Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
War and Society
Since starting the War, Diplomacy, and Society program, my interests have included a focus on the soldier’s experience in war, women’s changing roles in war, and the study of war journalism, ranging from World War II, the Cold War, to the Vietnam War. This thesis project is a culmination of these themes.
The first article examines the crucial nature of a soldier’s connection to the Home Front by analyzing a collection of letters between a soldier and his fiancé during World War II. Filled with declarations of love and occasional expressions of insecurity, these letters reveal the importance of a strong relationship to one’s morale, indicating that the ultimate responsibility for maintaining morale fell mainly on the individual soldier themselves. In the second article, I explore women’s critical roles in civil defense programs of the Cold War period, utilizing promotional material from the Federal Civil Defense Administration to demonstrate that their policies emphasizing home protection and nuclear preparedness were specifically constructed to appeal to American housewives. As the article argues, women proved integral to civil defense programs and embraced these policies to escape, if only metaphorically, from the restraints of domesticity, instilling a deeper sense of meaning and patriotic responsibility to their existing responsibilities. Finally, the third article includes an annotated syllabus for a 300-level class over a 15-week semester focused on the evolution of women as war correspondents from their experiences in World War II to the Vietnam War. Utilizing a variety of primary sources including letters, newspapers, and memoirs, as well as secondary sources, the syllabus aims to provide students with an understanding of women’s war correspondence work, including women’s changing roles in war, and their contributions to the field of journalism.
Collectively, this thesis project seeks to illustrate how women’s roles in war are intricately tied to deliberate constructions of militarized gender roles and expectations, shaping their wartime experiences and opportunities. By analyzing these gendered constructions, it emphasizes the critical connections constantly developing between war and society, leaving indelible imprints on the cultural, political, and social frameworks of each era.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Lee, Megan. "Wives, Warriors, and Womanhood: A Study of Women’s War Roles." Master's thesis, Chapman University, 2023. https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000479
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