tv Women During World War II CSPAN August 16, 2015 1:10pm-2:01pm EDT
>> all night long, the addressing -- the rejoicing continues. never before in history has there been more reason to be grateful for peace. the world's great people are united in determination that world peace shall never be endangered again. monday on the communicators -- >> he was into computers and sci-fi. that pushed him. he had heard about silicon valley and dreamed of getting to america. from a very young age, that is what he pined to do. at 17, he ran away from home and did it. >> the bloomberg technology reporter on one of silicon valley's most inventive leaders, elon musk. hehe essene as the next -- is seen as the next steve jobs
kind of figure. he has this attention to detail. he pushes his workers hard. i tend to lean more to the edison idea. what i have taken away is he is a guy who gets thousands of engineers, the brightest of the bright, and these very hard-working individuals and is able to get products out of them that can be commercialized and change industry. he hashe is the guy -- combined software and hardware in a way nobody else has. >> monday night on "the communicators" on c-span2. coming up next, author and french military historian dominique francois explores the role of women during world war ii.
from britain, france, and the united states, he argues women were a vital support of the successes of the war by participating in women's armed forces organizations and manufacturing war supplies. the kansas city public library hosted this 50-minute event. >> i'm pleased to welcome our speaker, dominique francois, back to the american heartland. dominique was in abilene as we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the d-day invasion. he is a renowned military historian. he has published 16 books, many on the battles of normandy. he is currently working on the 17th book, he tells me, about american gliders in world war ii. in addition to his writing and speaking, he has served as a consultant to nbc news during their coverage of the d-day commemoration and also the history channel.
he is here to talk about the role of women in world war ii. of course, in abilene, we study the second world war on an almost daily basis, but the role of women in the war has not always had or does not get the coverage that it deserves. so tonight, dominique is here to share the story of women in world war ii and the way they have been remembered, rightly or wrongly, by the public, by historians. please welcome dominique francois. [applause] mr. francois: ladies and gentlemen, first of all, i would like to apologize for my very poor english. i will probably make a lot of mistakes in pronunciation, so i apologize for that.
i would like to thank the kansas city public library and the eisenhower library, who welcomed me tonight. my friend and also my friend albert klein, who assist me -- assists me today. tonight, i will try to give you another view of the story of the allied countries' women in world war ii, and i will finish my talk on the subject probably of a frenchn u.s.a. known woman saved in the liberation after d-day. ago, asr i, a century nations and empires began mobilizing to send 65 millions
of men to war, millions of women across the globe moved to fill in the holes created in civilian society. from britain to bosnia to baghdad across the united states and europe, women would become single heads of household in unprecedented numbers. they would serve directly on the battlefield as nurses and ambulance drivers and cooks. yet, they also had to keep their nations' home fronts running, moving into men's jobs from smelting iron to driving streetcars to probing fields as -- plowing fields as well as working to administer new public and private organizations in support of the war.
the war changed life for women, and it changed the women themselves. when men returned from war, they inevitably tried to reassert their dominance in family and society, but the home broken condition and circumstances at home challenged their attempts. in world war ii, the history of women is often unrecognized and underappreciated. most of the time, it is overshadowed by the history of men. because of this, it is important to highlight the essential roles they played in this conflict.
women in world war ii took a variety of roles from country to country. world war ii involved global conflict on an unprecedented scale. mobilizing the entire population made the extension of the role of women in inevitable. -- of women inevitable. hard skilled labor of women was symbolized in the united of rosie the concept the riveter, a woman factory worker performing what was previously considered men's work. with this expanding horizon of opportunity and confidence and base,he expanded skill
women's roles in u.s. in world war ii were more excessive the last extensive than in the first world war. by 1945, more than 2.2 million women were working in the war industries, building ships, aircraft, vehicles, and weaponry. women also worked in factories, munition plants, and farms, and also drove trucks, providing logistic support for years in areas that were previously the preserve of men. in the allied countries, thousands of women enlisted as nurses serving on the front lines. joined atof others home and there was a great
increase in the number of women ,erving the military particularly in the soviet union's right army. during world war ii, approximately 400,000 u.s. women served with the armed force and more than 460. toe say the figure is closer 543 lost their lives as a result of war, including 15 from enemy fire. women became officially recognized as a permanent part of the u.s. armed force after the war with the passing of the women's army service integration act of 1948. civilians aiding the military, the women air force service
pilots wives, created in 1943, where civilians who flew stateside missions, she flew to ferry planes when male pilots were in short supply. they were the first women to fly american military aircraft. accidents killed 38. it was disbanded in 1944 when enough male veterans were available. women also served as spies in the office of strategic service, a united states intelligence agency during world war ii. home front -- u.s. women also performed many kinds of nonmilitary service in organizations such as the american red cross and the united service organizations.
