Virtue under Fire: How World War II Changed Our Social and Sexual Attitudes

TitleVirtue under Fire: How World War II Changed Our Social and Sexual Attitudes
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1985
AuthorsCostello, John
Number of Pages325
PublisherLittle, Brown

This survey of life during World War II examines how women's participation in the armed forces during the war set the stage for shifts in social and sexual attitudes. Abetted by the entertainment industry, sex and romance flourished perhaps as never before during World War II as men and women, separated from their loved ones, found new companions with whom to assuage loneliness and find distraction or commitment before facing possible death. A major portion of this social history is devoted to the mobilization and critical contributions of women at the homefront and in the military effort, both in Britain and the U.S. Sexual restraint seemed suspended for the duration and hasty marriages were common, asserts the author, evoking Freud to the effect that the urge to kill and the urge to procreate are subconsciously related. The family, notes the author, was war's greatest casualty, with increases in divorce, illegitimate births and rates of venereal disease. He concludes that the wartime emancipation of women planted the seeds of a social revolution that is still in progress.

Entry by GWC Assistants / Work by GWC Assistants : 

Type of Literature:

Time Period:

Library Location: 
Call Number: