While we know that females’ contribution during the First World War was away from the trenches like nurses or the Canary Girls of Britain, WWII had opened an opportunity for them to serve closer to the warzones than ever before.
In Britain, 640,000 women joined the armed forces, while the Soviet Union had 800,000 women enlisted. The US resisted sending women during this conflict, but some 350,000 still served in the Armed Forces, fulfilling critical roles both in and out of the country. Here are some of the parts that they took during World War II.
The WACs and WASPS of America
As mentioned, the United States didn’t want to send women into the combat zones at the very beginning until 1942, with the persuasion of First Lady Eleanor and the women’s group to Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. Then, seeing how British women were of great help in the service, he supported the idea and introduced a women’s service branch in the army.
Congress instituted what was initially called the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) in 1942. This was later upgraded to the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) with full military status, credits to Director Oveta Culp Hobby. Initially, General Marshall authorized WAACs to be trained on anti-aircraft batteries and searchlight units. However, he had to call it off the following year due to fear of public outcry and Congressional opposition.