Women in the Red Cross

The American Red Cross gave women more job opportunities than they had in the past. It gave women the opportunity to go overseas to serve their country. Women joined the “fight” by helping men with the injuries they got on the battlefield. The Red Cross helped make women’s role in war more important than they had been, paying women to keep the American men fighting alive. Due to wartime activities, over 400 American Red cross workers, including 296 nurses lost their lives from 1914 to 1921.These women are accredited with staying on the front lines of battle. They served under fire in field hospitals and evacuation hospitals, on hospital trains and ships, and flight nurses on medical transport planes. Red Cross nurses saw equal amounts (if not more) war atrocities than some of the  men fighting did.

Women’s service in the Red Cross in World War One required them to drive cars and be mechanics in the US, but it also sent them to the edges of the front lines in Europe. Their service made it obvious to the US how important women were.  While nursing was not a new profession for women, nurses’ importance grew, like in this image.

In this post we see a woman in the world of war. She holds a soldier within her grasp to calm and soothe him as if they were her own child. This poster is intended to depict women as the mothering to our nation’s soldiers and encourage the world to see them as such. Her size compared to him shows her significance. It is a great recruitment poster as well because some aspect of it draws to the need to protect one’s own and encourages enlistment of women to help the Red Cross aid and heal America’s soldiers. This image resembles Michelangelo’s famous statue the Pieta. The Pieta shows Mother Mary holding the body of Christ. The poster resembles the Pieta in the way that the nurse is holding on to the soldier, mourning for the loss and showing compassion towards the U.S. soldiers. The creator of the poster wants to show Red Cross nurses as motherly and strong,  but this nurse is also larger than life.

This poster portrays an image of women in uniform representing the United States. The poster depicts the Red Cross as humanistic and the answer to the war. The Red Cross nurse supports the soldier and his family at home. She is ready to take on the fight, and the little girl looks at her with adoration.  The nurse here also towers over the soldier and his family.

Contributors: Haley Hornecker, Chloe Davidson, Sonia Flanigan, and Avery Pillaro.

Learn more about this whole suffrage centennial project, created by teams in Dr. Kim Little’s HIST2302:  America in the Modern Era First-Year Seminars.