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Women in america during the second world war

Navy Yard in Mare Island, circa 1943. Related Content The Riveting Story of an American Icon A powerful vision of the California dream took hold in the late 1930s and early 1940s, featuring steady work, nice housing, sometimes love — all bathed in abundant warm sunshine. Perhaps most important were the jobs. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 led to an intensified war effort, and more Americans sought ways to demonstrate patriotism while also taking advantage of new employment opportunities.

Moving on to another life Moving to find work looms large in the historical memory surrounding the Great Depression, and migration continued in the ensuing years. Posters aimed to recruit women to jobs left vacant by drafted men during the war.

Women of World War II

Office of War Information People in rural parts of the country learned about new jobs in different ways. Word of mouth was crucial, as people often chose to travel with a friend or relatives to new jobs in growing cities along the West Coast. Railroad companies, airplane manufacturers and dozens if not hundreds of smaller companies supporting major corporations like Boeing, Douglas and Kaiser all offered similar work opportunities.

Considered against the economic hardships of the Great Depression, the promises often sounded like sweet music. They were asking people to serve in these different projects that were opening up because the war had started.

  • Even the appearance of impropriety could be grounds for dismissal and a dishonorable discharge;
  • When one roommate returned home, another would head in to work, leaving behind a still-warm bed;
  • On his fifth trip he was arrested and imprisoned for his activism.

Whitt grew up on a farm without a telephone. Even catching a glimpse of an airplane in the sky was unusual. Whitt applied and was hired for training almost immediately. Even the pay Whitt began earning while training in Oklahoma City was more than she had ever made in her life to that point. I remember coming through Arizona and seeing all the palm trees, and those were the first I had ever seen.

  • Another example is Elizebeth Smith Friedman , who found success not only in cracking enemy codes, but also by breaking the secret messages of organized crime during peacetime, as well as busting domestic spy rings during the war;
  • Sacrifice in the cause of patriotic duty would temper desires for—and achievement of—personal autonomy;
  • She just knew she had to go;
  • While there, Hooker was responsible for typing discharge papers, but swears she was the only one left by the end;
  • The expanding bureaucratic structure of war was matched by private sector growth, where American businesses were forced to open their doors and offices to female employees;
  • Even the appearance of impropriety could be grounds for dismissal and a dishonorable discharge.

They were way up in the air, and all I could do was look…. Then we got down into Los Angeles, and I was just amazed at the difference…. Palmer, Office of War Information Whitt began walking to work every day, to a job at an airplane factory disguised as a canning company. She helped assemble P-38 Lighting aircraft by riveting the fuselage together on the day shift.

She later moved to Northern California, working as a welder at a shipyard. When I met her more than 70 years later, she still resided in California. Did California remain a living dream? Ultimately, the wartime version of the California dream proved real for some people. Wartime jobs in the defense industries paid well, profoundly so for those coming from rural poverty.

Women in the Armed Forces

Worker at Vega Aircraft Corporation in Burbank checks electrical assemblies. Many migrants found housing hard to find.

When one roommate returned home, another would head in to work, leaving behind a still-warm bed. Whitt and her husband separated not long after her move to California. Some Rosies returned to their home states.

  1. Such a jolt drove Americans to do something they had not done before.
  2. They provided a vast amount of intelligence about coastal fortifications in France, Japanese ship movements in the Pacific, and submarines in the Mediterranean. Her father, Dosan Ahn, was a prominent leader of the Independence Movement opposing the Japanese occupation and returned to Korea frequently in support of the cause.
  3. Such a jolt drove Americans to do something they had not done before.
  4. The cities, towns, and camps attracting them were located on both coasts and everywhere in between—Washington, DC, Seattle, Portland, Mobile, Detroit, St. Many migrants found housing hard to find.
  5. On April 14, 1944, they reported to Fort George G. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice.

But many others did stay in California, transitioning from wartime work in defense industries to other occupations. Doris Whitt stayed in California and found a job at a meatpacking company, working there for 14 years.

Melissa A. McEuen

She moved to a small town near the ocean where she lived for decades. The California dream never completely disappeared for people like Whitt, but nothing is quite as magical as those few moments when one first discovers it. In her oral history, she remembered seeing San Francisco for the first time: It was just like going to a whole new country, you know? And the ocean… Oh it was just fantastic. This article was originally published on The Conversation.