Evaluation and Recommendations

Neither the cost nor the worth of the wartime Women's Army Corps, Army of the United States, was ever officially assessed. Few of the Army's operating agencies, fiscal, procurement, or otherwise, kept a separate Corps accounting or a separate total of expenditures. From the viewpoint of achievement of full integration, there was no reason why expensive separate accounts should have been maintained; even if they had been, there would have been no objective manner of weighing them against that intangible-performance.

Cost to the Army

For the information of Congress, the General Staff, in its postwar planning, compiled a chart of the estimated relative cost of male and female soldiers under "normal" conditions.1  This summary made clear that there was no reason why a woman soldier should cost as much as a man. Aside from the considerable saving of food, the major economy in the use of female personnel consisted in the lesser number of dependents or persons legally entitled to be considered dependents, with resulting savings not only in wartime allotments of salary but also in dependents' quarters, travel, and other costs. Since combat training could be omitted, the required training time was also shorter and less expensive, particularly when, in wartime, numbers of older women already possessing needed civilian skills chose to enter. Under normal conditions, and if the estimates to Congress held true, it appeared that the wartime Army of the future could save itself at least $7,700,000 per year for each 100,000 women substituted for an equal number of male noncombatants.

In addition, if the estimates of commanders such as Generals Eisenhower, Eaker, and Devers were correct, the savings could be doubled by the use of only 50,000 women to substitute for 100,000 men in jobs in which women appeared to excel. In testimony before Congress every authority almost without exception stated that in such work one woman had in wartime offices replaced at least two men and possibly more. Such double savings, however, would apply only to part of the possible replacements. If it was necessary to extend the use of women to motor transport and mechanical jobs, no better than one-for-one replacement could be expected, while further extension to work in


Per person per year



large messes and as hospital orderly would require two women for one man, thus canceling the earlier savings.

Such estimates gave no clue to the actual cost of the wartime WAC, which had never operated under "normal" conditions. The Corps as a whole had been the victim of the expensive experiments inherent in any new organization. It had accumulated stocks of unusable misfit clothing; it had spent money on early ill-planned recruiting schemes, with ill-chosen slogans and personnel, and aimed at unrealistic goals; it had opened and promptly closed large training centers for recruits who never appeared. It had also required incalculable man-hours of the time of experienced Army staff officers, from the Chief of Staff downward to every headquarters and station commander, which could not be reckoned in dollars and cents. Whether or not the expense of such an experimental stage was recompensed by even the most superlative efficiency in its members was a question difficult to answer. However, if later wars required total mobilization, and if the organizational lessons of World War II were not forgotten, the experiment had obviously been a useful and necessary one.

Recommendations for the Future

Although no WAC or Army authorities left detailed studies as to the means by which successive mobilizations could avoid the major causes of expense or difficulty in World War II, their general recommendations could to some extent be pieced together from speeches, separate staff studies, historical accounts, and lists of incomplete projects.

General Paul, the postwar head of G-1 Division, was the only man on the General Staff level to leave a formal recommendation. He stated that five problems "'must be solved in order to effect a sound and complete utilization of women." Two of these had, he believed, been solved by Regular Army legislation: the "lack of prior planning" before an emergency occurred, and the "lack of an organized nucleus within the military establishment on which to build." Two others concerned what was generally now recognized by administrators of women: that women's jobs were more important to them than any other factor in their environment. General Paul therefore stated that the Army must not again be guilty either of "failure to evaluate civilian training and experience" or of "reluctance to utilize women in Army jobs formerly held by men." Finally, he noted the effect of unfavorable Army attitude on all echelons, resulting from "failure to orient key male personnel as to proper utilization of women in the Army." In spite of these past problems, General Paul was confident that they need not be repeated. In any case, he concluded:

Experience of World War II proved that women play a vital role in the military effectiveness of any nation. And American women, through their services in the Women's Army Corps, showed that, contrary to dogmatic opinion, the previously untapped potentiality of womanpower could be directed into the channel of personnel power with positive results. The record shows that their contribution erased any doubt as to the ability, adaptability, and stability of American women in time of national crisis.

