Women at the Heart of War, 1939-1945
A document-based teaching unit
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This unit introduces students to Chinese, Russian, British, German, and American war sources, including letters, interviews, cartoons, and statistics. Students will consider how women responded as fighters, workers, patriots, and victims, as well as wives and mothers, to the demands of “total war” and how the parts they played in the conflict challenged traditional ideas about women’s “proper role” in society. The unit’s primary sources are closely tied to commonly taught themes such as the homefront, the Holocaust, and the Chinese Revolution.
Lesson 1: Women and Hitler’s Ideology of Gender and Rave
Lessons 2: War and Women’s Employment in the United States
Lessons 3: Gender Equality in Soviet Combat Forces
Lesson 4: Women’s Attitudes about the War: China as a Case Study
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