Our friends for freedom

I’ve developed a re-awakened interest in World War II history due to conversations that I’ve been following in weblogging. I went to the library to check out a couple of books on the Japanese internment, and found five books on women’s participation in the war effort intermixed on the same shelf. I checked out books on both subjects.

One of the books makes liberal use of WW II posters, as demonstration of the contradiction inherent with women’s roles during the war. Going online, I found digital images of almost all of them, and they are fascinating to look at; particularly since most encouraged behavior in war that the country, as a whole, discouraged during peace.

For instance, in one set of posters, each features a photo of a man representing a country who was ally in the war. All of the posters had words to the effect that these people were our friends in the fight for freedom. Among those so honored were the very proud, and very black, Ethiopians; ironic, when you consider that blacks in this country weren’t allowed to serve alongside the whites in most situations until later in the hostilities.

In fact, when a small group of black nurses were finally allowed to volunteer at war’s end, they were assigned to tend German patients; laws on the books prevented them from helping American or other allied white men.

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