As to continuation of this wartime performance in the peacetime Army or any future wartime Corps, only one immediate question occurred to General Paul, which he called, "the question that pops up in anyone's mind-Would you be able to get


the type of womanhood you want?" 2

The final recommendations of Directors Hobby and Boyce were not so specific, being merely lists of unfinished business or other staff studies. It was noteworthy, however, that on several points there was general agreement between the views of both Directors, several major commands, and frequently General Paul or medical authorities. Points on which there was some agreement among several experts included the fields of Army opinion, women's jobs and housing, the caste system, the recruiting organization, and the proper employment of WAC advisers at all levels.

Array Attitude

On the question of Army attitude, both Colonel Hobby and Colonel Boyce agreed with General Paul in ascribing it a place of primary importance in the course of any future Corps. Colonel Boyce noted that "though improvement has come. . . this attitude is still not wholly corrected." She therefore recommended, for the future:

In any future organization for women, the War Department, through the Chief of Staff, should at the outset set forth to the Army the desire that the women shall be considered as full members of the Army and be accorded every courtesy and protection by all male members, commissioned and enlisted; and that all commanders be held responsible to prevent scurrilous comment and a negative attitude on the part of male military personnel toward the women within their commands.3

Women's Jobs

The Corps' entire history demonstrated that one factor above all others influenced women's morale, happiness, or discipline. This was, simply, correct job assignment and full-time work. Director Hobby had stated unequivocally at the end of the WAAC's first year: "That is the biggest single morale factor. If they feel that they have actually replaced a man, they feel that they are doing their job." 4

An Army Service Forces survey in the last days of the war noted that job satisfaction would be essential "for the future utilization of women in emergencies," and that:

Satisfaction with her job is probably the single most important factor in an enlisted woman's evaluation of her role as a member of the Women's Army Corps, and, consequently, her general morale and adjustment in Army life.
Unlike men in the Army, who can display endurance and courage through hardships and combat, the women have only the work they do on their jobs to offer as evidence of their contribution to the war effort.5

From the viewpoint of mental health, General Menninger agreed that in the future more instead of less choice of jobs should be allowed a recruit: "We should attempt to mold and modify the program to . . . allow for specificity in assignment and an opportunity for expression of feminine . . . ability."6

Social Association

Subordinate in importance only to job assignment, both Colonels Hobby and Boyce listed the Army caste system as ap-


plied to off-duty association of personnel of opposite sex, which Colonel Boyce called "the second strongest adverse factor in WAC morale." The Office of the Director, as well as Colonel Bandel in the Air Forces, continued to recommend that the only restriction be "the simple rule followed in most business offices"-that supervisors not date employees. Colonel Boyce also suggested that "an All-Ranks Club be established as an Army-wide custom, thus solving the problem for male Army personnel, Army Nurse Corps, and WAC officers and enlisted." The Medical Department's General Menninger endorsed this as a very practical recommendation and advised that the War Department publish a policy asserting that the laws of natural selection should govern off duty associations between male and female personnel.

Even in the few cases, such as that in the European theater, where WAC advisers favored application of the caste system to social engagements, all without exception agreed that some Army-wide policy should be published, comparable to the Navy's publication. Colonel Boyce noted that "the absence of any announced policy by the War Department led to inevitable and unfortunate inequality in handling this problem . . . whatever is decided as the policy, it should be announced at the War Department level." 7

While it appeared that the. problem would be less evident among peacetime personnel, who enlisted in full knowledge of the system, wartime WAC leaders were unanimous that it would be unwise ever again to attempt to form a large women's corps, particularly if women were drafted, without such an announced policy. Army men were ordinarily surprised to find this problem given such a high place in the list, yet all recorded comments of enlisted women were to the effect that "the whole experience was degrading and humiliating . . . I would not re-enlist for any amount of money unless the caste system is abolished in its entirety.8   Regardless of conflicting explanations of why this attitude should be held so strongly by American women, the fact was that it did exist, to a degree that could not safely be discounted.


