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Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:12 PM

18 Color Photos Of Female WWII Workers That Will Make You Proud(er) To Be A Woman

It's not that we need a reason to be proud of our womanhood, but when such a beautiful reminder comes along we can't help but share it. We stumbled upon this treasure trove of photos courtesy of imgur user alwaysupvoteducks, a series of color photos chronicling the female workers of the World War II era. And, of course, we wanted to spread the magic.

The following photos feature a selection of ladies so badass they put Rosie the Riveter to shame. The images, likely snapped between 1939 and 1944 as part of the United States Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, offer a richly saturated view of daily life held for American women during the war. Get lost in the metallic hues and vintage washes below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/30/colorized-photos-_n_5628396.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000010













More pictures at link.

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Reply 18 Color Photos Of Female WWII Workers That Will Make You Proud(er) To Be A Woman (Original post)
one_voice Aug 2014 OP
shenmue Aug 2014 #1
Nuclear Unicorn Aug 2014 #2
Brigid Aug 2014 #14
Yavin4 Aug 2014 #38
cwydro Aug 2014 #34
brer cat Aug 2014 #3
freshwest Aug 2014 #4
mountain grammy Aug 2014 #16
senseandsensibility Aug 2014 #24
Mr.Bill Aug 2014 #5
JDPriestly Aug 2014 #6
MarianJack Aug 2014 #7
catbyte Aug 2014 #8
Hoppy Aug 2014 #9
awoke_in_2003 Aug 2014 #32
Scuba Aug 2014 #10
CTyankee Aug 2014 #22
Fla Dem Aug 2014 #11
Omaha Steve Aug 2014 #12
amandabeech Aug 2014 #30
Omaha Steve Aug 2014 #36
amandabeech Aug 2014 #37
Kablooie Aug 2014 #13
CTyankee Aug 2014 #15
Kablooie Aug 2014 #18
CTyankee Aug 2014 #19
mountain grammy Aug 2014 #17
one_voice Aug 2014 #20
madokie Aug 2014 #21
HockeyMom Aug 2014 #23
RB TexLa Aug 2014 #25
customerserviceguy Aug 2014 #27
dionysus Aug 2014 #28
Liberal_in_LA Aug 2014 #26
amandabeech Aug 2014 #29
awoke_in_2003 Aug 2014 #31
awoke_in_2003 Aug 2014 #33
trumad Aug 2014 #35

Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:22 PM

1. Thank you



Wonderful.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:29 PM

2. Proud ot be an American woman. I doubt the women supporting the Axis are entitled to as much pride.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:42 PM

14. I doubt that many women in Axis countries were doing tasks like the ones in these photos.

I once heard of a German man (a general, I think) admitting that one of their biggest mistakes was in not using their womanpower the way the Allies, especially we Americans, did.

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Response to Brigid (Reply #14)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 09:11 AM

38. I would've thought that killing millions of innocent people was Germany's biggest mistake

But okay.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #2)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 07:16 AM

34. Not just American women

English women as well... And hundreds of female resistance fighters throughout Europe

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:02 PM

3. Great photos.

Thanks for posting one_voice.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:05 PM

4. My father's sisters worked making wings for planes, machining and fitting them together, and making

Last edited Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:29 PM - Edit history (2)

the works and installing the gauges used in the airplanes.

But they were unhappy years later about forced lay offs when the war ended. They were told they were no longer needed since the men were back. They all took umbrage at being told to go home and have children.

But I take exception to the article saying those in these pictures 'put Rosie the Riveter to shame.' They aren't any more 'badass' than the people in my family. Here is the story of 'Rosie':

Original Rosie the Riveter, 93, Still Working at Boeing Factory Where She Started During WWII

Elinor Otto, 93, picked up a riveting gun during World War II, joining the wave of women taking on the jobs of men sent to fight overseas.
While most of the original 'Rosie the Riveter' women left the workforce just days after the war ended, Otto continued to rivet.

