What Did You Do During the War, Mommy?

p.16_1943_April 29Saturday, May 1, 1943p.2_1943_May 1

Workers were desperately needed on farms, in factories, in schools, in hospitals. With the draft age raised, employers had no choice but to recruit from groups they once ignored or even despised. African Americans won grudging acceptance but employers drew the line at Japanese Americans. Most problematic of all, though, were women. On the one hand, women were encouraged, even praised, for working “as well as men.” Women built bombers, drove tractors and buses, served as auxiliaries on the many fronts and kept the home fires burning. But the pressure never let up to be, as the Victorians put it, “the angel in the house” – the serene smiling beauty who created an oasis of calm for her husband and children. So a woman had to work hard in and out of the home while also making sure she looked good. Amazingly, women not only aimed to fulfill that dream, they largely succeeded! I’ll be writing a lot more about the impact of these shifts on American culture because they continue to play out today.



This entry was posted in Chicago during WW II, Jewish life in America during WW II, Music and Media, WWII, Today in WWII, World War II and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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