Women in First World War Germany wanting to fight or trying to enlist in the army
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Dear H-Soz-u-Kult members,
I would like to find out whether there is any evidence of women in First World War Germany wanting to fight or trying to enlist in the army in men's clothes. Also did German women make any attempt to form paramilitary volunteer organisations to participate in the war in a military capacity by replacing soldiers in support functions to release them for the fighting. If there were any women who wanted to fight, did they write to newspapers about this ambition and, if so, was there any kind of public debate about this issue?
I need this information because I am using a comparative framework to make an argument why British women were able to enter the armed forces and achieve a relative high level of military status. I think it was due to Britain's specific amateur military tradition, which did not exist in France and Germany. That is why, I think, French and German women working for their armed forces were unable to achieve any kind of military recognition or status. I have a lot on information about France and Britain, but almost none about Germany. I am familiar with Bianca Schönberger's article about German Women Army Auxiliaries between 1917-1918, but she makes no mention of any voluntary paramilitary organisations before that date. I also know of Franz W. Seidler, Frauen zu den Waffen, 1978, but he does not writes about women's military ambition in the First World War.
Dr Cornelie Usborne
Professor emerita of History
School of Arts
London SW15 5PH
Tel 020 8392 3284