Guide Wars Forgotten Women: British Widows of the Second World War

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Designed for women to persuade their men to join the armed forces, one propaganda poster is a romantic setting as the women look out an open window into nature as the soldiers march off to war. The poster possesses a sentimental and romantic appeal when the reality of the situation was that many women endured extreme hardships when their husbands enlisted. The Edwardian social construction of gender was that women should be passive and emotional, and have moral virtue and domestic responsibility.

Men on the other hand were expected to be active and intelligent, and to provide for their families. It was this idea of gender roles that poster propaganda aimed to reverse. The woman in this particular persuasive poster is depicted as cheerful and beautiful, ensuring that her patriotic duty will not reduce her femininity. There is no reference to highly explosive chemicals or illnesses due to harsh work environments.

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The persuasive images of idealized female figures and idyllic settings were designed to solicit female involvement in the war and greatly influenced the idea of appropriate feminine behavior in the wartime Britain. As a result, many women left their domestic lives to join munitions work as they were enticed by what they thought were better living conditions, patriotic duty and high pay. Women went back to their duty in the home as they lost their jobs to returning soldiers and female labour statistics decreased to pre-war levels.

Not until would the expansion of the role of women once again occur.

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The role of Australian women in World War I was focused mainly upon their involvement in the provision of nursing services. Their contributions were more important than initially expected, resulting in more respect for women in medical professions.

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The biscuits were made using a recipe that would allow them to remain edible for a long time without refrigeration. In December , Julia Grace Wales published the Canada Plan , a proposal to set up a mediating conference consisting of intellectuals from neutral nations who would work to find a suitable solution for the First World War. The plan was presented to the United States Congress , but despite arousing the interest of President Wilson , failed when the US entered the war. During World War One, there was virtually no female presence in the Canadian armed forces, with the exception of the nurses serving both overseas and on the home front.

Although the Great War, had not officially been opened up to women, they did feel the pressures at home. There had been a gap in employment when the men enlisted; many women strove to fill this void along with keeping up with their responsibilities at home. The chlorine gas that was used by the Germans caused injuries that treatment protocols had not yet been developed for. The only treatment that soothed the Canadian soldiers affected by the gas was the constant care they received from the nurses.

Canadians had expected that women would feel sympathetic to the war efforts, but the idea that they would contribute in such a physical way was absurd to most. On the Canadian home front, there were many ways which women could participate in the war effort. Lois Allan joined the Farm Services Corps in , to replace the men who were sent to the front. Smith and Sons where she hulled strawberries for jam.

Because the days consisted of long monotonous work, many women made of parodies of popular songs to get through the day and boost morale. Women had limited homefront roles as in nursing. During the war there were some discredited stories that Ottoman women took main roles in combat. Additionally, the organization paid child support on behalf of the father, and covered other expenses, including medical bills, dental treatment and transportation.

In total, between 9 and 15 Lebensborn homes were established. Of the estimated 10,—12, children born to Norwegian mothers and German fathers during the war, 8, were registered by Abteilung Lebensborn. In 4, of these cases, the father is known. The women were encouraged to give the children up for adoption, and many were transferred to Germany, where they were adopted or raised in orphanages.

During and after the war, the Norwegians commonly referred to these children as tyskerunger , translating as "German-kids" or "Kraut kids", a derogatory term.

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As a result of later recognition of their post-war mistreatment, the more diplomatic term krigsbarn war-children came into use and is now the generally accepted form. As the war ended, the children and their mothers were made outcasts by many among the general populace in formerly occupied countries, as societies grieved and resented the losses of the war, and actively rejected everything associated with Germany. The children and their mothers were often isolated socially, and many children were bullied by other children, and sometimes by adults, due to their origin.

For instance, immediately after the peace, 14, women were arrested in Norway on suspicion of "collaboration" or association with the enemy; 5, were, without any judiciary process, placed in forced labor camps for a year and a half. In a survey conducted by the Norwegian Ministry of Social Affairs in , the local government in one third of the counties expressed an unfavorable view of the war children.

The same year the Ministry of Social Affairs briefly explored the possibility of reuniting the children and their mothers with surviving fathers in post-war Germany, but decided against this. Five hundred children who were still cared for in Lebensborn facilities at the end of the war had to leave as the homes were closed down. Some children were left to state custody, during a time when such care was marked by strict rules, insufficient education, and abuse.

Approximately 20 children ended up in a mental institution in , due to lack of space in other institutions and unsuccessful adoption attempts. Some remained there past their eighteenth birthdays. Due to the political attitudes prevailing after the end of the war, the Norwegian government made proposals to forcibly deport children and their mothers to Germany, but there were concerns that the deportees would have no means of livelihood there.

Another option was to send them to Sweden. Australia was also considered after the Swedish government declined to accept these people; the Norwegian government later shelved such proposals. In , diplomatic relations improved so that the Norwegian government was able to collect child support from identified fathers of war children who were living in West Germany and Austria. As of such payments were made. Child support from fathers living in East Germany was kept in locked accounts until diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in Some of the war children have tried to obtain official recognition for past mistreatment.

Supporters claim the discrimination against them equated to an attempt at genocide. In December , war children filed a claim in the Norwegian courts for the failure of the state to protect them as Norwegian citizens. The case was to test the boundaries of the law; seven persons signed the claim. The courts have ruled such suits as void due to the statute of limitations.

The law of Norway allows citizens who have experienced neglect or mistreatment by failure of the state to apply for "simple compensation" an arrangement that is not subject to the statute of limitations. In July the government expanded this compensation program to include war children who had experienced lesser difficulties. The Norwegian government contested the claim that the children were abused with the consent of the government. In conjunction with the claim by the war children, a motion was filed in September alleging that 10 war children were subject to experiments with LSD approved by the Norwegian government and financed by the CIA , the American intelligence agency.

