Lessons of War: Gender and the Second World War

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Lessons of War:

Gender and the Second World War

Lancaster University

12-13 September 2013

List of Contents

Schedule of Events 3 - 8

Authors and their Papers 9 - 39

List of speakers and their contact emails 40 - 42

With sincere thanks to all participants, to Sarah Bailey, Christine Dundas, Amanda Harrison, Sharon Jennings, Karl and Molly Kuroski, David Lymme, Anne-Marie Mumford, Rachel Newbury, Sarah Ann Robin for all their help and support, and to our generous sponsors: the Department of History, Lancaster University; the Economic History Society and the Royal Historical Society.

Conference Programme Schedule

LESSONS OF WAR: Gender and the Second World War

Thursday 12 September 2013

9.30-10.00 Registration (Open Work Space, Management School (by Lecture Theatre 3))

10.00- 11.00 Welcome (MSLT03) (Corinna Peniston-Bird and Emma Vickers)

Keynote Lecture: ‘Gender, Grief and Mourning in Wartime'

Dr Lucy Noakes (University of Brighton).

11.00-11.30 Refreshments (MS Open Work Space)

11.30-13.00 FIRST SESSION

1a Women in Action (MSLT03) Chair: Jutta Schwarzkopf

Bischl, Kerstin

‘Look at Them' - Female soldiers in the Red Army 1941-45

Bothe, Alina

Virtual testimonies of female and male Jewish Resistance fighters

Pattinson, Juliette

Hussies, freaks and lady soldiers: uniform, subjectivity

and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, 1907-current

1b Familial Relationships and Roles in War (MSLT05) Chair: Helen Glew

Maynard, Linda

Brotherly loss: sibling grief in wartime

Steele, Helen

‘The saddest symptom of our time’: Bigamy cases in Vienna after the Second World War

Lautman, Emma

I don't like the war, it is not for girls - gender and childhood in Britain during the Second World War

13.00-14.00 LUNCH (MS Open Work Space)

14.00 – 15.30 SECOND SESSION

2a Representations of Service (MSLT03) Chair: Wendy Ugolini

Peniston-Bird, Corinna

Emphases and Omissions: Gender and British Memorialisation

Mercer, Alyson

Representing Second World War Women in the Gallery –

Contemporary Commemoration at the Imperial War Museum

Robb, Linsey

Millions like who? Cultural representations of male and female industrial workers, 1939-1945.

2b Gender under National Socialism (MSLT05) Chair: Emma Vickers

Bryant, Elizabeth

Politics towards Homosexuality in Nazi-Controlled Europe

Kramer, Nicole

War, gender, welfare. Social policy on the German home front

Barton, Deborah

Feminizing Total War? The Elasticity of Politics, 'Soft' News and the Public influence

of German Women Journalists, 1939-1945

15.30-16.00 Refreshments (MS Open Work Space)

16.00-17.30 THIRD SESSION

3a Masculinities at War (MSLTO3) Chair: Juliette Pattinson

Tumblety, Joan

Masculine renewal in France under Vichy and Occupation, 1940-1944

Zeavin, Hannah

Oh Listen, I can Talk Now: Rehabilitating Masculinity in the post World War II Moment

Budd, Helen

‘Softer' soldiers? Desertion and Resistance in East and West German Film and Literature of the 1950s.

3b Memories of War (MSLTO5) Chair: Alina Bothe

Li, Danke

Visual as memory: gender, memory and Chinese Political Cartoons in the Second World War

Swan, Daniel

We thought it would be exciting to join up': Female Mobilisation

in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight during the Second World War

Vigurs, Kate

Post War commemorations: Memorialising the Women of SOE F Section

19.30 CONFERENCE DINNER, STOREY INSTITUTE, NICE RESTAURANT. Meet from 19.00 at the Storey Institute Bar.


Conference Programme Schedule

LESSONS OF WAR: Gender and the Second World War


9.00-9.30 Registration (Management School OPEN WORK SPACE)


4a Insiders/Outsiders (MSLT03) Chair: Wendy Ugolini

Bland, Lucy

Interracial relationships and the 'brown baby' problem: black GIs, white British women and their mixed race offspring in the Second World War

Witkowska, Joanna

Soldiers on the love front - Bakhtinian Carnival?

Denness, Zoe

(by proxy)

‘30,000 points of danger': Female enemy aliens in Britain

and the gendering of Second World War internment policy

4b Gender and Domesticity (MSLT05) Chair: Joan Tumblety

Glew, Helen

The impact of the Second World War on the married woman worker in Britain and Canada, 1939-c.1950

Hand, Jane

Gender and Nutrition in the Second World War: The Legacy of Visual Food Propaganda

Spring, Kelly

Experiences of Rationing: Between Domesticity and War Work

11.00-11.30 Refreshments (MS OPEN WORK SPACE)

11.30-13.00 FIFTH SESSION

5a Gendered Labour (MSLT03) Chair: Kelly Spring

Wangari, Musalia Martha

Contested Resource: the Second World War and African Labour in Kenya

Tsukamoto, Sachiyo

From the Shadows of Silence and Shame to the Light of Voice and Dignity: Transnational Activism and the Contested Nature of the Historical Memory of the “Comfort Women” in Japan

