Chapter 15: Abstract

War and Gender: The Age of the World Wars and its Aftermath—an Overview

Karen Hagemann (UNC–Chapel Hill, Department of History) and Sonya O. Rose (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

In Oxford Handbook of Gender, War, and the Western World since 1600, ed. by Karen Hagemann et al. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 369-409.


The chapter offers a broad overview of the history of warfare in the Age of the World Wars. It first considers the concept of “total war” and its usefulness for gender history. Then it describes some general trends in the development of warfare during the first half of the twentieth century to provide the historical context for the more detailed gender analysis. The chapter interprets the general developments in the history of war and warfare in this period from a gender perspective and explores the research on some of the major themes of a gender history of military of war including gender images, war propaganda, and postwar memory; gendered war support and war experience at the homefront; economic warfare, gendered experience of occupation and forced labor; war service, gender, and citizenship; and finally gender, genocide, and sexual violence.


World War I and II; Global Cold War; Wars of Decolonization; total war; industrialized mass warfare; genocide; Holocaust; home front; sexual violence; gender.

In Part III: "The Age of the World Wars" of the Oxford Handbook of Gender, War and the Western World since 1600.

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