In the postwar years, medical staff in several European countries, and the United States, conducted clinical trials or experimental treatment involving LSD, most of them at some point between and In Norway, trials involved volunteer patients under a protocol after traditional medical treatments had proved unsuccessful. Since the mids, the fate of the war children has become well known in Norway. The government of Norway has acknowledged its neglect of them. As adults, the former Lebensborn Children are suing for reparations and damages from the Norwegian government for failing to protect them and discriminating against them.

German forces invaded Norway in and occupied the country until At the end of the war, the German forces stood at , It is estimated that between 10, and 12, children were born to Norwegian mothers with German partners during the occupation. Their Lebensborn organization encouraged it. German forces occupied Denmark between and German soldiers were encouraged to fraternize with Danish women, who were also considered pure Aryan. The government has estimated between 6, and 8, children were born to Danish mothers with German partners during or just after the occupation.

The women were nicknamed "German Girls," used in a pejorative sense. The Danish government has documented 5, such children. In the Danish government allowed this group access to parenthood archives. They exempted these descendants from the country's normal secrecy period of 80 years for such records. German soldiers were forbidden from having relationships with French women by the Nazi regime at the beginning of the Occupation.

Due to difficulties of enforcement, the military later tolerated fraternization. This was an intermediate situation between the encouragement of similar relationships in Denmark and Norway, and strict prohibition in Eastern Europe. The different regulations were based on Nazi racial ideology as to which populations they considered racially pure enough as to be desirable for children born to their men.

The number of war children born to French women in France by German soldier fathers in the years —49, is estimated to be 75, to , Having their heads shaved in public to mark them was a common punishment. During the wartime and the post-war period, Finnish women gave birth to , children in Finland in the period — A small portion, about 1, of the children, were fathered by foreign troops.

Depending much on the foreign father's background, most of these children were left fatherless, and some of the mothers, along with their children, faced discrimination in the Finnish society. Following the revision of the Anti-Comintern Pact in , there were no more than , German soldiers in Finland, the vast majority of them stationed in the Finnish Lapland in the period — An estimated children were born to German soldiers in Finland, and were mostly unplanned.

A booklet published by the OKW in , Der deutsche Soldat und die Frau aus fremdem Volkstum , allowed German soldiers to marry those Finnish women who could be considered to represent the " Aryan race ," hinting that there was some uncertainty among Nazi authorities about ethnic Finns ' " genetic suitability. Finland was a co-belligerent —44 of Germany until the beginning of the Lapland War —45 , a war fought between Germany and Finland.

During the Lapland War, in the autumn of alone, some 1, Finnish women, two-thirds of them aging from 17 to 24, left the country and stood with German soldiers. The reasons for leaving the country with the enemy varied, but the most common reason was a relationship with a German soldier. Subsequently, most of these women returned to Finland, as their presence was commonly unwelcomed in Germany and some faced active mistreatment, such as forced labor. Some of these children were adopted by the Finnish men who married the children's mothers.

Some Finnish women who were associated with German soldiers faced discrimination in the Finnish society. The discrimination was not generally as harsh as other European women experienced elsewhere for the same reason, mostly due to the concept of a "Finnish-German brotherhood-in-arms" during the co-belligerence and their shared mutual enmity with the Soviet Union. Some Soviet POWs captured by the Finns were also intimately involved with Finnish women, a situation considered far more socially unacceptable and deserving of censure see the section below.

However the children fathered by German soldiers still encountered discrimination in their youth. Some POWs' living conditions were relatively good, as, at best, some 15, of them were placed on farms, where they were used as forced labor, usually working rather freely together with Finnish civilians, some of them having relationships with Finnish women.

Some relationships were adulterous, as some of the women were married to Finnish soldiers who were absent at the time.

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The usage of condoms was scarce, partially due to the lack of their availability to POWs, and partially due to the lack of rural Finnish women's awareness of condom usage. Some of the mothers married Finnish men afterwards. Relationships between native women and ethnic Russian POWs were especially disapproved of in Finnish society, much more so than similar relationships with German soldiers and with POWs from other ethnic groups, such as Finno-Ugric peoples.

Some women's heads were shaved for allegedly having relationships with Russian POWs. The children fathered by Soviet POWs also faced discrimination in their youth, such as bullying in school. Overall there were about 11, Swedish volunteers who fought for Finland at some point during the wartime. During the Winter War, Swedish volunteers numbered 9, and during the Continuation war, there were over 1, Swedish volunteers , of which about a third had previously participated in the Winter War.

About children were born to Finnish women and Swedish volunteers. Often these women moved to Sweden with their children. This is by no means a comprehensive list. The number of World War II books available is vast. People love to read about one of the worst events in history. In a way, this makes no sense—the list below makes for some depressing reading.

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But in another way, the list contains reading that is compelling and essential: Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. But their targets travel in well-guarded convoys. When contact finally occurs, the hunter quickly becomes the hunted. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams.

But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive. They braved some of the heaviest fighting of the war…yet their story remained classified for more than twenty years.

London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Full-scale attacks had been driven back. Now they were sending in just five men, each one a specialist in dealing death. Hieronymous Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a cafe and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black. Beyond the prison walls, the war rages.

Inside, a man is found brutally murdered. What follows is a searing portrait of Korea before their civil war, and a testimony to the redemptive power of poetry. Maximilien Aue has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France…Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man we experience in disturbingly precise detail the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews. And if she can—will she?