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British Women’s Wartime Experiences in Britain During the Second World War

  • Date Submitted: 09/28/2011 08:47 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.1 
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Introduction
      Women have always and everywhere played vital roles in war efforts; their contributions have typically been that of nurturers and peacemakers. Women have on the whole been absent from battlegrounds, but in reality they, too, fought their own battles; on the home front. For the women of wartime Britain in the Second World War, war was not only a distant sound in the background, it crept inside all aspects of public and private life. British Women were no longer reduced to looking at battlefields from the outside, in fact they were placed in the middle of one of them and expected to fight the battle at war and on the “Kitchen Front”. They worked in munitions industries, worked on the land, served in the auxiliary forces; the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS), Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC). Moreover, they worked as nurses and secret agents in the Special Operations Executive (SOE), evacuated children into their homes, or volunteered for women’s voluntary organisation such as the Home Guard and fire duties, while coping with rationing, childcare, household responsibilities, blackouts, shopping while dodging attacks and bombs at the same time. This, of course, is a generalisation, but fact remains that the women of wartime Britain were highly involved and affected by the Second World War unlike they had been before in an international conflict.
      Many scholars and historians have looked at how the Second World War affected and impacted the lives of women during and after the war, however less attention is given to the individual female worker or housewife. By looking at the voices of the British wartime women, it is hopefully possible to conclude how women themselves conducted and experienced the war. By examining which obstacles and barriers women faced in the war years, 1939-1945, it is thereby possible to conclude how British women themselves lived through the...

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