These days she's building the C-17 at Boeing's California plant. Otto is out of bed every morning at 4am, gets a coffee and newspaper, before starting work by 6am.
She parks as far away from the plant as possible so she can walk over - her morning exercise. She brings cookies for her colleagues every Thursday.

'We hoped we'd win the war. We worked hard as women, and were proud to have that job. 'I'm a working person, I guess. I like to work. I like to be around people that work.

'I like to get up, get out of the house, get something accomplished during the day.' However it is likely she will finally have to retire next year when Boeing finishes off its last contract for those C-17 cargo planes.


Read more:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2434889/Original-Rosie-Riveter-working-aged-93.html#undefined

to big dog:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014604542

Other than that, loved the pictures as they look just like the women in my family. It brought my memories of them, women who saw their lives as more than their gender roles, and kept doing hard work the rest of their life. After they finished their work on the war effort during the day, they did their duty as neighborhood air raid wardens at night.

Thanks for posting this!

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Response to freshwest (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:01 PM

16. Great story, thanks.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 08:18 PM

24. Wow! 93 and still working at Boeing!

That is amazing. I had no idea. It's sad that she kept working there for sixty or seventy years, and now her job is being lost to offshoring.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:21 PM

5. My mother was a Rosie the riveter.

Not literally, but she ran a blueprint machine at the Glen Martin company outside of Baltimore during the war.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:32 PM

6. My aunt worked on codes.

She showed me her Morse code machine and was an expert at cryptograms all her life. When I visited her in the 1980s she showed me and my sister a book of hieroglyphic cryptograms she was working on.

She also caught a bunch of home repair scam artists who preyed on the elderly by breaking something in their homes and then getting their victims to go to the bank and take out money to pay for the repairs. My aunt went to the bank and got the teller to call the police. She was in her 80s at the time.

A fighter all her life although a very shy one.

Thanks to all the women who served in our armed forces and in the defense industries in WWII. They are our heroes.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:32 PM

7. My mom wasn't a "Rosie the Rivetet",...

...she was "Marie the Meat Packer". She did her part along with my aunts. I'm very proud of her and honor her memory. She's been gone these past 8 years.

PEACE!

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:40 PM

8. Thank you! My late mom worked in a plant for 4 years.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:47 PM

9. My mom worked in a factory bottling DDT

 

Yeah, I know. But it was to reduce malaria in the Pacific.

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Response to Hoppy (Reply #9)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 01:57 AM

32. It was an important job...

 

just as vital as all the others. It takes more than weapons to win a war.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:08 PM

10. My mom enlisted in the US Army in 1943, honorably discharged in 1946.

 

She and my dad met at Randolph Army Air Base and were married there in 1945.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:17 PM

22. Oh, I just love these wartime romance stories...how wonderful...

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:35 PM

11. MY Mom, not a Rosie Riverter, but was a SPAR, US Coast Guard Women's Reserve.

She was in from 1942 until the end of the war. I salute all the women who served during WWII in industrial positions and in the military.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:38 PM

12. My mom worked on the Enola Gay when it was being built at the Martin Bomber plant


Mom road a bus from far North Omaha to remote Bellevue for almost two hours each way.

The building is still there. Marta and I live just a few miles away from it.

http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0800/frameset_reset.html?http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0800/stories/0801_0133.html


The Enola Gay as it is today: http://ids.si.edu/ids/deliveryService?max=1000&id=

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Response to Omaha Steve (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 11:38 PM

30. Wow, just wow.

 

Your Mom was an original. Many people here on DU believe that those bombs should not have been dropped. But I'm someone who thinks that hind sight really is 20-20, particularly when it comes to war. The Japanese people were fed all kinds of extreme propaganda by their government about the dishonor of surrendering when there was no realistic chance of prevailing. What that meant was obvious the closer the US forces came to the home islands. The kamikaze plane and torpedo attacks on our ships ended up killing so many of our sailor and marines in what, for the Japanese, was a lost cause. Our marines and army troops could not convince civilians on Okinawa to surrender, and on Saipan, Japanese troops practically shoved civilians over high cliffs to their deaths to avoid being taken alive by US troops who then tried to lure the natives out of the brush with offers, in Japanese, of food and water, thankfully with some success. Taking the Japanese home islands would have resulted in enormous death and bloodshed on all sides, and a blockade--well, just read stories about siege of Leningrad and get back to me with how that would have been a better option.

