This is Her Story, This is Her Song: Cultural Contrasts In Hollywood's Woman of World War II

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Arthur J. Kaul

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


This research examines representations of American women in World War II films made during the war, and in the immediate post-war years through America's involvement in the Korean War (1941-1953), and contrasts those onscreen depictions with modern reinterpretations from the 1980s and 1990s. This research argues for an awareness of the various subgenres of the women's wartime film within the overall genre of the wartime film. Subgenres are classified as follows: (1) Women-in-Combat; (2) Women-at-Home; (3) Women-as-Spies; (4) Women-as-distraction; and (5) Women Incarcerated. The purpose of this research is to examine initial social, cultural, and gender messages embedded within the films, and contrast such information with modern interpretations of the past. The film reinterpretations serve as companions to the ongoing re-interpretations in American historical scholarship, in that the narrative continues to reflect the social and cultural climate in which it is introduced. This research is designed to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between American history and the mass media (particularly film), and the need for placing film products within the social and cultural context of their origin.