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tv   Womens Roles in World War I  CSPAN  August 26, 2020 9:12pm-10:11pm EDT

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>> an author talks about the second line of defense, american women in world war i, examining the different roles, including participation in the workforce, media, and propaganda. the museum in kansas city, missouri hosted this event and provided the video. >> this evening, we are really thrilled to have our guest with us. thank you for making the journey. she will have a conversation with us, make a presentation with us for about 45 minutes, after which there will be a cue and a time and there are microphones on each side. camille will help navigate that and those of you who are unable to come to the mic, just let her know and we can accommodate that. afterwards, there's a book signing you will have seen this book in the lobby and sean is there, able to take your credit card and lynn will be ready to sign it. it's not too early to be making
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christmas gifts. so get all that shopping done well before you'll. . doctor lynn dumenil is the robert glass professor of history at oxford college. she is taught at a number of distinguished institutions including berkeley, witman college in claremont mckenna college, she specializes in u.s. women's history and cultural and social history since the civil war. she is a distinguished professor many honors. including being a senior broad lecturer at the university alley, full bright lecture, and many other recognitions, which is all to say that we are in for a treat. she brings to this topic a
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richness that i think will make this experience one of real memory for us. so once again, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here and for participating in the activities of the national world war one museum and memorial. i invite you back. please join me in welcoming doctor lynn dumenil. (applause) >> thank you. i am really delighted to be here. i want to thank the museum for inviting me, but also tell
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camille how much i appreciate her organizing me, and of course, thank you for coming. when you think about it, on the surface, talking about women and war, it seems an odd connection because we so usually associate war with mail soldiers, with combat, with masculinity itself, so why talk about women and war? well, for those of you who know the museum, you know that in total wars like world war i and world war ii, civilians become increasingly important, and women are a part of that process. they worked in munitions factories, they served as nurses and other aides to the military machine. and much more bureaucratically than women had worked for war than in the past. it is actually tied to the nature of a modern state, a bureaucratic war.
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and this is particularly true in the united states. women were very much involved in a wide range of activities, and their support for the war effort is, in fact, a part of the definition of how modern global wars were fought. so if women's role in wartime allows us to more fully understand the nature of war mobilization and the rhetoric in support of war, it also helps us to think about the role of world war i as a watershed, as an idea that somehow, since the war, things changed. i got interested in this because i did a book on the 1920s. as i did it, people kept saying, since the war. something happened, something happened. it was their marker for explaining what they thought were the extraordinary changes in the 1920s. and this is particularly true for how people talked about women. it is very interesting because
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right before the war, americans started talking about this new women. she was seemingly liberated, excuse me, i'm an after the war, she was seemingly liberated in terms of politics, work and private life, especially in terms of sexuality. and of course this new woman, or the flappers, as you may be used to thinking about her, was a stereotype and she really only described to any great extent, young, white, privileged women. but even though we can argue about how liberated women may or may not have been, there is no question that among mainstream women at least, new norms and new opportunities were expanding and observers during the 1920s gave the war at least partial credit. according to frederik lewis allen. after the war women quote poured out of schools and colleges into all manners of occupation. causing as he put it, to quote,
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slackening of parental and husband lee authority. encouraging the quote headlong pursuit of freedom. and widely, during world war one, dramatic changes did seem imminent. militant women suffered supporters were outraging the nation by picketing the white house. women were taking jobs formerly thought to be exclusively appropriate for men. 25,000 women served overseas as support for the troops. millions did highly visible work at home. but was the war really transformative? most of the changes that observers saw in the 1920s, we can really see is early as 1910. for example, in 1910, marks a significant upswing in women's participation in the workforce, not 1920. the teens were also extremely important in terms of women in politics, the progressive reform air assault women's
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heightened political involvement and most importantly, the suffrage movement had heat it up in the teens. by 1914, 11 states had already passed women's suffrage. yes so before the war, americans were talking and recognizing that women were challenging conventional rules and they were very ambivalent about this change. and another complication about this question of the impact of war on women was that many of the dramatic changes of the war, especially those concerning women getting quote, men's jobs, disappeared at war sent. like that. historians, myself included, don't really think the war was that transformative. it wasn't causal. but we still need to account for observers in the 1920s sense of social change since the war. and for that matter, we need to understand the common belief during the war that much change
