Fighting for the American Family: Private Interests and Political Obligation in World War II

TitleFighting for the American Family: Private Interests and Political Obligation in World War II
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsWestbrook, Robert B.
EditorLears, TJ Jackson, and Richard Wightman Fox
Book TitleThe Power of Culture: Critical Essays in American History
Pagination195-221
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
CityChicago
Abstract

This essay on the discourses and policies of private and public institutions for the American family during World War II shows the impact of cultural discourse on the family and its proper gender order on the social policy in respect of the family during and after war time. The ideal of the male breadwinner family was upheld rhetorically during war despite the fact that women – and even mothers – joined the work force during war time and were encouraged to do so, because the war economy needed them to replace men who were sent to fight. After the war, in the process of demobilization, women were sent home again into the family.

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26635826

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