And don't talk to me about the Russians. Would Japan have been better off if it had been divided like Korea? Please.

I think that our Democratic President, Harry Truman, made the best decision he could have made at the time with the information that he had, which was imperfect, and which was speculative with respect to the bomb.

The War in the Pacific finally ended, and your Mom was a part of that. I hope that your Mom was proud of what she contributed to the war effort. And that you are proud of her.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #30)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:16 AM

36. I'm very proud of Mom


The two bombs saved over a 1/2 million US Armed Forces casualties. The Japanese civilian losses would have been much higher.

The US used Purple Heart medals that were ordered for the expected high casualty rate that a Japanese invasion would have cost in injuries and death. New ones weren't produced until the year 2000.

OS

http://www.americanheritage.com/content/half-million-purple-hearts

Half A Million Purple Hearts
Why a 200-year-old decoration offers evidence in the controversy surrounding the Hiroshima bombing.

Early last year, just as NATO was stepping up its bombing campaign in Kosovo, the news broke that the United States was manufacturing 9,000 new Purple Hearts, the decoration that goes to American troops wounded in battle and the families of those killed in action. To the media, this seemed a clear indication that despite its pledge not to send in ground forces, the United States was planning to do just that. “Why in good God’s name are we making Purple Hearts if we are not in a war and we don’t expect casualties?” asked the New York Post .

But in fact the run of medals had nothing to do with imminent combat; rather it cast light backward on a long-ago war. For this was the first large-scale production of the decoration since World War II; for more than half a century, American casualties have been receiving Purple Hearts stockpiled for the invasion of Japan. All the other implements of that war—tanks and LSTs, bullets and K rations—have long since been sold, scraooed. or used up, but these medals, struck for their grandfathers, are still being pinned on the chests of young soldiers.

More than 370,000 Purple Hearts have been issued between the outbreak of the Korean War through the current peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. Remarkably, some 120,000 more are still in the hands of the armed services, not only stockpiled at military supply depots but kept with major combat units and at field hospitals so that they can be awarded without delay. But although great numbers of the World War II stock are still available and ready for use, those controversial 9,000 new ones were ordered for the simplest of bureaucratic reasons: So many medals had been transferred to the armed services that the government organization responsible for procuring them, the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, had to replenish its own inventory.

FULL story at link.


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Response to Omaha Steve (Reply #36)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:58 AM

37. Thank you for posting that great story about all the Purple Hearts made for

 

those who would have fallen in an attack to conquer the Japanese home islands. Truman wasn't making it up. He and others around him that that the casualties would be enormous judging from their experiences on Saipan, Iwo Jima, Tinian and, of course, Okinawa.

It's good to know that you are proud of your Mom. I'm proud of her, too.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:40 PM

13. My mom and her sister were Maisie the map maker.

They drew carefully detailed maps for the air force to use in locating targets.

After the war she helped translate some Nazi documents found in the bottom of a well.
They turned out to be plans for an atomic bomb!

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Response to Kablooie (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:45 PM

15. good lord! She is a hero!

you must be over the moon proud!

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #15)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:11 PM

18. It was quite a surprise when I found out.

She worked with a German scientist who spoke just a little English.
He would translate the papers into pidgin English and she would re-write them into correct English.

One thing that she wasn't proud of was drawing maps of Nagasaki.
My wife is Japanese and I've never told her this and never will.

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Response to Kablooie (Reply #18)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:14 PM

19. thank you. what an important thing to know. Your mother was wonderful...

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:04 PM

17. In 1942, my Mom was single and 30 and joined the Marines!

Thank you for this post.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:15 PM

20. I love the stories...

moms, aunties, sisters....so inspiring.