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was in effect in terms of women's roles. these beliefs suggest that the war became a marker for consciousness concerning the emergence of the new woman. so what i am arguing here is that the war accelerated developments already underway. but specifically heightened awareness of this emerging and contestant new woman. my book examines a wide range of issues. much broader than i can talk about here. women's work, their experience abroad, ethnic and racial and class divisions among women, the suffrage movement, but today, i want to hone in on this question of war as a marker of change. to do that, i want to concentrate on visual imagery during the war concerning women and war. before i get into the specifics, i want to point out that in mainstream popular culture, women of of color were
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virtually invisible. in reporting about women's war mobilization. this doesn't mean they weren't there, of course. in los angeles, for example, mexican american, japanese american and african american women were active in red cross auxiliaries that raised funds and provided knitted goods. when the war extended to the great migration of african americans to cities in the south and north, migrants included women who found new opportunities beyond domestic and agricultural labor. but although we can find evidence of their participation, especially that of black women, the modern woman so celebrated during the war and after was in part to find by her whiteness. so my images will focus on this group. so let me turn to the images. i'm going to look at both print and film. in print media, we see that the representation of women reflects both traditional
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values concerning women's proper roles and suggested the possibility for cultural and social change. and political change, to. government propaganda, for the most part, followed a very conventional pattern. posters frequently used female figures as abstract icons representing the nation and its war aims. even in the museum, you've seen many images like this, a beautiful woman in this case, flanked by the united states flags are driven dressed in the stars and stripes, symbolize to what the nation was fighting for, and often was-ing explicitly used to encouragement to enlist. here, she is encouraging everyone to buy bonds. this reveals a way in which wartime illustrators conflated and idealized woman with the nation state. these were heroic figures, not real women, and the iconography
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was deeply rooted in western european arts and religious conventions. now, there is one kind of interesting not official poster. african americans don't appear in government issued posters, so they made their own. this is from a magazine, i can't resist it because one, it shows how powerful that convention was of raping a woman in the flag to represent liberty, right? but the other thing that is really great about this is that you can see at the bottom, it says made in america. and made is spelled maid it's pretty witty on the part of the editor of this black newspaper to comment on the type of work that women were allowed to do. and inside the magazine, they often said that african american women were made in america, meaning they were true americans, unlike those dangerous immigrants. this is one image that is so
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exceptional that it's a good counter to the rest of the things you are going to see. i'm going to move to some of the government posters that were issued at the time. for the most part, they follow these very conventional patterns. posters frequently used, excuse me, i missed something. posters represented actual women in these cases. it encourage them to participate in war activities, including farming in the women's land army, or buying liberty bonds, or needing socks, or conserving food. they rarely challenged ideas of women's proper place and i think you can see that very clearly in the lovely woman in her we'd list kitchen, the lovely grandmother, warm and welcoming her sons to win the war and the red cross one, as you may well know one, of the most popular and famous posters of the war era and it was
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re-used during world war ii as well. many would argue that this actually suggests a lot of power because the woman who is holding the soldier in her arms is enormous and it looks like a baby. it's a pieta it shows power, but it shows women in maternal power, right? it does fit with my argument that it is fairly conventional. for the most part, government issued posters denied or ignored the claim of women activists who insisted that women were workers where the second line of defense. on the left, you will see a poster created by the ymca. it is not a government poster and it is very typical of the wide to represent winning being crucial to the war effort. and this, you've got to admit, it's absolutely remarkable in
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the way it challenges conventional notions about women. they look like they're an army, they are carrying heavy equipment, wrenches in the like, and it is reminding them that women are an army. they are backing our second line of defense. the only poster that have ever found that the government issued fixturing a working woman was the one on the right. in this case, you can see that she's doing something quite conventional, in terms of early 20th century. she is a secretary. she is part of the war effort, she's doing good work, but she is clearly doing something in a very conventional sort of way. like a government propaganda, commercial media usually portrayed women in traditional roles as well. poignant depictions of soldiers leaving their womenfolk behind as they went off to war, was a popular motif and there were romantic pictures of soldiers and their sweethearts, like
