With over 70 millionfatalities, the Second World War is known as the bloodiest war to mankind. Towardsthe start of World War II American people had come to their senses and decidedto help their country out. Women were leaving their homes to take over the jobsthat their husbands had left to go to War.
(Help the country out) In 1943,magazines were publishing cartoons of women working hard at work. Thesecartoons focused mainly on women and glamorized the “untraditional”jobs they held. The publishers of these articles thought that perhaps, if theypublished cartoons like above, they would be more exciting for women and bringmore women to the working industry.
For this reason, the media created a falseworking woman named Rosie the Riveter, and she was illustrated as a hero forAmerican women. Her efforts to pull women into working through magazinesworked, more than six million women joined the workforce during war. Therefore,magazines helped to paint a picture of the average women taking a hard-workingwartime job, and at the same time advertised for other women to do the same.Magazinesin 1943 provided articles of women hard at work during war.
They were alsowritten as an attempt to pull in other women to work, and help with the wartimeefforts. In the scholarly article Rosie the Riveter Remembers, they touchedbase on these wartime women workers, and interviewed some of the women that hadworked as “Rosies”. The article explained that during the war the media, aswell as the government both set in motion a movement to help inspire women toback the war effort by taking a war job.
These same women at the time of theGreat Depression were advised that they should not seize jobs from men.However, over 6 million women had entered the work force for the first time bythe end of World War II. To stress the number of women that began to work forthe war effort, the article provided the statistic that in 1920, women made up20% of the workforce, and by 1945, women made up 35% of the workforce. Ahandful of women that began working during World War II to help the war effortwere interviewed in Rosie the Riveter Remembers. The first woman interviewedwas Inez Sauer, a chief clerk in a toolroom. She explained that when the warstarted she was thirty-one years old, and she had never worked a day in herlife.
She was the mother of two young boys, aged twelve and thirteen, and a six-year-olddaughter. When the war began her husband’s rubber-matting store went out ofbusiness due to the war restrictions on rubber. She saw an ad in a Seattlenewspaper that companies needed women workers to help the war effort, and thenewspaper stated, ‘Do your part, free a man for service’. Again, anotherreassurance that newspapers and magazines were drawing women into the workforceto help with the war. Sybil Lewis was a black arc welder during World War II,and she also decided to take the job when she saw a newspaper advertisement totrain women for defense work. She explained that she riveted small airplaneparts, and worked in a pair. It was her, the riveter, who shot rivets with agun through metal and fastened it together, and the bucker, who used a buckingbar on the metal to smooth out the rivets that she had shot in; she admittedthat bucking was a harder job than riveting.
The last woman interviewed,Frankie Cooper was a crane operator, and she stressed the idea that womenjoined the war movement to help the men fighting overseas. She explained thatduring the war, inside the plant everyone pushed and gave everything they had,because they wanted to. They all pushed through and went to work even if theydid not feel well, because they were thinking of the men overseas and how hardthey were working for their country. Inthe scholarly article American Women in a World at War, the authors read 30thousand letters written by over 1500 women during World War II. Many of theletters were women writing to their husbands or sweethearts overseas. Theywrote to them about such topics as the stress of both raising children andworking a war job, or how scared they were to lose their loved one to battle.The article explained that due to the over 16 million men serving overseas, theneed for women to work was in high demand, and the women entering the warfareincreased significantly.
Inside of the letters women told their loved ones justhow proud they were to work for the war effort, and were often excited aboutthe independence and responsibilities that came with their job. Magazinesthroughout 1943 depicted scenes of women hard at work, hoping to draw in newwomen workers. In the September 1943 issue of Good Housekeeping, there was anarticle titled “I Looked Into my Brother’s Face”. This article featured apainting of a beautiful woman wearing a green uniform, and holding a combathelmet. Behind her was an army plane, and an army ambulance. The article waswritten from the woman’s point of view, and she explained how she was a warnurse, and her brother came into her hospital wounded, and suddenly she beganto think back to their childhood. She said she had seen her share of war,wounded soldiers, and bombings because that was her job as a war nurse.However, when someone you love gets hurt the war would hit home, and you wouldbegin to realize why you were working for the war effort.
She was working tomake sure that Americans got to live and grow up the same way her and herbrother got to, to make sure that they would come home to the same America theyhad always known and lived in, where everyone could live their lives withkindness, security, and peace. The article ended with the woman saying that iswhy her and her brother were fighting, and that everyone reading the articleshould keep America the way they left it until they arrived back home. Thisarticle may have encouraged many women to join the war effort back home. Afterreading this, women may have felt the need to help keep America the way italways was, like the nurse was asking. Or, perhaps, they felt guilty sitting athome not doing much towards the war effort, while women like this nurse werehard at work overseas dealing with bombings and death day after day. Besidesnurses, other women’s jobs that were shown in magazines in 1943 includedriveters, and agricultural workers. The Life Magazine issue published March15,1943 included an article titled From Alice… to Eddie… to Adolf!.