19 million american women filled out the home front labor force, not only as rosie the riveters in war factory jobs, but in transportation, agricultural, and office work of every variety. women joined the federal government in massive numbers during world war ii. nearly one million government girls were recruited. in addition, women volunteered in the war effort by planting victory gardens, canning produce, selling war bonds donating blood, salvaging needed , commodities and sending care packages. the skills women had acquired proved to be very useful in
helping them acquire new skill sets toward the war effort, since men that usually did certain jobs were out at war. tried to replace them. for example, the popular phenomenon of rosie the riveter made riveting one of the most widely known jobs. experts speculate women were so successful at riveting because it so closely resembled sewing, aming together se a garment. however, riveting was only one of many jobs that women were learning and mastering as the aviation industry was developing. it is true that some women took more traditional female jobs such as sewing aircraft
upholstery or painting radium so pilots could see the instrument panel in the dark. and yet, many others, many more -- maybe more adventurous, chose hydraulicsive presses that cut metal parts while others used cranes to move plane parts from one end of the factory to the other. they even had women inspectors to ensure any necessary adjustments were made before the planes were flown out to war, often by female pilots. the majority of the planes they built were either large bombers or small fighters. also at first, most americans were reluctant to allow women into traditional male jobs.
women proved that they could not only do the jobs but in some circumstances, they did it that -- better than their male counterparts. for example, women in general paid more attention to details, as the foreman of california consolidated aircraft told "the saturday evening post." "nothing gets by them unless it's right." the united states department of labor even stated that when examining the number of holes drilled in the aircraft manufacturing industry, the men drilled 650 holes per day while women drilled 1600 holes per day. [laughter] [applause]
two years later after pearl harbor there were some 475,000 , women working in the aircraft factories, which, by comparison, was almost five times as many as ever joined the women's army courrps. other industries women entered worthy metal industry, steel industry, should building industry, and automobile -- shipbuilding industry, and automobile industry. military, more than 60,000 army nurses -- all military nurses were women at the time -- served stateside and overseas during world war ii. they were kept far from combat, but 67 were captured by the japanese in the philippines in
1942 and were held as prisoners of war for over two and a half years. one army fly nurse procured an aircraft that was shut down -- shot down behind enemy lines. she was held as a prisoner war unless of war for four months. the army established the women auxiliary corps in 1942. wac's served in africa but never completed the goal of making available to the national defense the knowledge, skill, and special training of the women of the nation. the wac was converted to the women's army corps in 1943 and recognized as an official part of the regular army.
more than 150,000 women served as wac's during the war, and thousands were sent to the european and pacific theaters in 1944. wac's landed in normandy after d-day and served in australia, new guinea, and the lapine's in -- the philippines in the pacific. more than 14,000 navy nurses served stateside, overseas, and overseas, on hospital ships, and as a fly nurse during the war. five navy nurses were captured by the japanese on the island of guam and held as prisoners of war for five months before being exchanged. the second group of 11 navy nurses was captured in the philippines and held for 37 months. during the japanese occupation of the philippines, some
filipino-american women smuggled food and medicine to american prisoners of war and carried information on japanese deployment to filipino and american forces working to sabotage the japanese army. the navy also recruited women into its navy woman's reserve called women accepted for volunteer emergency service, waves. starting in 1942. before the war was over, 84,000 build a large friday of filled aa large -- large variety of jobs in communication, intelligence, supply, administration, and medicine. the women's reserve was created in 1943.
