Tag Archive: WWI

Canary Girls: Making Shells, Turning Yellow

OK- this is a little bizarre and totally would never happen in this day and age- but during WWI some women working in weapons manufacturing in England turned yellow.  Yellow?  Yep, yellow- their skin turned yellow and their hair turned highlighter orange.  It was so common they were nicknamed “canary girls”.  Some of them even claimed their baby’s were born yellow too.  Why were they yellow and why was this OK???

During WWI weapons factories filled up with women, because the men were all away fighting.  These girls were the predecessors to “Rosie the Riveter”.  In England they were affectionately known as Munitionettes.  Cute right?  They sound like a cheerleading squad- I bet they had cute outfits right?!?  Seriously though, they worked in extreme conditions, long hours, handling dangerous chemicals, in a time when the technology was new and largely untested.  These girls were BRAVE.  Doing their bit for the war effort and the fight for women’s equality.

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8 Powerful Propaganda Images from WWI

I’ve written previously on the subject of WWI.  I find this war intensely interesting and spend a lot of my free time reading and researching the subject.  Propaganda from the war is particularly of interest to me, and it’s use was wide spread during the war.  Both sides embraced propaganda as both a recruitment tool and morale booster.  The following photos show propaganda from some of the major players involved in the conflict- Britain, France, Germany, Austro-Hungary, and The United States.  Each country has their own unique style, and their propaganda reflects their culture and the mindset of their countrymen at the time.

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World War I Fiction for Downton Abbey Lovers

World War I historical fiction for fans of Downton AbbeySeasons 1 and 2 of my beloved and favorite T.V. series ever- Downton Abbey- take place right before and during the Great War (WWI).  We see Downton turned into a hospital for wounded officers.  Which, actually did happen at Highclere Castle (the real Downton Abbey).  We see Matthew Crawley and other men from the estate head off to the front.  And we experience just a hint at the heartache that this war doled out all over Europe.

From 1914-1918 the men of Europe and their colonial “partners”, later joined by the U.S., slaughtered each other in a particularly brutal fashion.  This war was stomach turning- violent, deadly, and inhumane.  All wars are such, but WWI seems to embody these characteristics in such an extreme way that it is hard to comprehend.  WWII is the only other human experience that I think can beat it, with the American Civil War coming in a close third place.

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“Stille Nacht, Holy Night”: Christmas Truce 1914

This illustration was first published on January 9, 1915 in The Illustrated London News. The caption read (in part) "Saxons and Anglo-Saxons fraternizing on the field of battle at the season of peace and goodwill."

This illustration was first published on January 9, 1915 in The Illustrated London News. The caption read (in part) “Saxons and Anglo-Saxons fraternizing on the field of battle at the season of peace and goodwill.”

The moon was full and bright, the damp air had turned into a crisp cold, and white frost lay on the ground all around.  The guns were silent, the sky was clear; and the thoughts of the men were of home and the miracle birth of the Christ Child.  101 years ago something miraculous happened in the midst of chaos and death, it was the Christmas Truce of 1914. The power of love, grace and forgiveness, that is embodied in Christ and the celebration of Christmas made it’s way to the battlefront.  Though it was short lived it is a tiny testament to the power of commonalities of men in desperate circumstances.

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