Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of History

Advisor(s)

Steven Guerrier

Michael Galgano

Joanne Hartog

Mary Louise Loe

Abstract

During the Second World War, the Soviet Union became the first country in the world to allow women to join the Air Force. Three regiments were formed, comprised of all female personnel. The three regiments flew over 30,000 combat missions and produced thirty Heroes of the Soviet Union (HSUs) in their three years of service. The 588th, later renamed the 46th, was the most successful and well-known of the female regiments, famous for its combat record and stunning achievements.This paper seeks to put into context the unique social constructions that allowed for the recruitment, training, and success of these women pilots. Growing up in a patriotic and militaristic culture that placed influence on the roles women should play as mothers, workers, and patriots, many were used to doing traditionally masculine work for the good of the collective. These women already knew how to cope with hardship while still maintaining their femininity, and this unique construction of their identity is what spurred them to greatness.

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