In the matter of housing, all WAC authorities agreed with Colonel Hobby's final report, which noted the need for a distinction between housing for transient troops and that for permanent employees. Colonel Boyce's final statement on the matter added that, if the War Department wished to attract a Corps of women of high ability, it would be obliged to provide "suitable living standards . . . a greater degree of privacy than the open barracks of the past war, and . . . heating systems which would not necessitate the stoking of coal stoves by women." Colonel Craighill's medical reports invariably attributed tension and exhaustion among Wacs and nurses in large part to the lack of privacy. Colonel Bandel's final observation, concerning Air Force experience, was:

From the standpoint of hindsight . . . it would seem that one of the major aspects of the WAC program which might have been improved, in the initial planning stages, was the housing program .... Field experience indicated that drab or flimsy wartime hous-


ing had a greater effect on WAC efficiency and morale than anyone had anticipated.

Except for Colonel Craighill, none of these advisers applied such remarks to women overseas or otherwise transient in residence. It appeared that the problem would be less conspicuous in peacetime when all troops occupied more or less permanent housing, but in another mobilization a careful distinction was obviously required between those Wacs who could be considered transients and those who, in several years at one station, would benefit by housing comparable to peacetime Army quarters or civilian women's dormitories.9

The Uniform

Plans made by The Quartermaster General indicated that revision of the uniform would incorporate wartime lessons. The various uniforms worn by Wacs and nurses were scheduled for standardization to permit a common and simplified procurement. Work items needed by Wacs were added or retained: summer and winter slacks, a summer work dress, and adequate cold-weather clothing. The off duty dress was temporarily dropped from peacetime issue, as civilian clothing could be worn off duty.

The only reversal of a wartime advance came in the matter of uniform color. From preplanning days, the Director's Office had successfully vetoed The Quartermaster General's ideas for a non-Army color for women's uniforms; the frequent wartime suggestions that the WAC uniform be changed to another shade had been rebuffed "in view of the fact that the WAC is a part of the Army." In 1946, the Office of The Quartermaster General returned to the attempt with a design for an apple-green uniform with a pale green shirt, intended to be more becoming and attractive to women. Although the WAC staff protested that "women's uniforms in general should be of the same material, color and design as that prescribed for men," The Quartermaster General proceeded with field tests, and finally abandoned the project only after receiving discouraging comments from enlisted women. A short time later, the Quartermaster Corps made a more successful attempt; another version was produced in another non-Army color, a grayish taupe model by a famous designer, cut with Peter Pan collar and general nonmilitary lines. Other services the WAF, WAVES, and Women Marines continued to employ regulation tailored designs.10


All WAC authorities affirmed the need for special recruiting methods and standards for women. Colonel Boyce wrote:

The costly and unsuccessful experiments in WAC recruiting indicate that regular R& I methods are completely unsuccessful with women. Recruiting policies for women require a special technique and approach and their establishment should be considered as


one of the primary functions on which the heads of the Women's Services should advise.11

These views were not concurred in by the postwar Adjutant General's Office. The early days of 1943, once viewed with alarm as the time of an influx of unassignables, were now cited as evidence of the superiority of a merger of WAC and Army recruiting, since the numerical intake had in those days been at its peak. As a result, the regular recruiting organization was employed for WAC recruiting. The WAC advertising account, as part of the Army account, was returned to the firm that had originated the slogan of "Release a Man for Combat." The recruiting program nevertheless profited from wartime lessons by setting high standards, and by warning that "Commitments made to the enlistee must be conscientiously carried out: no false promises." 12

Both Directors were of the opinion that civilian women advisers such as the National Civilian Advisory Committee had been of great value to recruiting. Colonel Boyce noted: "The interest of the members of this Committee greatly enhanced the prestige of the Corps nationally and locally."13


Most wartime officers with experience in administering Wacs agreed that high enlistment standards-mental, physical, educational, and moral-were utterly essential to successful replacement of men in the type of noncombat work open to women and within their strength. General White noted later, "The biggest mistake we ever made was in briefly dropping our standards for numbers. Daytona Beach was the most convincing lesson about that. From then on I bitterly opposed lowering standards." 14

In spite of the fact that WAC enlistment standards had been higher than those of the Army, most authorities believed that they should have been even stricter. Colonel Boyce later commented that many Corps problems "would not have existed or would have been minimized" by constant and strenuous screening at the recruiting level, the basic training level, the officer candidate level, and before overseas shipment. 15

Provision for Troop Officers and Cadre

Almost all final recommendations by WAC staff advisers cited the need for better provisions to make troop work more attractive to women leaders, and for better training for those engaged in it. Colonel Hobby, upon her departure from the Corps, called for advanced training schools not only for troop officers but for enlisted cadre, with emphasis on the medical, social, recreational, psychological, and disciplinary problems of women.

The Air Forces and the European theater also suggested an allotment of cadre grades to each station if the presence of a WAC unit did not decrease the number of men's units. The European theater added:

The major problem arising from assignment of WAC personnel to existing tables of organization has been in securing commensurate grades and ratings for cadre. In many


instances it has been difficult to promote or even secure cadre personnel.16

The recommending agencies were of the opinion that the best female officers and enlisted women would not be attracted to troop duty as long as cadre grades were not provided for the WAC unit on the same terms as formally activated Army units. Colonel Bandel also recommended that the WAC officer candidate school be reserved for troop officers and that other women specialists be appointed in other arms or services.17

All wartime WAC and Air WAC advisers without exception agreed that it was essential to retain the system of permitting assignment of enlisted women only to units of company size commanded by women officers. Where this precaution had been neglected, WAC health, morale, discipline, and supply had invariably suffered, and necessary provisions of all sorts had been omitted. At least one full-time company commander, and at least one or two part-time junior assistants were stated to be the irreducible minimum for enlisted women's well-being.

Need for Staff Advisers

Although all WAC recommendations stressed the essentiality of female company officers, more question existed as to whether, in the future, female advisers like the wartime staff directors would be needed in the headquarters of major commands employing Wacs. Colonel Bandel noted that the question of what advisers would be required several decades in the future "can not be answered at this time," but that specialists would probably be needed "so long as a condition exists, as it did in World War II, in which women represent only about three percent of the strength of any command." 18  Colonel Goodwin stated:

I believe that it will be absolutely necessary to have women staff advisers in future emergencies. I found that in all commands where the Staff Director was ignored, enlisted women were assigned to poor jobs and less than full utilization resulted." 19

The pattern of WAC history in World War II showed that, in those commands that did not employ a staff director, problems arose-not merely occasionally, but invariably-to a greater degree than in commands that made use of such an adviser. Inferior results were also noted in commands that did not ordinarily give the staff adviser's recommendations the weight normally given to an Army special staff member.20  Colonel Boyce gave her opinion that the time had not yet arrived when commands might safely dispense with a female adviser, even though her duties would gradually decrease, and that "in the utilization of women certain safeguards are essential for the protection of their health and well-being." 21

The parallel example of industry offered strong support for the theory that the use of women staff advisers was not an interference with command but an assistance to it, and merely common sense in personnel management.

War Manpower Commission officials stated, during the war, "Employers can save themselves all sorts of trouble if they


will hire the best woman supervisors they can find, and give them enough authority in the plant to make their orders stick." Industry discovered that it lost women workers when it did not have women supervisors. Women supervisors proved able to prevent resignations and absenteeism by giving understanding attention to problems of home conditions, shopping hours, recreation, morale, and illness, and by securing clean washrooms, cafeterias, and labor-saving devices that maintained women's efficiency. Officials concluded that "a female personnel director for women, with common sense and efficiency, is the important catalyst." 22

The Office of the Director

Many of the same conclusions appeared to be generally held concerning the need for a WAC director on the General Staff level. While the duties of that office would evidently decrease as women's needs were catalogued and provided for by Army Regulations, and as specialist groups in other offices were re-established and became capable of taking over operating details, there appeared to exist a continuing need for a nerve center to detect problems and disseminate latest advancements.

The precedent of the British and Canadian women's services likewise indicated a continuing need, not merely for a woman adviser located somewhere in the headquarters, but for an Office of the Director. In the Canadian Women's Army Corps, the experiment had actually been made of abolishing the office and assigning the director as an assistant adjutant general, a position equivalent to that of Assistant G-1 in the American General Staff, but after some months it was found necessary to re-establish an Office of the Director.23  A similar conclusion was reached by the American WAVES.24

The Unification Issue

The trend of all postwar studies was toward recognition that unification of the women's services was desirable, with one female adviser in senior rank at the highest level. Proposals for unification of the armed forces therefore met with strong support from women advisers. The European theater's final board report suggested that, at any headquarters level, there be one top adviser for Wacs, nurses, and civilian female employees, so that similar rules and equal consideration might be given all groups as to medical care, recreation, housing, and other matters of well-being.

