WOMEN IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 4
Womenin the Second World War
Womenin the Second World War
WorldWar II marked the first major incursion of women into the workforceas it offered career opportunities to female journalists. The Libraryof congress (1995), records that in 1945, 127 American femalejournalists and press photographers, were officially accredited bythe military as war reporters for the United States. The Librarycongress adds that the majority of these women even possessed a socalled ‘frontline assignment,’ which allowed them to work withinthe frontlines of battles. However, the library of congress exhibitspotlights eight women who succeeded in going to the front during thewar. These women included, Theresa Bonney, Janet Flanner, ToniFrissell, Mary Craig, Marvin Breckenridge Patterson, Dorothea Lange,Clare Booth Luce and Esther Bubley.
ThereseBonney (1894-1978) was a woman ahead of her time as she accomplishedin many different areas. Bonney, who graduated from the University ofCalifornia, earned a masters degree from Harvard College and adoctorate letters from the Sorbonne in Paris, expressed much interestin photography. During the war, her photography focused on theeffects on civilians, especially children. Her images depicted howchildren and adults suffered from homelessness, which touched thelives of many in the U.S. and the world around. Furthermore, Bonneyis known as the only photojournalist on the scene to record theSoviet invasion of Finland, setting the path that other womenfollowed throughout the war.
DorotheaLange (1895-1965) took photographs during World War II that depictedfamilies uprooted by the war. Her best known photographs are of thehome front, and prior to the war, she had documented migrant workersand displaced families from their farm, after the greatdepression. During the war, Lange also photographed women andminority workers in wartime industries, and covered the founding ofUnited nations in San Francisco. Furthermore, Lange was one of theearliest to record the Japanese-American internment that began afterPearl Harbor, having been hired to photograph the camps andprocessing centers by the War Relocation Authority.
UnlikeLange and Bonney, Ruth Gruber (born 1911) was a photographer, as wellas, a journalist who also had a unique wartime perspective. Raised ina Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, Gruber joined New York Universityand continued her education in University of Cologne in Germany.While in Germany, she witnessed Adolf Hitler’s speech, and becameaware of the growing seriousness of the war outbreak in Europe. Bythe age of 20 years, she became an international correspondent forthe “HeraldTribute”reporting from the Soviet Union. In 1944, she took up a specialassignment to secretly escort a group of 1,000 Jewish refugees fromItaly to America, whom she also photographed when they arrived in NewYork, after the thirteen-day journey (Calvin and Deacon, 2011). Inaddition to photographing a group of refugees sitting shoulder toshoulder, looking almost numb, Gruber also recorded their casehistories for prosperity. After the war, Gruber returned tojournalism and covered crimes trials after the war, and continuedwith her lifelong involvement in rescuing the Jewish refugees.
Inconclusion, the eight women journalists became pioneers when theycovered war prior to World War II. They paved the way for other womensuch as Margret Fuller, because they blazed a trail for women asforeign correspondents, reporting from the frontline and contendingthe same danger that men faced. More so, with the advent ofphotography as a viable tool for reporting the war, women seized theopportunity to demonstrate what they were capable of, by providingtheir own unique perspective.
Calvin,P. E., & Deacon, D. A. (2011). AmericanWomen Artists in Wartime, 1776-2010.Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.
Libraryof Congress (1995). Womencome to the front: journalists, photographers, and broadcastersduring World War II..Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress.