Women’s Battalion – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Women’s Battalions were segregated all-female combat units formed after the February Revolution by the Russian Provisional Government in a last-ditch effort to inspire the mass of war-weary soldiers to continue fighting in World War I until victory could be achieved. In the spring of 1917 a number of women began pressing the new Provisional Government to expand female participation in the war, and particularly to form combat units of women volunteers. These women, along with a number of high-ranking members of the Russian government and military administration, believed that female soldiers would have significant propaganda value and that their example would revitalize the weary, demoralized men of the Russian army. Simultaneously, they hoped the presence of women would serve to “shame” hesitant male soldiers into resuming their combat duties. Fifteen formations were created in 1917, including the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death, a separate unit called the 1st Petrograd Women’s Battalion formed a few weeks later in Petrograd, the 2nd Moscow Women’s Battalion of Death created in Moscow, and the 3rd Kuban Women’s Shock Battalion organized in Ekaterinodar. Four communications detachments were created in Moscow and Petrograd. Seven additional communications units were created in Kiev and Saratov, again employing privately organized women’s units already existing in those cities. An all-female naval unit was created in Oranienbaum, the 1st Women’s Naval Detachment, as part of the Naval Infantry Training Detachment.

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About Kate Lindsay

Kate Lindsay, University of Oxford is the Director of World War One Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings. She is also the Manager for Education Enhancement at Academic IT where she also led the First World War Poetry Digital Archive and public engagement initiative Great War Archive. She has eight years experience of in-depth work on World War I digital archives and educational curricula. Kate has a degree in English Literature from the University of Leeds, combined with an MSc in Information Systems from the University for Sheffield, and an MSc in Educational Research from the University of Oxford. She is particularly interested in womens' experience of War and the representation of the First World War in popular culture.
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