Women of World War 1

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by jmzajmza
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Social Studies
World War I

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Women of World War 1

Women of World War I

World War I started when the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife were assasinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian member of a Serbian terrorist organization, on June 28, 1914

"At eleven o'clock this morning came to an end the cruellest and most terrible war that has ever scourged mankind. I hope we may say that thus, this fateful morning, came to an end all wars." -David Lloyd George (Remark in the House of Commons, November 11, 1918

The Schlieffen Plan is a plan created by General Count Alfred Von Schlieffen in 1905. He thought a surprise attack against France would keep Britain out of the war. Germany had 6 weeks to defeat France and they planned to surprise France by going through Belgium and Luxemburg. At the beginning of WWI they used a modified version of this plan. The French stalled the Germans at the Marne River and the plan failed.

•They worked as streetcar conductors and drove buses and ambulances•They became bank tellers, executives, and department managers•They worked in armaments factories making shells and ammunition•They planted fields and harvested cropsThe kinds of jobs they successfully handled were amazing considering that before the war, women had mostly worked as domestic servants

•More than two hundred Englishwomen were killed when shells exploded•Women would suffer for years from poisoning caused by handling dangerous chemicals•Women often collapsed at their machines from exhaustion and hunger•Those who managed to stay on their feet found it hard to work in winter because factories were usually unheated•Some went into battle as nurses

The Start

The End

The Schlieffen Plan

•About 700,000 women labored in munitions factories for as many as 60 hours a week•More than 28,000 worked in the huge Krupps armaments plant alone•Typical of women workers were the "munitionettes." This was the name applied to the women who worked in the munitions factories of England•They were also known as "canaries" because daily handling of shell powder turned their skin a bright yellow

By the end of the war, their number had grown to almost a million, and they were producing almost 80 percent of the shells and weapons used by the British army. 68% of women changed jobs since the war began.

•Two of the most famous were Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm•Elsie Knocker was a twenty-nine-year-old English divorcee•Mairi Chisholm was a brazen 18-year-old Scottish girl who drove her motorbike from Scotland to England to join up with an ambulance corps being sent to help the Belgian army•They worked with the ambulance corps for awhile and then decided to set up a front-line first aid station in the Belgian village of Pervyse. •They had observed that many soldiers who were wounded in the trenches died from shock before they could be transported to a rear hospital. They believed they could save many lives if they set up an aid station close to the trenches.•Elsie Knocker took care of most of the medical work. •Mairi Chisholm mostly drove the ambulance•Sometimes the two actually carried wounded men across No Man's Land to their nearby aid station

Dangers for Women

Women for the most part, were expected to stay home and perform their duties as wives and mothers. World War I changed all that. With so many men off fighting the war, women were drawn into the workforce in record numbers.


Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm

•Women in the United States also made their way to the battlefronts•Never was an order so ignored. By war's end, some twenty-five thousand women had sailed to France


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