The Robinson report to the War Department in 1946 recommended that a special adviser for women's affairs be appointed to advise the General Staff on matters pertaining to all female military personnel. Unification appeared even more desirable for women's services than for men's, in view of the smaller size and generally closer-knit nature of the groups, which made them especially sensitive to jealousies and lowered morale in cases in which better uniforms or housing, or more lenient discipline, discharge, or other rules, were seen in one group only.25

While medical and nursing groups had always remained aloof to any such unifica-


tion, the four enlisted women's services of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard had in fact for most of the war acted in a unified manner insofar as their directors were able to achieve it. A telephone conversation between Colonel Hobby and Capt. Mildred McAfee of the WAVES gave some indication that they were at times in advance of their parent services in this respect:

Capt. McAfee: This is certainly something that had better be joint.
Col. Hobby:
It would be terrible if it were any other way . . . . I wonder if it might not be well if we got together informally and agreed to something before we brought the men in?
Capt. McAfee:
I think that's a smart thought.26

Nevertheless, the chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel admitted that the joint Policy Committee of the Women's Reserves, a subcommittee of the Joint Army-Navy Personnel Board, did not work as well as the women desired because of the "stubborn autonomy" of the parent services.27

Unhappily for women's efforts in this respect, the trend of the parent services was towards greater compartmentalization rather than unification. With the "unification" of the Air Forces, the Air Wacs became the WAF, with their own distinctive uniform, and headed by a director in the rank of colonel. The trend was increased by the determination of the Medical Department to achieve autonomy in its women's corps. In addition to the Army Nurse Corps, the Medical Department secured legislation for the separate Women's Medical Specialist Corps, composed of female officers commissioned as dietitians, physiotherapists, and other medical specialists. This corps, although small, had equal status with the Army Nurse Corps and WAC, and was also headed by a colonel.

There seemed to be no very good reason, if this trend continued, why separate women's corps would not be formed by all the arms and services-a Women's Transportation Corps, Women's Quartermaster Corps, or Women's Signal Corps-each with its own director and its own regulations and policies. In fact, upon the analogy of the Medical Department, there seemed no reason why a service such as the Quartermaster Corps should not have two or more independent women's corps, such as the Women's Food Management Corps and the Women's Supply Corps. However, the recommendations of all women advisers were against such development of special corps for women and in favor of full integration into existing Army groups.

The Question of Conscripting Women

Although some Army leaders, like General Eisenhower, expressed the view that total mobilization would be required in future emergencies, none became more specific on the implied necessity for drafting womanpower. Testimony before Congress made quite clear that the Army did not consider the establishment of a peacetime women's corps to have any necessary connection with drafting women, which would be a matter for future and separate consideration by Congress in time of mobilization.

The precedent of British and other services indicated that, when and if such a proposal reached a legislative body, it


would not come from the armed forces, which might encounter more bitter opposition, but rather as a part of a wider program of national mobilization, civilian as well as military. The first step would apparently be a mere registration of women, as a guide to planners concerning available skills, age groups, mobility, and other factors in the allotment of womanpower. Such a proposal had been recognized by World War II planners as the least controversial of several alternatives, and later had been tentatively endorsed by President Harry S. Truman. At a news conference in 1950, Mr. Truman told reporters that, in the event of an emergency, it was his belief that the government should require national registration of women for defense and industry.28

Should the emergency continue, British precedent indicated that the next step would not be the extension of military selective service to women, but rather their forcible direction into industry, farm work, and other vital civilian occupations. Since women who volunteered for military service were of course exempt from such a labor draft, the armed forces would possibly be assured a supply of female recruits as considerable as that which the British had received under like circumstances. This phase of mobilization offered a possible advantage to the armed services in that they would be able to pick and choose, taking only women of intelligence and needed skill. On the other hand, the Army prospects had to be considered in the light of the fact that, under such a voluntary system, British women had flocked in needed numbers to the WRNS and WRAF but not to the ATS, which required more personnel and had a reputation for menial work.

