Source C is written by a Historian, this means that she will have had a long time to gather together her facts, and write using a variety of sources. This will give the source more depth, and it could also include information from more than one source. However, it is written by a woman, who is commenting on the history of women, so it could therefore be slightly bias. This woman could be writing to prove a point, or get recognition for women (i.e. for a feminist movement).

On the other hand, source D was a speech made by the Deputy Prime minister of Britain in 1942. It is highly likely that this speech would have been used as a form of propaganda in Britain to keep the moral of women up during the war. They needed to do this to encourage the women to sign up to work in the factories, as the men were away fighting on the battlefields. It is evident in the tone of the source that the government were falsely praising the women to keep them happy. It was a very dull job, and they were trying to make the work they did sound positive, ‘preformed with dead accuracy by girls..’

It is evident that in source C the author is analysing the source, and giving her opinion. ‘Such derogatory remarks….’ It seems that she is giving a very opposed opinion to the magazine article she is commenting on, and all the information that this gives the reader is her opinion of they way women were portrayed at that time. Despite the fact that we do get some quotes from the source she is analysing, we are only given the selection she chooses, and she has chosen those particular parts to back up her opinion. It does appear that women were depicted during the Second World War as ’empty-headed frivolous creatures.’ However, this is only part of the source, and we cannot get the full picture, as the author has picked out certain parts to back up her opinion. The original might depict a different opinion, but we are unable to find that, as we are not given that here in source C.

Source D gives us the impression that women were viewed as very skilled, and they could pick up things very quickly, ‘precise engineering jobs… would have made a skilled turners hair stand on end are preformed with dead accuracy by girls who had no industrial experience.’ However this seems very strange, because the general opinion by men during the Second World War was that women were un-skilled and should stay in the home, so it appears that the government were lying to women (i.e. propaganda) so that they could fill in the jobs for men when they were away. The speech was made at the peak of the war, and it would have been crucial that they had enough women to work in the factories.

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To summarise, I think that source C is more useful as evidence about attitudes towards women in the First World War, as it depicts a more realistic view of what people thought at the time. Women were viewed as insignificant, and more concerned about how they looked. Although it is a bias opinion from a female historian trying to back up her views, it does seem a more historically accurate. Source D could not be used as an accurate view, as it is government propaganda, purposely being used to keep the moral of women high.

Source G is being used as an advertisement for Female wardens, and ‘Mrs Peek’s pudding.’ It also seems to be being used to make men more comfortable with their wife’s going into service. It appears to be a form of propaganda; therefore, it is less reliable as a source of information. The first window in the cartoon strip shows a man sitting at the table with his wife eating a meal. In most situations this would not be the case, as men were usually sent away to fight. This does appear to make the advert less accurate.

This source shows that men only thought women were useful for putting the meal on the table, or at least it was their duty to do so. The husband in the first caption states ‘cold dinner again!’ as if it was his wife’s duty to provide him with a hot meal every night. The following caption quotes the wife saying ‘oh dear, I’ll have to resign from the post, I just can’t get Jim a hot meal at night.’ Here we see that the woman is hanging on by every word that the man tells her, as if he was superior to her. This very much depicts the attitude that men had to their wives at that time. The last box on the cartoon strip quotes the man saying ‘I guess you’ve resigned your job?’ here we find the man expecting the woman to drop everything that she does, so that she may be of service to him. The woman replies, ‘…Mrs Peek is looking after your dinner.’ Again we find the man being superior to the woman.

I think that overall this source depicts well the attitude of men towards women in the Second World War. The man expects the woman to drop everything so that she may be of service to him, and that her job does not mean any thing, and the woman seems to agree with it as she knows no other. The only thing that makes the source less reliable is that it seems to be a form of propaganda.

When World War II came around, every man In Britain was encouraged to sign up to the forces, and fight for their country, or join some line of service. Originally only men had been asked to sign up, and it was out of the question to ask women to, as they had no skills in work, they were just useful around the home. However, it had not occurred to them that there was going to be a shortage of people to work on the farms, and in the factories when the men had left to go and fight. The government were left with no other option than get the women to fill in the spaces; ‘the women were conductors on the buses taking over until the men came home again’ (source F) Before the war women had fought hard for equal rites, and when the war started it seemed like a great opportunity had opened up.

Most women were happy to start with, but then they were treat badly, and they were most definitely not treat with the same respect men were. ‘The people in the country were very resentful, they didn’t make it easy for you, we weren’t really welcome.’ It was hard work for the women, they had been put into hard jobs with no training, but they seemed to manage it, ‘preformed with dead accuracy by girls who had no industrial training.’ It was a new experience for women, and they had been launched straight into it unexpectedly. Before the war a lot of women were happy not to work, but due to the war, they were forced to sign up. This came as a shock to a lot of women. Source J is evidence of this, it shows a copy of an official government announcement to women stating: ‘there must no longer be any doubt in anybody’s mind that every available woman in Britain will have to serve to win this war.’ It wasn’t a decision they could make themselves any more, it was a duty to their country.

Despite all of the new opportunities that had been given to women, after the war the men started coming back, and they took back their jobs too. ‘The end o this war brought many unheard and undreamt changes.’ All of the opportunities they had been given had been taken away from them, and it became clear to women that they had only been there to fill in the gaps when the men were away fighting.

At first, the war seemed a great opportunity for women to get recognition, and they thought that they had eventually earned what they were fighting for. However they soon realised that they were just there to fill in the space of the men, and when the men got back, they were pushed out of the jobs. It did bring about changes for them at first, but only during the war. When the war was over, everything went back as it had originally been, however, it had made people realise that women were actually capable of doing the work that the men did, and it opened a lot of paths for the future.


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