did not stand any arguable grounds whatsoever. The nature and magnitude of Second World War necessitated the involvement of women in the operations and other major activities in the war. Initially, women were only admitted to the war operations on condition of performing auxiliary duties and responsibilities. The succeeding military operations only involved women as drives, switchboard operators and medical personnel. As stated earlier, Second World War presented an inevitable situation for women involvement not only as auxiliary personnel but also in the military operations. Women for the first time were involved in military factories, fields, ammunitions as well as warfronts. It is at the warfront that American women demonstrated their potentials and capabilities when presented with an opportunity to operate with guns and other weaponry of war besides heavy machinery like guns.
Army generals and commander preferred working with women as military personnel due to their hard work and dedication as opposed to men. Their actions in the warfront compelled American congress to pass a legislation allowing women to participate fully in the military operations during and after the Second World War. The social status of women was also reviewed and women acquired another important societal social position. The conservative perception held by public concerning women involved in military operations was no more after their participation in the war. Although women were not allowed to fully participate in the combat operations, their contributions were tremendous. Equality in the American society has also been enhanced with women societal position respected just like that of men. American women society was also considered as a warrior component in the society unlike before.