The final stage of such a mobilization, as reached by the British in World War II, was the actual drafting of women into the armed forces. The Army's earlier draft plans, made on two occasions in World War II, indicated that exemptions for women would be more lenient than those for men, with the less mobile women, and those with children and home responsibilities, going instead into local industry. These plans had indicated no intent by the Army to take any women whatever from essential industry, agriculture; government, or their husbands and children. As long as fewer women than men continued to be required by the armed forces, it would obviously be to their advantage, as well as to the nation's, to use only highly selected, mobile women without dependents. It was of course uncertain whether the Army would be able to convince the highest manpower agencies that it should not be obliged to take women in the lowest ACCT grades, since they could not replace men one-for-one on unskilled heavy work or be sent into front-line combat units.

In some respects, the advantages of a draft over the voluntary enlistment system would be considerable. Without a draft, the armed forces could not expect, by wartime precedent, to plan on a women's corps of any great size. Greater expansion plans founded on voluntary recruiting had not only failed in World War II, but had involved the Corps in expensive miscalculations in clothing, housing, officer strength, and other allotments. The competitive expense of recruiting had also become so high that it appeared unthinkable for the armed forces and industry to enter another such contest against each other, with each spending tremendous sums on recruiting and advertising, and at times


attracting women who more properly should have used their skills in some other agency. It was also obvious that, without selective service, the Army would have difficulty in establishing firm and predictable schedules for the inflow of womanpower into basic and specialist training, and its allotment among various commands and overseas theaters.

Another likely advantage of such a selective service system would be the avoidance of recruiting commitments as to job or station, with resulting better morale among malassigned women. Classification surveyors noted that "the main problem in adjustment of women to the Army arose through conflict between the inductee's conception of the treatment to be accorded her and the actual Army situation." 29  From the viewpoint of mental health, General Menninger commented:

The whole problem of motivation for enlistment into the WAC raises the question of the disadvantages of voluntary enlistment for women . . . not alone for military duty but for assignment to civilian work. The British had fewer problems when they ceased to have a volunteer organization . . . 30

On the other hand, a drafted corps of considerably larger size would also encounter problems unknown to the wartime WAC, and might be in danger of disappointing using agencies who expected it to meet the World War II level of performance. British precedent indicated that, to the exact extent that the Army was obliged by civilian manpower agencies to be unselective about its womanpower, it would meet increased problems of efficiency, health, discipline, illness and attrition rates, and morale.

For this reason, wartime WAC experts such as General White expressed a hope that it would never be necessary to draft women, believing that the second or civilian-draft phase would be more advantageous in permitting selectivity. As an alarming precedent it was noted that, for men under Selective Service, Congress repeatedly forced cutting physical and mental standards below the limits proposed by the Army. 31

In the opinion of some authorities, the second phase would also provide adequate numbers of women. The former Deputy Director, Colonel Rice, in a last interview before her death, informally expressed the idea that paper plans in World War II for use of a million or more women had been unrealistic, and that the wartime WAC had actually come close to the limits of efficient replacement. Instead, she believed that the next war's dangers would fall on the home front, and that the majority of women could most profitably be used in civil defense activities.32

In addition, wartime WAC leaders pointed out that under a system of selective service for women, there would be increased opportunity for neglect of or damage to the needs of a minor group, which were easily overlooked in any case. Most improvements in the Corps in World War II, such as that in the uniform, in medical specialization, in measures to change public and soldier opinion, and in correction of unmilitary assignments, had been undertaken solely because, without them, it became increasingly difficult to get recruits. Without the pressure of public opinion and of womanpower shortages, it appeared unlikely that the skilled specialists of World War II would ever have been


assigned to The Quartermaster General's Office, The Surgeon General, the Bureau of Public Relations, and dozens of other staff sections. It was doubtful whether, without such specialists and without any need to attract recruits, every command would provide as good care and attention to the peculiar needs of the minority as had been enforced in wartime.

