The trials and tribulations which women tolerated throughout World War II are evident through Peggy Terry, a woman who worked in a munitions factory during the war, who said;
“The war gave a lot of people jobs. It led them to expect more than they had before. People’s expectations, financially (and) spiritually were raised. There was such a beautiful dream. We were going to reach the end of the rainbow…”
The experiences and metamorphosis which Australian women endured throughout World War II was the catalyst for the revolutionary changes which were to come. Through examining the effects of World War II on Australian women and their changing roles and rights in society, there will be a greater understanding of these innovative changes in Australian society.
With the invasion of Poland initiated by Adolf Hitler on the 1st of September 1939, Britain declared war on Germany, consequently forcing Australia’s involvement in the Second World War. On the 3rd of September, the Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced
“Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially, that in consequence of a persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war.”- [Robert Menzies 1939]
With this, Australia was immerged into the Second World War as a result of holding strong alliances with Britain. Two land forces were created, the Militia, Australia’s own defence system built up of volunteers and obligatory military service and the Second AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) which was a voluntary army to fight overseas, in places such as the Middle East and Malaya.
Before World War II, it was generally accepted that women’s roles were as home-makers and nurturers, reinforced by beliefs that women were incapable of leading any other sort of life. Those who did, whether through choice or circumstance, were looked upon as immoral. They were considered to be “economically.