Date of Award

Fall 1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


War and Society

First Advisor

Jennifer Keene

Second Advisor

Charissa Threat

Third Advisor

Kara Dixon Vuic


This thesis examines the experiences of the women who served in the American Red Cross Clubmobile Service in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. Their job required them to travel through England, France, and even Germany in converted buses and 2 ½ ton trucks, serving coffee, donuts, and a smile to soldiers just off the front lines. Though considered essential to maintaining soldiers’ morale, historians have virtually ignored these women’s experiences and role in the war. The inattention to their participation by the academic community parallels the disregard the women faced during the war. Clubmobile women encountered the strain and dangers of war armed with minimal training and virtually no psychological preparation for what they might face; however, they were expected, and indeed relied upon, to bolster the morale of men who had often just come from the front. By focusing on clubmobile women’s role in maintaining soldiers’ morale, the Red Cross and the military neglected to recognize that the morale of their female workers was equally important. Through an examination of documents written by various clubmobile women, this thesis explores how women coped with both highly gendered expectations and the experience of war itself. Clubmobile women came to rely on one another to navigate the challenges they faced and to do their job effectively. The camaraderie amongst them was a result not only of their shared experiences, but also of their status as noncombatants and their gender. Ultimately, this research seeks not only to answer the question “who takes care of the Red Cross’s morale?” but also to illuminate the circumstances that make this query necessary.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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