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Next Level Fitness

“Women And World War II”

KSAL Staff - June 17, 2015 7:24 am


The second program in the Ike 125 lecture series commemorating the 125th anniversary of the birth of Dwight David Eisenhower will be presented by Dominique François. The French military historian will speak about “Women During World War II: Substitutes, Soldiers, or Scapegoats?”

The role of women during World War II is little known, obscured by attention to the men who fought and led. But women were essential to the outcome. In the U.S. and Britain, they volunteered en masse, serving in non-combat roles. Soviet women joined front-line troops. French women helped replace men sent to Germany as forced laborers, joined the resistance, or became “horizontal collaborators” later subjected to punishment and humiliation after their country’s liberation.

Women in the U.S. moved into the workforce, symbolized by Rosie the Riveter, the fictional factory laborer performing what was previously considered man’s work. Thousands of women in America and other Allied countries enlisted as nurses and served on the front lines.

François will present the program both in Kansas City and Abilene. The Kansas City event opens with a reception at 6 p.m. and the program at 6:30 on Tuesday, June 23 at the Plaza Branch – Kansas City Public Library.Françoiswill speak on Wednesday, June 24 at noon for the Brown Bag Lunch program, including light hors d’oeuvres, at the Eisenhower Presidential Library Visitors Center Auditorium.

François returns to the Eisenhower Presidential Library where many will remember his 2014 program, “Normandy: Before and After D-Day.” In his Ike 125 lecture, he will examine the roles of women–the true unknown soldiers of World War II. He will also discuss how the Allied armies probably would not have won the war without women’s participation and unconditional support.

François, a resident of Basse-Normandie, France, has concentrated his study of World War II on D-Day and the subsequent Normandy military campaign. He has written 16 books and served as a consultant for NBC, the History Channel and Inertia Films.

Story by: Samantha Kenner / Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum

City of Salina