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Women on the Battlefront.

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Introduction

Section C: Women on the Battlefront Women often experienced poor conditions on the battlefront. According to source C1, there was a lot of danger, and the living conditions were described as "hell". The source describes that they had to work underground with insufficient air-conditioning, which made it a very hot place to live and work. The immense heat and threats of German bombardment made this a very dangerous place. We can see that women not only had to endure working in the extreme heat, but also the extreme cold sourceC3 describes the opposite of the extremes. The extract from 'Unsung Heroines' says how cold the desert was at night, and how everyone slept fully dressed. Source C2 describes the conditions of a prisoner of war camp. Joke Folmer recalls in the source how she kept needles under her skin, and spent six weeks in solitary confinement. She says how she and the other prisoners had to hide everything, and she particularly describes hiding her father's handkerchief. She also mentions that something as trivial as a paper clip could give you comfort in the prison. All of these sources tell us that women often had to experience poor conditions on the battlefront. According to source C3, some men found it difficult to accept women on the battlefront. The first part of the source, the recollections of a frontline nurse, says how the officer-in-charge could not believe that women were 'going over', and how he was informed that the women were tougher than they looked. ...read more.

Middle

The photograph is real and not deliberately altered, but it is likely to be propaganda. The picture was designed to make the public believe that nursing is a glamorous job, so the source may not be completely reliable in telling us about how women felt about their work on the battlefront. The three women in the photograph are posed in the same way fighter pilots posed for photographs. I do not believe that this is good evidence of how women felt, as the photograph is not truly reliable because they are government propaganda. I think that source C4 may be a more accurate reflection of the work that nurses did. Although the women are smiling in the photograph, they still might be terrified of what they have to do, but are posing for the camera. Although as propaganda this source is not reliable in telling the truth, it does lead one to believe that the government considered women who nursed on the front line were just as important as the fighters, due to the way the women posed for the photograph. Working on the battlefront had a great impact on women's lives. They endured poor conditions and mortal danger just like the male soldiers, but showed outstanding bravery and resourcefulness. Source C1 is Ailsa Dodd's recollections of her contribution to the war effort. She describes the awful conditions she had to work in, and the constant threat of danger. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because it is propaganda, it is not likely to be an accurate reflection of what nurses on the frontline went through, and is not truly reliable in telling us how women felt to be serving on the frontline. Source C4 is more likely to be an accurate example of the work nurses did on the frontline. The women described in source C4 showed remarkable bravery, and it seems that many women displayed tremendous courage while in mortal danger. Source C1 describes the danger women were in from a German bombardment, source C3 mentions how they were "surrounded by guns", and source C6 describes the bravery of Violette Szabo against her German pursuers. The information from the account in source C6 has recently been proven partly incorrect by new evidence. Later stories claim she was unarmed, but I believe that the sense of the story is not altered by this, as she was just as brave to be captured without a gun, maybe more so. Women were greatly underestimated by their male colleagues, but their outstanding courage changed the way they were thought of by men. Working on the battlefront impacted women by changing some men's attitudes to women working in high-risk situation, but I also believe that working on the battlefront gave women a chance to prove their bravery to themselves. Women who worked on the battlefront during World War Two shared the same experiences as many of the male soldiers, and their lives and sense of purpose would have been changed just as much as the fighters. ...read more.

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