Report of the Hoover Commission

This last possibility led directly to the most considered statement ever made by wartime WAC leaders as to the final issue at stake, and the possible dangers to be avoided, in the employment of womanpower by the armed forces. In mid-1948, former Director Hobby and other wartime women's leaders were called to testify before the Commission on the Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, better known as the Hoover Commission. Since peacetime heads of the various women's corps were not so summoned, the committee report was not in every respect agreeable to them. It represented, however, Mrs. Hobby's only formal testimony of any sort upon the lessons of the wartime experiment.33

Minor and preliminary comments of the report were not startling, being generally in line with accepted opinion. It was noted that in spite of advancements "the place of women in the armed services is not completely secure," and that since women's morale depended so largely upon public and soldier opinion, a special information program designed to improve this should continue to be provided. As for women's jobs, caution was given against "the tendency to use women in the services as additional personnel in jobs that could have been filled by civilian employees." The opinion was expressed that women should never be assigned in units of less than 50, and preferably not smaller than 200 or 300-an increase over the previous wartime size, and one that seemed useful to insure economy in the necessary provisions for a minority.

However, the report's most important conclusion concerned the Corps' greatest single dilemma-the need for modification of some Army rules and procedures for fullest protection to women's well-being. In business and industry, standards of production and well-being had often been set up with consideration of the needs of both sexes, but all armed forces rules and operations had naturally for centuries been worked out for men only, and there was a tendency to look on any modifications as favoritism or special privilege. Modifications also might damage the morale of enlisted men, and could thus be approached, if at all, only with the greatest caution. On the other hand, the only other alternative was for the women to make the entire adjustment to men's standards of rougher dress, decreased modesty or need for privacy and cleanliness, more strenuous sports and recreational interests, a single standard of morality, and different opinions concerning drinking, sex, and conduct in general. While there was no doubt that in time women could and would successfully make this adjustment, the responsibility for such masculinization of the American woman was one for which wartime leaders did not care to assume responsibility. General Menninger noted that, from the psychiatric standpoint,


greater instead of less difference was desirable:

In the event of another emergency, more consideration should be given to the problems of the women in the Army-their protection from ruthless male officers in their environment, their personal needs . . . . Such steps would greatly improve their . . . mental health.34

It was evident, however, that less, instead of more, attention to these matters would be likely in future emergencies, particularly under selective service for women. It was also noted that peacetime policies were set increasingly in the direction of elimination of wartime safeguards, although every such loss meant some change in the traditional social, cultural, and moral standards of women in national life.35  With the peacetime abolition of most specialist groups in The Surgeon General's Office and elsewhere, it appeared doubtful whether the well-being of women in the Army could be given care equal to that normally given men.

The commission's report therefore concluded:

The whole subject of the use of women for war must be studied against the background of the American philosophy. The proper utilization of women in the Armed Services and elsewhere for war purposes can undoubtedly aid military efficiency and the national effort. This factor of increased efficiency must be weighed against a break with the philosophy of the past and the possible dangers of too great a growth of militarism. Many of the steps proposed to this committee-among them, the compulsory utilization of women-undoubtedly would increase military efficiency, but at the same time all of them collectively and some of them individually would greatly increase military influence in the United States and, over a period of time, might tend to set the national thinking in a military mold . . . .

The utilization of women for war, if improperly developed, has certain dangerous implications to our way of life. This subject deserves the most careful and cautious study.

The Final View

In retrospect, many of the difficulties that had appeared incomprehensible to the WAC's leaders and its members were at last explained by the realization that the Women's Army Corps had passed through the natural evolution of any new cultural phenomenon: the mistakes and experiments, the blind opposition of opponents of change, the enthusiasm of a pioneering minority, the slander by the less venturesome majority, the gradual adjustments, the eventual success partially nullified by the exhaustion and departure of leaders and the bewilderment of followers--all might equally well have applied to the history of the flying machine, the forty-niners, or the American Revolution. The chairman of the WAC's National Civilian Advisory Committee, Mrs. Oswald Lord, wrote later:

These women were pioneers. Many of us wondered if the American sense of adventure and steadfastness had died with their grandmothers . . . . I know now that the American woman of today can "take it" as her grandmother did. With her sense of humor unimpaired, she has pioneered in a new field and has done her job well.36

All agreed on one thing. The Women's Army Corps, Army of the United States, World War II, had been a new thing un-


der the sun. Its three crowded wartime years had passed too quickly for evaluation, and too roughly for appreciation, but once over, its thousands of members and its Army sponsors realized that they had been part of a phenomenon that they would not have missed. In a world where

new frontiers had been hard to find, they had found one; in an age where pioneers and their problems were a memory, they had been pioneers. They might, like the forty-niners, shrink from thought of repeating such a passage, but it would be the prized memory of any lifetime.

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