Inside thisarticle was a painting of a pretty, young woman drilling into steel. Thearticle began explaining that Alice was hard at work drilling into a new plane,for her boyfriend Eddie to fly. She remembered the house Eddie promised herthey would someday have before he left for the war; they could have that homenow if it was not for Adolf she thought.
The article explained that these typesof stories are the ones that drive women to help produce planes, tanks, guns,and ships that America was then pouring forth. During the war millions ofAmericans turned their skills into wartime production. On top of this, to helpwin everyone would willingly drive slower in order to save tires and gas, andbuy stamps, and war bonds as well as conserve metal, clothing, and food. Itended with “For this is every American’s war… Alice’s, Eddie’s, yours, ours. Onone point we are all resolved: it won’t be Adolf’s” This article is encouragingwomen to take war jobs to help beat Adolf. If they are unable to take a warjob, then the article suggests they drive less, buy war bonds, or conservehousehold items to help end the war sooner. TheJuly 19,1943 Life magazine featured a woman Air Force Pilot on the cover.
Anarticle inside was titled, Girl Pilots, and touched base on women pilots in theAir Force. It began by explaining that the old belief that army flying was onlyfor men was long gone. Every month it explained, many women finished theirtraining in Texas, and went to relieve fighting men for combat duty. Thearticle included many photographs of women studying, working hard, and dressedup and ready to fly. This article probably encouraged many young women to upand move to try to join the Air Force, and help with the war effort. It was abig deal to see women relieving men for combat duty. Anotherissue of Life magazine published on August 9, 1943 included a photo of a womanin overalls hard at work, drilling into an airplane part. The article publishedinside, Women in Steel are Handling Tough Jobs in Heavy Industry, was aboutjust that, hardworking Rosies in the Steel industry.
It began by explainingthat since the start of the war, many American women had begun to acquire jobsthat were traditionally held by men. It stated, “In 1941 only 1% of aviation employeeswere women, while this year they will comprise an estimated 65% of the total”.Included were numerous amounts of photographs of women dangerously working hardat their factory jobs. The article explained that in the Gary steel mill, womenwere working as packers and shippers, welders, crane operators, billetoperation helpers, furnace operators, tool machinists, laborers, engineoperators, draw-bench operators, electrical helpers, grinders, oilers, coiltapers, foundry helpers, checkers, loaders, metallurgical helpers, painters,cleaning and maintenance workers, and the list went on and on. Many womenreading this magazine were most likely influenced by this article, and steppedup and took a war job to help with the wartime effort. Inthe September 27, 1943 Life magazine issue, there was an interesting articletitled Life Visits the Harvesters of America. This article discussed both menand women who were working hard for their country in the agricultural sector.
The article explained that novice women workers helped to save the crops. It explainedthat the US Crop Corps came together to help fill in the holes that weremissing when 3,000,000 farm workers left for war. One branch of theorganization, called the Women’s Land Army had over 50,000 members.
Thisarticle showed that women were willing to working in all sectors to help withthe war effort. In hopes to encouragewomen to step up and fill the shoes of the men of America that left for duty,newspapers and magazines included articles and advertisements of women hard atwork in all sectors. From nurses on the home front, to riveters working infactories, women came together and worked hard in hopes of beating Adolf, andhaving their men arrive home safely.
The two scholarly articles discussedprovided women’s words on the wartime effort. The first article, Rosie theRiveter Remembers, interviewed women that worked for the war effort, and mostfound their jobs in newspaper advertisements asking women to take a job, andhelp with the war effort. The second article, American Women in a World at War,looked at and discussed letters written by women during the Second World War.This article made it clear that women told their loved ones just how proud theywere to hold a job of their own, and help the men overseas work toward winningthe war. As for the five articles discussed from magazines, the first articlewas from a war nurse’s prospective, and she finally understood that she wasworking for American’s to keep their way of life.
The second article was ayoung woman building a plane for her boyfriend in the Army to fly, to help beatAdolf, and have him arrive home safely. The third article discussed women inthe Air Force taking over jobs of men, and helping the country significantly.The fourth article touched upon women working in factories in bad conditions,and unsafe working conditions to help create airplanes, cars, and other objectsneeded for the men overseas. The fifth and final article discussed, spoke aboutwomen taking jobs as harvesters for all the farmers that left to join the war,even though they had never had any experience in farming. These women took astand, and chose to join a war job in hopes to help their country win the WorldWar. On top of this, these articles also inspired other women to do the same.Thanks to magazines and newspapers of the time encouraging women to work, over6 million women joined the workforce and helped to bring our countries men homesafely.