Heroes, Lovers, Victims: Partisan Girls during the Great Fatherland War

TitleHeroes, Lovers, Victims: Partisan Girls during the Great Fatherland War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsFürst, Julianne

The general stereotype even today is that, despite all their heroic deeds, girls were less suited to the business of war. Both Elena Seniavskaia and Svetlana Alekseevich, who tackled the question of women's war participation from a psychological viewpoint, agree that `war has no female face', since fighting and killing stand in direct contrast to women's natural psychology and biological function. The partisan girls' own testimony, however, does not indicate that they felt any less able to cope or suffered more than their male colleagues. While these accounts given at the assembly of partisan girls in Moscow in 1944 might have carried an element of self-aggrandisement, they certainly demonstrate that the partisan girls wished to be considered perfectly capable of full participation in the military activities of partisan life. `We wanted to be equal...and we tried harder than the men', declared one of Alekseevich's interviewees. Tat'iana Kiseleva, leader of an all-women unit, concludes her speech with the words: `If you give sufficient weapons to a girl, then she will fight just like a man.' [Adapted from Abstract]

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