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tv   Women During World War II  CSPAN  August 1, 2015 5:10pm-6:01pm EDT

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during the revolution. get our complete get jewel at -- our complete schedule at >> next, author in french historian dominique fracois explores the role of women during world war ii. he argues women were a vital support of the successes of the war by participating in women's armed forces organizations and manufacturing force of lies. the kansas city public library hosted this event. -- manufacturing war supplies. >> i'm pleased to welcome our speaker, dominique fracois, 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
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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. 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 have the coverage 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 fracois . [applause] mr. francois: ladies and gentlemen, first of all, i would like to apologize for my very poor english.
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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 in the eisenhower library, who welcomed me tonight. 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 less known in usa of a french
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known woman saved in the liberation after d-day. as 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
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streetcars to probing 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 tried to reassert their dominance in families and society, but the home broken condition and circumstances at home challenged that. 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.
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because of this, it is important to highlight the essential roles they played in this conflict. women in world war ii took [indiscernible] world war ii involved global conflict on an unprecedented scale. mobilizing the entire population made the extension of the role of women in inevitable. the heart skill labor of women was symbolized in the united states by rosie the riveter, -- the concept of rosie the riveter a woman factory worker doing
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what was previously considered men's work. with this expanding opportunity and confidence and with the extended skill, they, like many women, could get pay in employment, women's roles in world war ii were even more 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 in areas that were previously the reserve of
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men. in the allied countries, thousands of women served on the front lines. and there was a great increase in the number of women serving or the military -- for the military. during world war ii, approximately 400,000 u.s. women served with the armed force and more than 460 -- some say the figure is close to 543 -- lost their lives as a result of war, including 15 from enemy higher. women became officially recognized as a permanent part of the u.s. armed force after the war with the passing of the
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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 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
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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 and 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, selling war bombs, donating
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blood, salvaging needed commodities and sending care packages. the skills women had acquired proved to be very useful in helping acquire new skill sets toward the war effort, since men that usually did the job were out at war. for example, the popular phenomenon of rosie the riveter made visiting one of the most widely known jobs. experts speculate women were so successful at visiting -- riveting because it's so closely resembled sewing, assembling, and seeming together a garment. however, riveting was only one of many jobs that women were learning and mastering as the
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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 adventurous chose to run the press 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
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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 are than the male counterparts -- they did it 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 u.s. department of labor even said that when examining the number of holes jailed, the men drilled 650 holes per day
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while women drilled 1600 holes per day. [applause] two years later, 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 force. other industries women entered with a metal industry, steel industry should building industry, and automobile industry -- ship-building industry, and automobile industry. women also worked in plans where bombs, weaponry, and aircraft were made. in the military, more than 60,000 army nurses -- all
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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 behind enemy lines -- shot down behind enemy lines. she was held for 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,
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and training 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 wavc'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 pacific. -- the philippines in the pacific. more than 14,000 navy nurses served stateside, overseas, and 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
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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 except for volunteer emergency service -- women accepted for volunteer emergency service, waves. before the war was over, 84,000 waves got a large friday of jobs
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in communication, intelligence supply administration, and medicine. the women's reserve was created in 1943. the first detachment of female marines was sent for duty in 1945. by the end of world war ii, 85 percent of the listed personnel assigned to headquarters of u.s. marine corps were women. the u.s. public health service established the cadet nurse corps, which framed women for possible military service.
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16 women were killed in action. in other countries, many women served in france, italy, and poland. in france, 15% to 20% of the french resistance fighters were women. 5000 women were captured and end -- sent to a concentration camp. the soviet union mobilized women in the early stages of the war
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integrating them into demand army units and not using the exhilaration that two's -- the auxiliary status. some 800,000 women served, most of whom were on the frontline duty units. about 300,000 served. 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 interior japanese army before and during world war ii. approximately 2 million jewish women were killed. in the united kingdom workplace
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when britain went to war in world war i previously for bid in job opportunities opened up for women -- previously for bid and -- previously forbidden job opportunities. women created the weapons used in the battlefield. women took on the responsibility of leading the home. the rules of the women shifted from domestic to masculine and dangerous jobs in the workforce and that made for important change in workplace structures and society. during the second world war, society had specific ideals for the jobs in which both women and
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men participated. we women begin 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. as a result, many women were unable to hold their jobs in the work place.
