Today’s post is written by fellow historical author, Linda Shenton Matchett. I’m especially excited to read her novel after reading the historical background. Thanks for sharing, Linda!
WWII changed the world, changed America, and changed every person who lived during that time. Cultural and social mores were turned upside down as men went into combat and women filled the void their absences left, taking on roles few had experienced until then.
Most of us have heard of Rosie the Riveter, the USO clubmobiles, and the Red Cross facilities, but were you aware that women were also war correspondents? Even after Nellie Bly’s illustrious history as an investigative journalist, most newspapers relegated their female staff to covering society events and columns aimed at the “fairer sex” such as cooking, sewing, and homemaking.
Then Germany invaded Poland and women demanded an opportunity to cover the war. In order to do that they had to receive accreditation. Once obtained, accreditation served as a contract. The Army or Navy would transport the individual into the war zone, provide shelter and food, and send their dispatches back to the U.S. In return, reporters would follow military law and censorship. The process to get certified was lengthy, and as Life photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White said, “By the time you are accredited, you have no secrets from the War Department and neither do your ancestors.”
Of the 1,600 journalists who received the status to wear the coveted armband with a “C,” only 127 were women. The military refused to take these ladies into combat, but a few still managed to experience it. Sometimes the front shifted. Sometimes female reporters managed to get permission to enter the war zone. Sometimes they defied the rules and went to the front by hook or by crook. Successful in the face of opposition, these women fought red tape, condescension, hostility, and vulgarity to research, write, and submit their stories, paving the way for future generations of female journalists.
-Linda Shenton Matchett
Bio: Linda Shenton Matchett is a journalist, blogger, and author. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and as a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.
Under Fire Blurb: Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive. During her investigation, Ruth becomes suspicious about Jane’s job. Eventually Ruth follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA—all of whom may want her dead. Available from www.electiopublishing.com or your local bookstore.