“ARE YOU A GIRL WITH A STAR-SPANGLED HEART?”: GOVERNMENT MOBILIZATION OF AMERICAN WOMEN WITH PROPAGANDA DURING WORLD WAR TWO

Open Access
Author:
Nogay, Lauren Brooke
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Tobias Heinrich Albert Brinkmann, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kathryn Elizabeth Salzer, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • World War Two
  • Women
  • Rosie the Riveter
  • Propaganda
  • United States
Abstract:
Contributions made by women to war efforts often become side notes or go overlooked entirely. The purpose of this study is to examine both the contributions made by American women to World War Two, and the role of propaganda in encouraging women to participate in the war effort. The first chapter provides historical context, while the subsequent chapters look at specific instances of women’s interactions with the war and the role of propaganda in encouraging these interactions. Chapter 1 looks at the changes and challenges American society faced with regard to women that resulted in the necessity of propaganda. Basic societal norms and assumptions made the acceptability of the changing roles of women difficult. Chapter 2 looks at the nascent phenomenon of American female military service, and the challenges the servicewomen faced. It addresses the differences in acceptability and treatment that different women received. Chapter 3 examines the mass labor force entrance women made during the war. Though this time is often presented as the first time in which women participated in the labor force, this chapter complicates that narrative. Chapter 4 looks at how women who stayed in the home contributed to the war effort. Though inherently less groundbreaking, the actions taken by these women still contributed to the United States’ quest for victory. Without the contributions made by American women, the United States would have likely failed in their quest for victory.