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this one. i'm hitting the trail to normandy, so kissed me goodbye. with the man and woman locked in a passionate embrace. this one was more erotically charged than most images of the sort, but nonetheless it seems to emphasize that war is men's work and they frame military service not just in terms of defending their country, but of also protecting their female dependence. so that notion of masculinity becomes very clear in this image. although these images of maternal or feminine women doing their part for the war did not challenge generals, they were very evident, there were alternative representations of women in war. in particular, coverage in newspapers and magazines of women's war efforts seized upon the way in which women were breaking new ground. as one woman wrote in a 1918
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magazine article, today she is everywhere, a salvation lassie, a salvation army lassie, serving coffee and donuts on the firing line, in the red cross emergency hospital, at the front, in the munitions factory at home, filling the gaps in man-made industry everywhere. the media was absolutely fascinated by the way women were taking on jobs thought to be mail. and i should point out that it wasn't the case more women were working during the war, but rather that they were working in more interesting and better paid jobs. it is a shift in the nature of their work, not in an expansion of their numbers. support my suggestion of how engaged the media was, i'm giving you my absolutely favorite image. this is from the philadelphia enquirer and it features an
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illustration of several powder workers, munitions workers, they're in a new jersey plant. the women are dressed in identical overalls with simple cap. their arms around each other, and they look boldly into the camera. there are smiles are bright and suggest the light, if not in the work they are doing, and having their pictures taken. the very nature of the group photograph like this moreover reinforces a sense of shared identity among the women as the much celebrated munitions workers. the text that accompanies the images says, girls employed here have shown that they are not afraid of their jobs as powder makers, but go to their work with the same coolness as men. this kind of image multiplies, an island newspaper offers a photograph of a pants wearing munitions worker standing at a formidable looking machine and explaining that women workers at the frankfurt arsenal new
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jersey designed the outfit that the u.s. government had been adopted for use working and their plants. this attention to women's working clothes is absolutely crucial. it underscores the novelty of women taking on what were formerly men's jobs. and this would persist in the warriors. this would persist in the warriors for most. although there were also some slight changes in costumes for women not working in industry. for example, in the past, they were a white blouse and a dark, simple skirt. the only thing that happens during the war for that kind of clothing is that the hemlines go up slightly. but for the women whose new jobs require pants, overalls, or skirted uniforms, they were really breaking dramatically
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with convention. they're masculine iced clothes symbolize the way in which they were taking on male jobs. and women who wore uniforms, especially conductors, elevator operators and the like, were notable and that's their apparel was linked to the notion of a military uniform. they used to this type of uniform and suggested that women's work was part of their service to the nation in times of war. they were thus an expression of citizenship. images of the cross dressing worker signals a boundary crossing new woman. it wasn't just that women were working in factories or railroads or street cars who were wearing all these uniforms. women who served abroad as nurses, social workers, telephone operators, or volunteered at home for government or quasi-governmental agencies, received extensive publicity about their uniforms. here, this one is a why it
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should be ymca worker, the young men's christian association, creating canteens at the front and hired women to run them. this is fairly typical of the type of image that appeared in the media and in here, what i think is interesting is that not only is she wearing her uniform, and looking boldly into the camera, but she's next to an enormous military truck. that's very common that the images of women abroad are shown in that way. my favorite image is one that the museum has, but it's not as good as the top of the copy that i bought for my own house. it's a little bizarre, i will admit, to have a world war i poster in your living room. but i love it, so i did it. it was a present to me. remember, the why w. c is not messing around in the way in
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which it talks about women being part of the second line of defense and this is really quite extraordinary the operator the telephone operators in her neat uniform she's competently it work at her switchboard, but behind her is the backdrop of a really teaming of uniform men in battle. she, like the man is clearly at the front. a message that her military uniform underlines. and i wanted to emphasize that it's not just women abroad that women at home who work for the men cross they might be working various other kinds of non governmental agencies, they all had uniforms and they were constantly being discussed in magazines and newspapers. and so this is a good example. some of these are women abroad but otherwise, you can see you have a woman farmer, you have a driver, the woman drivers next to the former. she's very much like my lovely
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woman on the cover of my book. so the activities of women as we joiners, as overseas participants and home front volunteers receive their clearest expression of both citizenship and the boundary crossing new woman in the newspaper magazine coverage of parades. such as a liberty bond parades or the red cross one. and these to emphasize the uniformed women. i think this is quite remarkable. one it's taking place in new york it's a motor course, it's a voluntary association of women. you can see how clearly their uniforms are modeled after male uniforms of the time. this one i think is also particularly interesting, these are canteen workers for the national league for women service, and ngo of the time. they are walking down fifth avenue so it's the iconic place where you have military parades
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and hear these women are part of a red cross one, with the flags, their uniforms aren't perfect step, i think it really illustrates my point beautifully. and for a little local color, this is young women or girls in kansas city. these are red cross volunteers who are in high school, and they're being seen marching in their uniforms, which is very typical of red cross parades to have children of various sorts and again, all in uniform. a few years before the war, it was considered radical for respectable women to be in a public place like this. the suffrage movement began its parades in 1910 and they were considered a major challenge to respectable notions of women's behavior. this bold occupation of public space that happens during the war was an important
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demonstration of women's legitimacy as political actors. but it's contested. there are people who are nervous about this. so i think it's really significant that women played such an important part in patriotic parades. the coverage of way journeying women or overseas workers, i volunteers, offers of vision of white women and happening space public space, that was previously thought to be exclusively male. this transgression was generally legitimate it in the context of a national crisis that literally required that women step outside convention. if not all women, donned mail attire or manage uniforms or took to the street to join male citizens in parading for the national cause. many did. their action garnered extensive publicity that offered the american public a sense, often
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a striking visual one, that the new woman so often debated in the years before the war had seized the war as an opportunity for challenging gender conventions in the name of patriotism. the same kind of thing will see when we switch to film. here again, there are images that represent conventional women and images that are challenging them. not many world war i films still exist. from my research, i saw those that did exist and then i used fan magazines, stills, motion picture distributor summaries, and the like. there were a lot of different war films. many of them featured battles, as you might expect. but there was another genre that focused on war and the home front and domestic issues. they were quite striking in their portrayal of women. many of these films represented war as a means to protect women
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in the family, so men's role in that protective situation. others portrayed modern women who themselves were eager to seek, to battle the enemy themselves. a significant number of films, even those that featured the modern, strong women, turned on the theme of rape and assault to stress women's vulnerability and i'm going to turn to that for a few minutes. to get to that i have to go back to prince media for a moment. i'm sure many of you have seen some posters like this. a couple of these i think are in the museum. for contemporary viewers, remember belgium, about the brutal death of children in the rapes of women that were the subject of extensive british propaganda. although the propaganda was undoubtedly exaggerated, wartime rape certainly did take place and there is certainly no doubt that american public had
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a perception of german soldiers as the brutish hunts. destroy this mad brute, is another good example of this. it's originally a british poster that was adapted for the american audience. this haunting image requests more than the artist depiction of the germans as its power derives in part from the pervasive american convention of depicting racial others as ape like hoax. it specifically enjoying the popular stereotype of racial others, of immigrants and blacks. as threats to pure white womanhood. and by extension, the nation itself. in the last one, we have to dig a bit. the woman's form across the uncle sims lap is the iconic representation that we talked about earlier. but here, we are supposed to connect the concept of a woman's honor, in other words,
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her chastity, with the nations. this visual merging of women's virtue with national honor signal to the way in which wartime representation of sexual violation symbolized the threat to both patriarchal and national power. it's not surprising that we see this theme repeatedly in films. one of the most important ones was hearts of the world, a a dw griffith film. you can still see it. it's from 1918 and centers on a small village in france where two young americans, marie and douglas, fall in love. but their wedding plans are disrupted by the coming of the war. he decides to fight for france and then the film details the brutish hunts in many different ways. the young women of the village or sexually assaulted by drunken germans. marie is reduced to slave labor essentially in a potato field. the poster advertising this film features that exact act