Thanks everyone for sharing.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:16 PM

21. Thanks

Goes to show when the need arises the women will rise to the occasion.

Without them building the war machines for our troops we'd never have won the second war

thank you Ladies

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:19 PM

23. I was told my Mom was a Rosie too

 

She worked for the War Department as a Typist and cut the GI's paychecks. Local historian was asking for stories of Rosie's to write a book, and when I told her Mom's story, the author wrote me back saying that of course my Mom would be considered a "Rosie" too, and she would include her in the book.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 09:26 PM

25. But sadly it's also a reminder of the discrimination the military had against women in combat roles

 

At least this image is now a reality

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Response to RB TexLa (Reply #25)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:35 PM

27. Consider the times

They didn't even let male soldiers of different colors fight with each other. Having women step into essential support roles for the war was a step along the way to the women's liberation movement that saw it's full flowering some twenty-five years later.

We utilized the talents of both genders, the enemy didn't. One of the key reasons we won.

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Response to RB TexLa (Reply #25)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:46 PM

28. i would never drink with you. nt.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:17 PM

26. k&r

 

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 11:19 PM

29. My Mom made bullets and land mines in a factory in Jackson, MI.

 

Last edited Sun Aug 3, 2014, 11:50 PM - Edit history (1)

She started the war as a teacher in a rural one-room school house, but quit to do her part in the factory. The factory was integrated, and it was the first time that my Mom had come into contact with blacks. She grew up in a small farming community and there were no blacks in her neighborhood or in her school system, and she just didn't know much about Black America. When she has talked about the war years, she has always said that the Black women that she worked with were just as bright and capable as she and the other white women. She became very friendly with one of the black women who talked to her a lot about what it was like being a black woman. Being a white woman then was difficult enough, but it was clear to my Mom that being a black woman was much more difficult. My Mom went back to teaching in a country school after the war but only for a year. She didn't like going back to a rural area again, and soon made her way back to the plant, which was making locks for cars, and was rehired, unlike most other women. One day, she was walking along the street, and came upon her black friend. She asked her friend what she where she was working. Her friend acted very uncomfortable, and said that she was working as a domestic, and it was hard for my Mom to realize why she herself was in the factory, and her friend, who was an excellent worker, was not. Mom never saw her freind again.

Mom went back to teaching after another year or so--she decided that factory work was too boring-- before she met my Dad, who who had been stationed on an escort carrier patrolling the southern US coastline and the Caribbean for German subs. He finished the war doing what he was trained to do, which was fixing the exteriors and frames of beat-up planes at Naval Air Stations up and down the East Coast. Dad passed years ago, but Mom is 92 and still drives and lives independently.

Her middle sister, Millie, was a high school student in Fremont, Michigan, home of Gerber Baby Food. During the war, there were few babies born, and Gerber changed all but one of its lines from canning baby food to canning all kinds of food, from apples to beef, for the war effort. When school let out, Aunt Millie and many of her classmates walked to the Gerber plant where they did a full shift. They then did their homework, got some sleep, and went back to school. The baby food line was staffed by volunteer German POWs, who lived in a camp outside town, and were paid a bit to work in what was obviously a non-military job. Aunt Millie said that the Germans were very young, and she and the other girls would smile and wave at them, which the young Germans appreciated very much. She said that it was hard to imagine that they had been shooting at our young men. It was a very awkward situation. WWII was a just war, but many regular people died, along with the baddies.

Aunt Millie became an Air Force nurse, and was stationed in Guam during the Korean War, where she met her husband, who was a pilot. Like my Dad, she and her husband have passed, but like Dad, are with me in my memories.

I originally wrote this post without mentioning my Mom's black friend, but I decided that I wanted to honor her, too, since my Mom thought so highly of her.

Go Mom and Aunt Millie! And go Mom's Friend and all her friends, too!

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 01:56 AM

31. both of my grandmothers worked in plants during the war...

 

but were loving women who were not to be trifled with.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 01:59 AM

33. Oh, and k&r. nt

 

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 07:41 AM

35. From then to now...

 

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