Women of Five Wars

The five major wars in which American women served after World War II can be split into two pairs. Korea and Vietnam were conflicts fought in Asian countries divided by the politics of the Cold War. The Persian Gulf War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq were fought in the Middle East and grew out of tensions over aggression in that region and, in the latter instance, the terrorist attacks of 9/11. For women, the first two wars signaled few advances in their roles in military service, but in the three recent wars, the areas of women’s participation expanded immensely, with potentially more dire consequences.