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this began a labor shortage where an estimated 1.5 million people were needed for the army force an additional 775,000 four 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 it in the war -- their bit in the war. women were the target again and various forms of cap again to because -- forms of propaganda because they were paid substantially less than men. it was no concern if women with billing the same jobs as 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
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gender. in the engineering industry alone, the number of skilled and semiskilled female workers increased from 75 percent 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,
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and then into the military. women were also recruited to the canals, transporting munitions by barge across the u.k.. 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
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women's naval service, the women's auxiliary air force, and the auxiliary territorial service. 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
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more 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. they were used in high danger roles and -- as secret agents and underground radio transmitters and not the occupied europe -- in nazi occupied europe. women who entered -- great numbers of women who entered the wartime forces were volunteers compared to men, who made up less than 1/3, single or married
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women volunteered in women's royal neighbor service -- naval service and were required to serve throughout written 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 epoch and had to fulfill other requirements including -- the applicant had to fulfill other requirements, including an interview and medical examination. if they were deemed fit to serve, than they were enrolled for the duration of the war.
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women's royal naval service was the only service that offered a 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. women's royal naval service was the second most preferred choice. 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
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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. the demands of the wartime industry called for women 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
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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.
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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
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united states 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 pity collaborators themselves.
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yet, resistance groups could also be merciless toward women. in brittany, it is said that head shaving had been made in the resistant underground press since 1941. there was a strong element of [indiscernible] and their crowds. even through the punishment, they were about to inflict symbolized the decentralization of the victim, this ugly carnival became the pattern soon after d-day.
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when a town or city had been liberated, the shearers would get to work. 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 in 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.
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a large number of the victims were prostitutes who had simply plied their trade with germans as well as frenchman. 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. 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
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prisoner of war camp's. 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. jealousy masqueraded as moral outrage because people envied the food and internment of this woman had pursued -- these women had received as a result of their conduct. when an actor died in 1992, she received a myriad of obituaries
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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 street casually to the sound of a drum as if france was reliving
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the revolution of 1789. 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 with the first targets because they often were the easiest scapegoats. naturally, 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
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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 to race in the late spring of 1945 -- took place in the late spring of 1945 when forced laborers, prisoners of war, and concentration cap victims returned from germany. revenge on women would present a form of expression for the frustration and sense of impotence among males humiliated
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by their country's occupation. when called 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. after 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
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abroad. at the end of world war ii those women who have found alternate employment for women lost their jobs. the returning soldiers had to be found jobs, and many wanted society to return to normal. then, for the most part rightly claimed recognition for their participation in the war but women at their side never claimed [indiscernible] 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
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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 war effort and other minority women? mr. francois: most of the
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american african women worked in factories, not in the army but in factories. >> what countries, other than russia, actually had women fighting in combat roles in the front lines? dominique francois what was the question? >> what countries other than women 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 aircraft positions. but what country other than russia actually had them in the front lines? i think -- mr. francois: i think russia was the only country that had women in the front lines. i mean, the army. there was also women on the
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front line in the resistance like in france, greece yugoslavia. but in the army, there was only russia. >> 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 does 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.
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>> you had mentioned the role of women in the espionage. i wondered 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 sl we in the u.k. -- the soe in the u.k. they used women as agents in the nazi occupied countries like france, yugoslavia, holland, belgium. they had the mission as radio
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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
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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.
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there was a lot of controversy about these women who did their duty, that did very dangerous work and jobs and were punished by the patriots in france or in the other countries which were occupied by the nazis. >> this will be the last question. >> can i assume that in the axis powers, women served in similar capacity in the factories and an auxiliary? do you know? >> did women also serve in the war in germany, italy, japan romania? mr. francois: exactly like in
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the u.s. or the u.k. they served in factories, and farms for propaganda -- yes exactly the same. >> ok, merci beaucoup, mr. francois. [applause] >> joint american history tv tomorrow as we look back 50 years to the voting rights act. president lyndon johnson went to the u.s. capitol rotunda on august 6 1965, to sign the bill he believed would be his greatest legacy. american history tv will go behind the scenes and here white house telephone calls between lbj and his aides as well as civil rights leader martin luther king and members of congress who strategized how to interact and in or say voting rights law. we talked with lbj's domestic policy advisor and an historian who has edited transcripts of lbj's white house calls, and we will see the president's speech at the u.s. capitol before he
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signed the bill. sunday at 10:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. and >> howard university history professor edna greene medford discusses the experiences of freed slaves and the years following the american civil war. she discusses economic independence, education, and political rights of the aspirations and talk about their struggle to achieve that. this program was part of the symposium hosted by the lincoln group. >> and you may wonder why we have this old podium. this pulpit is the one in the old church that pastor gurlleey would have used during the pre-martial era while the old church was in action.


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