Even before the war broke out in August 1914, the leading German women’s organisation was ready with a plan for a National Women’s Service offering patriotic support for the war. They organised women to replace the working men who had volunteered or been conscripted into the army, dispensed food and home management advice to struggling families, and packed comfort parcels to send to the front. But there were other German women who were horrified at the outbreak of war and saw it as their patriotic duty to oppose it. Socialist women like Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin, pacifists like Helene Stöcker and Constanze Hallgarten, and feminist internationalists like Lida Heymann, Anita Augspurg and Minna Cauer. These women found ways round the tough wartime censorship, the persecution, bans and imprisonment to speak out against the war. This talk will tell their story
Ingrid Sharp is a Professor of German Cultural & Gender History at the University of Leeds. A major area of her research and public engagement has focussed on WW1 and its aftermath, especially on women’s organisations and female activists during the period 1914-24, and on various forms and expressions of war resistance.