Few popular pieces from WWI depict women with any agency in their own lives. Often even women who choose to serve the war effort as nurses are described as “angels sent from heaven,” not brave individuals who choose their own path. This piece, however, gives women a bit more agency, describing the Red Cross nurses as “brave;” “amid the shot and shell;” and risking “her life for you upon the field.”
This piece ties masculinity to militarism and patriotism, as well as to the domestic life. Its lyrics appeal directly to a sense of national pride, yet the cover evokes a sense of protecting one’s family as well as one’s nation by going off to war.
This WWI classic shows masculinity tied to a sense of glory to be won “over there” in the war. It calls for every “Johnny” to earn the pride of his father, mother, and sweetheart by standing in line.
So many popular pieces spoke to the anxieties of women left behind by their men. These include the death or disappearance of their beloved soldier, as well as their infidelity so far away from home.