Fighting Forces: Identity and Ideology in the First World War

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Fighting Forces: Identity and Ideology in the First World War

by Sharon Ouditt

In this study, Sharon Ouditt examines the traumatic and constantly shifting nature of women's experience during the World War I. By examining propaganda, journals, women's magazines, unpublished memoirs and contemporary fiction, the author reveals the challenge to feminine identity which the War demanded and attempted to restrict.

Rather than achieve sudden and unproblematic independence through their entry into the public sphere of work and politics, women found themselves having to construct complex ideological structures in order to legitimate their role as "temporary" citizens - whether as crusading nurses, landworkers or pacifist activists.

At once historically committed and theoretically informed, this text should appeal to anyone interested in the ways in which women managed their involvement during the First World War, in the relationship between literature and history, and in the ambiguity and flexibility of "femininity" in the context of dramatic social change.