the first detachment of female marines was sent to hawaii for duty in 1945. by the end of world war ii, 85 % of the listed personnel assigned to headquarters of u.s. marine corps were women. in 1943, the u.s. public health service established the cadet nurse corps, which framed women -- trained women for possible 125,000 military service. in all, 350,000 american women served in the u.s. military during world war ii. 16 were killed in action. in other countries, many women
served in the resistance of france, italy, and poland. they served as spies, for example. in france, 15% to 20% of the french resistance fighters were women. 5000 women were captured and sent to a concentration camp. the soviet union mobilized women in the early stages of the war, integrating them into the men's army units and not using the auxiliary status. some 800,000 women served, most of whom were on the frontline duty units.
about 300,000 served in antiaircraft units and performed batteries,on in the including many were snipers. a small number were combat flyers in the air force. also women, called consort women, were forced into sexual slavery by the imperial japanese army before and during world war ii. approximately 2 million jewish women were killed. in the united kingdom workplace, when britain went to war in as before in world war i,
previously forbidden job opportunities opened up for women. women were called into factories to create the weapons used on the battlefield. women took on the responsibility of managing the home and became the axillary of the home front. fromoles of women shifting domestic to masculine and dangerous jobs in the workforce, made for important changes in workplace structures and society. during the second world war, society had specific ideals for the jobs in which both women and men participated. when women began to enter into the masculine workforce and munition industry previously dominated by men, women's segregation began to diminish.
increasing numbers of women were forced into industry jobs between 1944 and 1943. as surveyed by the ministry of labor, the percentage of women in industrial jobs went from 19% to 27% from 1938 to 1945. it was very difficult for women to spend their days in factories and then come home to their domestic cause and caregiving. and as a result, many women were unable to hold their jobs in the work place. britain underwent a labor shortage where an estimated 1.5 million people were needed for the army force and an additional
775,000 for munition and other service in 1942. it was during this labor famine that propaganda began to induce people to join the labor force and do their bit in the war. women were the target again and -- in the various forms of propaganda because they were paid substantially less than men. it was of no concern whether women were filling the same jobs men previously held. even if women were replacing jobs with the same skill level of the men, they were still paid significantly less, due to their gender. in the engineering industry alone, the number of skilled and semiskilled female workers increased from 75% to 85% from
1940 to 1942. in britain, women were essential to the war effort in both civilian and military wars. the contribution by civilian men and women to the british war effort was acknowledged with the use of the word "homefront" to describe battles that were being fought on a domestic level with rationing, recycling, and jobs in munition factories and arms, , and in the military. women were also recruited to the the last to work in the coal -- canals, transporting
munitions by barge across the u.k. waterways. many women served with the women's auxiliary fire service, the women's auxiliary police corps, and in the air raids, later civil defense service. others did voluntary welfare work with women, voluntary service for civil defense and the salvation army. women were drafted in the sense that they were conscripted into war work by the ministry of labor, including noncombat jobs in the military, such as the women's royal naval service, the women's auxiliary air force, and the auxiliary territorial service.
the auxiliary service also recruited women. in the early stage of the war, such services relied exclusively on volunteers. however, by 1941, conscription was extended to women for the first time in british history, and around 600,000 women were recruited into this organization. in this organization, women performed a wide range of jobs in support of the army, royal air force, and royal navy, both overseas and at home. these jobs ranged from traditional feminine roles like cook, clerk, and telephone, to , to moreonist traditionally masculine duties like mechanic, armory, and instruments operator. british women were not drafted
into combat units but could volunteer for combat duty in antiaircraft units, which shot down german planes and rockets. civilian women joined the special operations which used them in high danger roles as secret agents and underground nazi occupieds in europe. 3/4 of women who entered the wartime forces were volunt eers compared to men who made up less than 1/3. single and married women were eligible to volunteer in the royal navy service and were
required to serve in great britain as well as overseas if needed. however, the age limit set by the service varied for each of them. generally, women between 18 and 43 could volunteer, and those under 18 required parental consent. after applying, the applicant had to fulfill other requirements, including an interview and medical examination. if they were deemed fit to serve, then they were enrolled for the duration of the war. women's royal naval service was the only service that offered a n immobile branch which allowed women to live in their homes and work in the local naval establishment. this organization was the
smallest of the three organizations and as a result was very selective with their candidates. , ithe three organizations was the most preferred choice with the second being the women's royal neighbors service. ats was the largest of the three organizations and was least favorite among women because it accepted those who were unable to get into the other forces. ats had also developed a reputation of promiscuity and poor living conditions. many women also saw the tacky -- khaki uniforms as unappealing, and as a result, it caused women to favor women's royal naval service.
during the war, approximately 487,000 women volunteered for women service. 80,000 for the women's royal naval service. 185,000 for the waf. 220,000 for the ats. by the demands of the wartime 1941, industry called for women 's service to be expanded so that more men could be relieved of their previous positions and take on more active roles on the battlefield. my next chapter is about strong women in france. the 70th anniversary of d-day landings last year was an occasion to revisit joyful pictures of the liberation of
france in 1944, but among the sharing images, they were also shocking ones. this shows the fate of women accused of collaboration. it is impossible to forget this image of a shaven headed young woman cuddling her baby, implicitly the result of her relationship with a german soldier. the punishment of shaving a woman's head had biblical origin. in europe, the practice dates back to the dark age with the visigoths.
during the middle-age, this mark of shame denoting a woman of what was supposed to be her most seductive features, was commonly a punishment for adultery. shaving a woman's head as a mark of retribution and humiliation was reintroduced in the 20th century. after french troops occupied the mainland in 1923, german women who had relations with them later suffered the same fate. during the second world war, the united states issued orders that state issued orders
that german women accused of sleeping with non-aryans or foreign prisoners should also be publicly punished in this way. it may seem strange that head shaving should have become so widespread during the leftist liberation euphoria in france in 1944, but many of the head shavers were not members of the resistance. quite a few had been collaborators themselves and sought to attract attention. yet, resistance groups could also be merciless toward women. in brittany, it is said that
1/3 of civilians killed in reprisals were women and head shaving had been made in the resistant underground press since 1941. hadhreats of head shaving been made in the resistance underground press since 1941. there was a strong element of [indiscernible] and their crowds. even through the punishment, -- even though the punishment they were about to inflict symbolized the decentralization -- depersonalization of the victim. this ugly carnival became the pattern soon after d-day. when a town or city had been liberated by the valleys -- allies or resistance the , shearers would get to work. day following the
,apture of the town in normandy dozens of women were shorn publicly. on july 14, a truckload of young women, most of them teenagers, were driven through the streets. one of the victims was a women who had simply been a cleaner in the local german military headquarters. many french people as well as allied troops were sickened by the treatment meted out to this woman accused of collaboration with german soldiers. a large number of the victims were prostitutes who had simply plied their trade with germans as well as french men. also, in some areas, it was
accepted that their conduct was professional rather than political. others were silly teenagers who had associated with german soldiers out of bravado or boredom. in a number of cases, female schoolteachers living alone were socially denounced. -- are having been -- for having been a mattress. women accused of having had an abortion were also assumed to have consorted with germans. many victims were young mothers whose husbands were in german s.isoner of war camp' during the war, they often had no means of support, and the only hope of obtaining food for themselves or children was to
accept a liaison with a german soldier. as a german writer observed from the luxury of a restaurant and terrace. jealousy masqueraded as moral outrage because people envied the food this woman received as a result of their conduct. when a great actor died in 1992, she received a myriad of obituaries that did not mention the rumor that she had her head shaved at the liberation. this obituary even passed over her controversial love affair with a luftwaffe officer.
but later, some newspapers revealed a lingering bitterness nearly 50 years later. it was not the fact that she had slept with the enemy which angered them but the way they had eaten well in the hotels while the rest of france was hungry. after the humiliation of public head shaving, the shorn women were often paraded through the toeet on the back of a lorry as ifund of the drone france was reliving the revolution of 1789. some were covered in tar, some
strict half naked, some were marked in paint or lipstick. elsewhere, some who have volunteered to work in german factories had their heads shaved, but that was an exception. women almost always wear the first targets because they often the best offered the easiest and most vulnerable scapegoats. particularly for the men who had joined the resistance at the last moment. altogether, at least 20,000 women are known to have had their heads shaved, but the true figure may well be higher, considering that some estimates put the number of french children fathered by germans as high as 80,000.
the basically misogynistic reaction of head shaving during the liberation of france was repeated in belgium, italy, and norway, and, to a lesser extent, in the netherlands. in france, another wave of head shaving took place in the late spring of 1945 when forced laborers, prisoners of war, and concentration camp victims returned from germany. revenge on women would present a -- revenge on women represented a form of expression for the frustration and sense of impotence among males humiliated by their country's occupation. one said it the equivalent of rape by the victor.
in conclusion, women played an important role during world war ii, both at home and in uniform. not only did they give their sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers to the war effort, they gave their time, energy, and some even gave their lives. as in world war i, women played a vital part in the country's success in world war ii, but as with world war i, women at the end of world war ii found that the advances they had made were greatly reduced when the soldiers returned from fighting abroad. at the end of world war ii, those women who had found alternate employment for women lost their jobs. the returning soldiers had to be
found jobs, and many wanted society to return to normal. men, for the most part, rightly claimed recognition for their participation in the war. sidese women at their the honor.claimed perhaps this is due to the traditional thinking of men in combat and women in the home. because of this, it is important to highlight that the allies probably could not have won the war without the unconditional support of women working for the war effort. women are truly the unknown soldiers of the second world war. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. we do have time for a few questions. if anybody wants to ask a question of our guest, please come to either of these two microphones and we can begin. >> was there a role for african-american women in the american war effort and other minority women? mr. francois: most of the american african women worked in factories, not in the army but only in factories. >> what countries, other than
russia, actually had women fighting in combat roles in the front lines? mr. francois: what was the question? >> what countries other than russia had women fighting in combat roles on the front lines, fighting as combat soldiers, pilots, actually in combat as opposed to -- like, you mentioned the british had women in antiaircraft positions. but what country other than russia actually had them in the front lines? mr. francois: i think russia was the only country who had women in the front lines. i mean, the army. there was also women on the front line in the resistance, like in france, greece, yugoslavia. but in the army, there was only russia. >> thank you. >> you mentioned this in your
presentation, but how much were women paid on the assembly line in the united states, either per hour or per week or per month , during the war? and how did that compare with what men were paid for comparable jobs prior to the war? mr. francois: i do not know how much they were paid, but there was a difference between the pay for a woman and for men. for the same work, they were paid less than men. does that make sense? yeah? yeah? [laughter] yeah. >> you had mentioned the role of women in the espionage. i was wondering if you could expand that a little bit and talk about some of the types of
missions and things that they went through in that part of the war. mr. francois: they were two organizations who used women for intelligence and espionage. there was the oss, the office of strategic service in the u.s., and the soe in the u.k. in the soe, they used women as agents in the nazi occupied countries like france, yugoslavia, holland, belgium. they had the mission as radio operators and to do intelligence in the occupied country, so they were working in a small team with two men, and they had a
mission to try to find information and then to send the information by radio, so it was a very dangerous mission for them. many were captured and were tortured and executed or sent to concentration camps. some also had the mission to be a spy or to try to connect with a german officer and try to have an affair with him to take advantage for information and intelligence, so it was another mission of women in these organizations.
>> my question relates to that. how were those women treated? since part of their job was to develop a relationship and have an affair with a german officer. were their heads shaved as well, or were they protected? mr. francois: that's a very good question. some of them were captured at the liberation, and even though they tried to explain that they were working for an organization -- for example, the french resistance -- they did not listen to them and shaved them. there was a lot of controversy about these women who did their duty, that did very dangerous work and jobs and were punished