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My Desire for HistoryEssays in Gay, Community, and Labor History$
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Allan Berube, John D'Emilio, and Estelle B. Freedman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834794

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877982_berube

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The Military and Lesbians during the McCarthy Years

The Military and Lesbians during the McCarthy Years

(p.125) Chapter 8 The Military and Lesbians during the McCarthy Years
My Desire for History

Allan Bérubé

University of North Carolina Press

This essay extends the history of lesbians in the military from the war years of the 1940s into the McCarthy era of the 1950s. Combining an interpretive introduction with documents, it provides a look at military policy as well as at the impact on and response of women in the service. Whereas the war years seemed to open up opportunities for self-discovery, community, and freedom of expression, the anticommunist crusades of the Cold War created a climate that favored crackdowns on any departures from the normative, whether involving political views or sexual and gender expression. Composed during the first Reagan administration and the early years of aids, the essay seems to carry the warning that progress can be reversed, that good times can turn to bad.

Keywords:   history of lesbians, military, war years, McCarthy era, Cold War, Reagan administration

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