Mak, Ariane

Wages, Consumption and Morality: Mining Communities and Women in Munitions Factories

5b Challenging the Combat Taboo (MSLTO5) Chair: Joanna Witkowska

Schwarzkopf, Jutta

Gendering Combat in Second World War Britain and Beyond

Markwick, Roger

‘Every rose has its thorns': Diary of a Soviet female night-bomber in the Second World War

Myers, Sarah

Battling Contested Air Spaces: The American Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II


14.00 – 15.30 SIXTH SESSION

6a Gender and the State (MSLT03) Chair: Roger Markwick

Jellison, Katherine

Peculiar Poster Girls: Images of pacifist women in American World War II Propaganda

Kotlowski, Dean

The Politics of Gender in World War II America: Paul V. McNutt,

the Federal Security Agency and the War Manpower Commission

Paehler, Katrin

Gender and Nazi Espionage: Hildegard Beetz, the Ciano Affair, and Female Agency

6b Gender and Performance (MSLT05) Chair: Daniel Swan

Vuic, Kara Dixon

Take your prettiest dresses and go':

Femininity, masculinity and American military entertainment in World War II

Jackson, Emma and Vickers, Emma

Sanctuary or Sissy? Cross-dressing as

military entertainment in the British Armed Forces, 1939-1945

Gercama, Atje

Sex and betrayal: Telling the story of Esmee van Eeghen

15.30-16.00 Refreshments (MS OPEN WORK SPACE)

16.00-17.00 Roundtable (All participants) (MSLTO3)


Authors and their Papers

Deborah Barton (paper delivered by proxy) is a PhD student in the History Department at the University of Toronto. Her research explores the role and influence of women journalists as political agents between 1933 and 1955 and examines their contribution to the critical intersections between politics and culture in the public sphere. She has received support from the Ontario Graduate Scholarship program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the DAAD (German Academic Exchange). 

Feminizing Total War? The Elasticity of Politics, ‘Soft’ News and the Public Influence of German Women Journalists, 1939-1945

German women journalists fulfilled an important role in National Socialist propaganda policy. Despite Nazi gender rhetoric, which espoused that women’s influence should be limited to the domestic realm, the regime both needed and wanted women active and influential in the public realm. Policies toward female journalists stated that women should be relegated to Feuilleton and the women’s section of newspapers. Yet these areas formed an important thread in the fabric of National Socialist media policy: in the early years of the war they provided an illusion of normality and later a form of morale building and escapism from deprivation. Most women journalists worked outside of “politics” during the Third Reich and instead produced “harmless” culture and lifestyle features and so-called “soft news” from a generally cheerful perspective; in so doing, they promoted a façade of normalcy--and later moral building-- under Hitler, thus playing a subtle yet indispensible role in the Nazi propaganda machine.

Lucy Bland was until recently a Reader in History at London Metropolitan University. She has just started a new post as a research fellow at Anglia Ruskin University. She has written widely on the history of gender, sexuality and feminism, including Banishing the Beast: Feminism, Sex and Morality. Her new book Modern Women on Trial: Sexual Transgression in the Age of the Flapper is coming out this September with Manchester University Press. She has recently begun a new project on the social and cultural history of transracial adoption in twentieth century Britain.

Interracial Relationships and the ‘brown baby’ problem: black GIs, white British women and their mixed race offspring in the Second World War

The US entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941, and from January1942 GIs started arriving in Britain. From the beginning there was concern about the arrival of black GIs. By the end of the war, of the one and a half million to two million US soldiers who had passed through Britain, 133,000 were African American. There were various attempts to discourage intimate relations between black GIs and white British women, for example, the War Office, in August 1942, decreed that the British Army should lecture their troops, including the women in the ATS, on the need to keep contact with black GIs to a minimum. It clearly felt the need to be discrete as although it wanted to keep America sweet, and thus was not going to oppose segregation overtly, it didn’t want to disaffect colonial troops on whose services Britain was also dependent. Although many of the British were horrified by the white GIs’ racist attitudes towards blacks, and stressed British tolerance against the segregation of the American armed forces, they did not necessarily condone intimacy, indeed were often hostile to interracial sex and marriage. While many were committed to being friendly and polite, they drew the line at sexual relations. White women in relations with black men were deemed ‘unpatriotic’. Once babies started to appear the disapproval heightened, for not only were these babies illegitimate, but they were mixed race.

This short paper, the beginnings of a new project on the history of transracial adoption in Britain, will attempt to delineate some of potential themes and problems arising from research on the relationships between white British women and African-American soldiers and the mixed-race babies that resulted.

Alina Bothe is a Ph.D candidate at Freie Universität in Berlin where she is researching her thesis, 'The virtual in-between of memory: The Visual History Archive“. She has published articles on digital history, Shoah studies and postmodern theory and has presented papers at various conferences in the United States, Israel and Europe.

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