Everything But Carry a Rifle: An Article Examining the Members of the Women’s Army Corps and their Relationship to Guns
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In 1942, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) was created to help alleviate expected manpower shortages for World War II. Converted to the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) and ofﬁcially made Army in 1943, the WACs performed duties across the United States and overseas in the Paciﬁc, European, and Mediterranean theaters throughout the war. This paper evaluates the ofﬁcial stance on the WACs use of and training on guns during WWII, how that stance changed over time during World War II, what the general public knew and believed about how WACs handled guns, and the lasting impacts of early policies about women and weapons in combat zones. Examining photographs, papers of Oveta Culp Hobby, US Army Air Force documents, articles from national and military base newspapers, previous historians examinations of the WACs, various propaganda materials, and oral histories of WACs that served during WWII are the basis of this paper.This paper develops our understanding of how public perceptions and surrounding national culture can inﬂuence military policies. This paper examines the complex interaction between the realities of war, American ideas of femininity, and the presentation of WACs by the United States Army, government, and free press.