Conflicting attitudes to the war in Europe in women’s diaries from the Great War

This paper discusses the change in women’s mentality towards the concept of war and their own role in it according to autobiographical sources such as was journals, diaries, letters or autobiographical novels authored by women who were present at the front during the Great War. The primary sources quoted in this analysis include letters and diaries from nurses who worked in Dr. Elsie Inglis’s Scottish Women’s Hospitals unit as well as the “testament” of Vera Mary Brittain, famous English Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse and writer and women’s rights activist. Among the secondary sources employed in the analysis are the seminal works of Christine E. Hallett, Maxine Alterio, Santanu Das, Eric J. Leed and Claire M. Tylee. Before arriving at a conclusion, the paper highlights important changes in women’s discourse towards the war as well as the way in which such changes were supported by the novel situation in which women found themselves, namely as active participants at the front, and their aspirations towards equal rights and equal treatment.

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