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with lillian gish, the actress who plays marie being whipped by the people germans. marie is also cornered by the evil german, according to photo play "he cornered her behind a locked door, chuckling, muttering the vile words in german, running a lascivious hands over her arms and shoulders as he held her close. that's the picture from the still in photo play. the end comes when marie escapes to the attic where she finds douglas who had disappeared. this is quite a miraculous thing. it happens a lot. as they await their inevitable capture, they pledge their marriage vows and marie extracts from douglas his pledge that he will shoot her himself if the germans find them. in other words, saving her
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literally from a fate worse than death. mercifully, they are rescued when a secondary comedic character, a spunky character, saves them by lobbing a grenade at the germans as they advance. so this rape threat owes a great deal to the convention of u.s. melodrama, and it was certainly not unique to the war. if you have seen the pretty vile birth of a nation, you know that it centers around rate of a white woman by newly freed slaves and guess what? one of the stars of birth of a nation is lillian gish. the same character here. the audience makes the connections. it's very clear. war films ubiquitous use of this added an extra layer of meaning by adding -- letting the rape stand for what was at stake in the war. certainly, national honor and other things, but also brutality against women and the
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threat to the family. that's one of the central ways in which propaganda was portrayed to americans. for men, support to the war came framed as protection for their families. hollywood's use of this rape imagery supports allied war aims, obviously, but it's a vehicle for re-inscribing victorian notions about women's passivity and vulnerability. another genre which one critic has called the slacker film, talks about the dangerous side of familial love. there are at least a dozen of these enlistment dramas or slacker films that feature an overly protective mother who tries to keep her son from enlisting. a 1918 film features a mother who alters her son's birth
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certificate to make him ineligible for service. according to photo play, the mother is a strange study in affection unscrupulous nice. one of the suggestions for had advertised the film to distributors what to use spiders in their display. for window work and says, use dried or artificial spiders. now, these are stills from the film, the film no longer exist sadly. on the left, you see the mother and the draft board. her son is behind him, and she is trying to keep them from taking her son. so this is very powerful. the only other women in the picture is virginia, who is on the left with a little hat. virginia is the one who convinces the man that he must enlist, he must defy his mother any must be a real man. here she is congratulating him, and you know his mother is long gone. this is i think really quite
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interesting, she is the all american girl. she is modern, she is sort of the representation of young modern womanhood. it's not the mothers, but the young women in these types of films who usually are the vehicle for restoring the man's manhood, is patriotism. mothers -- scrupulous are inspired or's, they are also presented as overly protective. in contrast the young women are not just young, but they are modern. they shame the men, but they themselves are often want to go fight themselves, talk about how the star they are that they are not able to serve. so these are really quite significant representations about this new modern womanhood. now, another genre is what i call for lack of a better word, the plucky -- films. plucky women. in numerous war films, young
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women face danger and show bravery and resourcefulness, and in many cases they cross dress wearing men's close to at least in part of the film. these brave women were not new to the film era of the war era, and the team cereal phones that targeted most the working class women featured heroines who acted in unconventional ways. escaping danger, showing pluck and daring -- as we see in world war i it's following something that came slightly before. the most significant cereal during the war is a series called patricia. it away from the 60 to the 1817. the vast majority of the film is lost, but like most cereals at the time, they are summarized every week with photographs and images. interesting project -- primarily because it was a vehicle for william randall
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first. his company he was very heavily involved in this and reflected his politics. it's a call for preparedness, but it features not germany as america's potential enemy, but rather japan than an ally of britain with an assist from mexico. as such it reflects the pervasive racism in the hearst publication. this is by the way this immerman telegram. so it's his idea. here i want to focus on the representation of patricia, played by the famous actress irene castle. week after week, patriot and par, her boyfriend and federal agent conveniently, face one horrific that after another. patch approves herself to be a crack shot, an ace pilot, a fearless defender of yourself and others. one reviewers breathless comment -- was repeating at length, their viewer thinks the casts --
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around stunts which is pretty typical. it's long but it's sort of breathless. and patrick, she's thrown from the back of a horse, she dives headlong from the deck of an oceangoing steamboat, and swims to a motorboat in which he climbs up. she climbs a mast of a burning ship, and falls with the mask into the water far below. she plunges over a waterfall into the whirlpool, she races her motor against the railroad car, loaded with dynamite. she flies an airplane, she operates a machine gun and does many other things that make you gasp. but never for a moment as she lose her dainty graceful feminine charm. i don't think this is all in 1:15 minute segment, but possibly. the emphasis on castles and by extension -- femininity is pervasive in the serialized version of the plot as well as the reviews in advertisements. and the reviews comment and
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emphasize her gorgeous clothing, including this one which is an elegantly tailored skirt, it's a military uniform. she's in full military guard, her arms outstretched and her body leans forward which i think convey something at the feminine power that the serial thought to convey. so she's confident and independent. at the end of the cereal, the mexican and japanese army invade the united states at the border. par, who patches put in charge of our army, is wounded and so she has to come in and take charge, and as you might imagine, the invasion was repelled. the series ends with a couple committing themselves to each other and the service of their country. these spy and detective plots which were emerging in patricia, also appeared in feature films none of them still exist but all of them have scripts and other things to let us know this is a fairly common theme in the popular film of the
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time. and it really does suggest that the pitching of resolute women who tangled with the enemy and a number of hair raising adventures. i want to conclude with two films, both of which you can see if you wish. ñ who already was a major star in the teens. the love for her curls and her winston performance, in which she invariably played young girls, not women. in a two war related films, she took on a more mature persona. and joanna and list that comes out of 1918, she features a lonely young girl stuck on a farm with very strict parents. she's bored, she's visible. italy army camps on our fathers ground, things are great. she's having a terrific time. she falls in love with an impressive army officer, and when he is getting ready to go abroad, she steals a military
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uniform to try to hide in order to go with them troops. well she's found of course, but the commander agrees that should be can become a mascot for the unit and you can see in the final and final scene, it shows the boys marching away and joanna is in the soldiers suit on a cannon, waving the american flag. now, so the one on the left is one of the films advertising campaign. the one on the right is a picture of a mary herself. she often did show up in this military uniform, the reason for this is that she was very much engaged in promoting the war. she adopted the 143rd field artillery unit and california and in fact or troops are part of the film. and this dispatching to the military in the war was a significant part of her public image during the war. she appeared both as a charlie
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chaplain and douglas fire banks, as well as alone to still war bonds. she offered rousing a ration, is encouraging men to lift, and women to get their mental the colors. she impacted thousands of spectators, and certainly became the most well-known female supporter of the war. now there's no reason to think that this is all about a publicity technique, but certainly her studio made the most of it as you might imagine. and the little a medal, one of the films posters -- i forgot to give you another cool piece all just go back. you seen these i think, there in the museum so if you're in a regular museum person you know them. on the one hand it seems to being quite extraordinary that the women are wearing uniforms. but in fact, i don't think they suggest something that by the power that comes with the uniforms. these women are sexy. they're trading on their
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sexuality. i would say the same thing about these pictures, the former picture of mary pictured as joanna. she is not supposed to be powerful there right? her uniform is really almost re-emphasizing her femininity. so, the images that you see in joanna are not very radical right? this is the one i was talking about a few minutes ago, this is from the little american. here with the publicity department has done is turn mary pictured into america, into lady liberty and taken that notion of what the language posed to present, present the iconic lady liberty and there she is. america sweetheart, which is also during world war war when she got that name. now, this film is fascinating. here she plays an adult woman, there is an interesting correspondence between the mail, the director and producer jesse -- that reveal that lasts very
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specifically wanted -- to portray a girl in the sort of roll a feminist in the country are now interested in. the kind of girl that jumps in and does a man's work when the manner at the front line. what mary doesn't quite do this, but she is nonetheless remarkably competent, and competent before the war -- washington d.c. and two suitor[p$6 c1 one french jewels, one german cara. they go off to call fight for the respective countries, and shortly thereafter, angela neutral american failed -- her and in belgium. and this film came out before the u.s. enter the war. the bogus torpedo and a disaster scene on the ship is specifically designed to evoke -- desire. the rescue boat, we get the first hint of angela spanking us. she shake her fist at the supreme commander, and holding up the flag claiming you fired on american women and children. by the time she reached the
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château, the germans are fast approaching -- she's in charge, and her major go initially is to try to protect her female servants. this is a still on the left from the film. she bundles him off to the attic, and the marauding germans -- brew to threaten her, a new soldier appear to of course as you might imagine, is her former. in the dark he almost rapes or. once they recognize each other she chastise him for having become part of the military machine, and together they hear the offscreen rape of a servant women. it's a spark of manhood, go and say this one this is the aftermath of that seem. this is the other poster for the film, so on one hand you have mary, america lady liberty and all the reds and whites and blues.
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and then you have this pastel image straight out of kind of victorian representation, of the passive until women who are the victims of war. the silent suffers, that shows the way where the film is struggling with both topics of representation. to complex set of developments, of which will be happy to know i'm not gonna detail, it goes on. angela's fight for the french and she's encouraged by carl, -- come to her side. he regains himself in other words, his effort they're caught and they're facing a firing squad. but jewels arrives and saves them both, but there is still a huge disaster and its mary who saves carl from death. so she again is quite the heroin she's resolute and her determination to do what is right. she emerges as an independent
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plucky woman who thinks of nothing of going to belgium alone and it's the war, and when she becomes entangled in the war she's both resourceful and brave and saving herself and the man she loves. this plucky how and, certainly signal challenges to conventional notions about women's essentially passive role in war. they say themselves and others, they become orders. they serve as nurses abroad. more dramatically, movie heroines like castles, patch rhea, or pictured angela, challenge barriers to notions of women's conventional and respectable behavior by taking on the enemy firsthand and winning. the radical potential of this challenge, i would say however, is constrained by the emphasis of femininity and the predictable happy ending of love and marriage. i would also say that this persistent motif of sexual danger remained a potent reminder of women's vulnerability in the face of an
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evil enemy. films hand at a provocative new women enjoy new freedom and independence, but ultimately convey's that women of wartime opportunities for significant changes in women's roles. so in world war i, france and film media, conventional's images of women, especially that future their sexual vulnerability, poses with more moderate presentation. projects the position of the to suggest the way in which the error was -- pensions about the changing roles of american women. but clearly the media recognize and provocatively pictured potential for dramatic change in women's lives. working women challenged men, the prerogative never more obviously than when they donned overall in uniforms parading women who took their patriotism to the street often suggested that many women were eager to move beyond the constraints of home and family to a larger arena. many film heroines were
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resourceful and independent, american audiences were relentlessly expose them to women who challenged conventions. and work, and clothing, and freedom of movement, in the occupation of public space. so much so, that many were convinced that the warhead produced dramatic change. but despite these expectations, these ideas, these notions really didn't survive the war. suffrage certainly was expedited by the war, and was a really important piece of the story. but for women workers, their job opportunities evaporated when war was ended. so too was their assumptions about women's roles in the 1920s. a lot of anxiety about women who might be challenging those, and let me just show you to images from the 1920s. on the left, this is how the u.s. postal service decided to
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portray women in the 1920s. as the highly sexualized dancing flapper, and on the right you see the clara bow. she was a far cry from the war era women of the second line of defense. so women proper place in the war was challenged, but by the 1920s all of the kinds of representation of challenge that featured strong risk forceful independent women in politics and work, i've really sort of emerged and a sexualized imagery that we see here. and that is a whole another lecture, so i will leave you with that. thank you. (applause) folks who are welcome to come down to either
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mike, or you can raise your hand and i will come to you. you describe how the the wave of change for women began 1914, and i'm wondering if you can draw a relationship between the wave of immigration in the early 20th century and what followed in the first and second decade. >> that's a really good question. and i tend to always say that, i have to find a different response. it is a really good question. one of the things i think you may be thinking about is one of the things that happened for women in terms of immigration is, that european emigrant daughters fled the workplace primarily in factories. and one of the things they do in teams, it's become very involved in the labor movement.
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so they're out in the streets picketing, and showing themselves as quite resourceful and independent. the argument is that the suffrage movement, the mainstream suffrage movement, to some extent draws its parading and more radical physical activities from working class women. so, i definitely think there's a link there. does that answer your question? thank you. yes? >> i am wondering about the relationship between the russian revolution and -- women in 1917. >> that's another really good question. so, there are a lot of different ways talk about it. one of the things that was really exciting for people at the time, you can ask analysts, russian women served in uniform. one of the most cause battalion a death, the leader comes
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united states -- highly talented. there's a movie, really cheesy one based on the story as well. so that is part of it, there is something going on here that women are not just serving a support for troops, but there is actually an example of women who are really challenging it. it's a long complicated story that's tied into the revolution. obviously. the thing that i really like about it is that american women journalists, go to russia. and they have to do so, it's scary. you got a siberian express, all sorts of things. and they get their, and they then go they're -- out with the women and interview them. help increase the publicity about something that's really a threat. and the women journalists are just really remarkable, they are the center i would say of the early 20th centuries sort of feminist movement. two of the journalists were part of a really important new
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york circle of feminists, and so they just move right in to the war in that way. so that you speak to some really interesting points, did i answer enough for your question? did you have something else in mind? >> would you give me the name of the journal? >> yes sure, one of them is madeleine jody d.o.t. why. another is best cbd b.e.a. tv why. and i am having us -- louise bryant. was married to read who wrote ten days that shook the world, which is you know, the famous beatty film -- member that one. my husband is also his story that thinks she wrote the book, not read. there's actually a book by a woman name julia macon bird i
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think, on women of the revolution. russian women, it's really great. and includes american women as well. >> hi my mom was in the british army. in world war ii, and the way she described it at the time that after france fell, that it was kind of all hands on deck. in britain, no matter who you were, you were gonna serve one way somehow. i was wondering world war i, was that the same in britain because at the time i think the monarchy was a little stronger, and down nasty and all that kind of stuff. there was still a nobility around whereas the u.s. did not really have an ability that could influence things in such a way, we were more democratic so to speak. i was wondering what that effect might have had on british women during world war i? >> well, as you know in britain
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is in the pretty dire straits of world war i. they are losing men and a rate they've never could've imagined. 20,001 day. so women are really brought in by by necessity into a variety of things. but also as ambulance drivers, nurses, and clerical workers. u.s. army would not let american women, they were in the marines and they were in the navy. but not the army. they would not let them go abroad. they hired other people, they hired british women as secretaries in france because -- so ... i would say there is a real sense of urgency but still the brits were dragging their feet, there was this desire on the part of british women to create a land army. the government resisted until finally they have no choice.
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they really needed to use women in the field in order to bring in the crops. so it's not quite the same willingness to do that, but there is certainly a lot of it. much more than the united states, because the british war is much different than the american war. i sometimes feel odd when i talk about american women, who go abroad. to some extent they're having a great time, it's like a vacation some ways. they're excited, and part of my exclamation for that is that they come, they're there for a very short time. they haven't really experienced this -- the way europeans did. there's a real difference between american british and french and german and alike. thank you. >> folks doctor do than all will be available in a lobby afterwards. if you have more questions, so on behalf of the national world war one museum and memorial, thank you for coming and another round of applause for
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dr. -- it (applause) >> weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv program, and a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span three. on thursday, from american history tv, history bookshelf series, a night of authors discussing american presidents, starting with david and jean on the rise of andrew jackson. mid, manipulation, and the making of modern politics. the book examines andrew jackson's in 20 elections -- watch thursday night beginning at eight eastern, and enjoy american history tv this week, and every weekend on c-span three. you're watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span three, explore our nations past. c-span 3, created by americas cable television company as a public service, and brought to you today by your television provider.
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chad williams is the author of torchbearers of democracy, african american soldiers in the world war i era. next, he talks about the postwar activism of the soldiers, explaining how after fighting with the idea of democracy abroad, many return to join movements to secure more rights and better social standing for african american here at home. national world war one museum, in kansas missouri -- of 2019. now i'd like to introduce our first speaker for this morning. doctor chad williams, he is a -- agus this professor and history at african and african american studies at brandon university. he specializes in african american and modern united states history, world war i and african american intellectual history. he is the author of


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