chapter  1
26 Pages

Body, Mind and Spirit

At the outbreak of war in 1914 the active citizen in the nation-state was still male in all European countries which granted female suffrage in national elections in 1906 and 1913, respectively. Yet women had been actively engaged in political life as de facto citizens and as patriots throughout the century. Women participated in these national movements as patriots, contributing to the cultural creation of national identity in their writing and music-making. So women who sought to engage with national politics on the same terms as men seemed to justify the portrayal of them as female incendiaries, militants and political radicals. They embraced their role, they found ways of carrying out their duty to the nation that were comparable with, but not the same as, men's activities, and they attempted to build on the work assigned to them to make gains in the fields of education, employment and civic and political rights.