Russian Women Soldiers During World War I

Essay by PhilipFeCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2002

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In almost every age and era and virtually every area of the world women have engaged in combat, partly with the knowledge and consent of the military authorities and partly unknown to the latter, in which case, disguised, they made their way into the army. Statistics concerning the number of female soldiers in the various armies during the World War were not published; we have to rely upon speculation it is true that there were women soldiers fighting for Russia during World War One. The creation of several women's units to fight on the front lines to try to prevent defeat after the first Russian revolution is a prime example. Led by women such as Maria Bochkareva who is also know as Yashka, these Death or Shock battalions as they would become known as were created with the "idea of shaming the Russian men into fighting better." They took part in the last major Russian offensive before Russia pulled out of the war.

Russian women have always been involved in the Russian military and in many cases they have had extremely important roles.

The creation of several women's battalions after the first Russian revolution aroused the greatest enthusiasm. After being persuaded by Maria Bochkareva, Alexander Kerensky the country's new provisional leader allowed for the creation of these units. This first battalion was comprised of 250 women, some of who had already participated in battles, some of who had belonged to the sanitary corps as nurses, and there were also some eighteen-year-old students.

Maria Bochkareva had a huge involvement in the creation of the Women's Death Battalion. Born in 1889, she was the daughter of a former serf and began working at the age of 8. She was seduced at age fifteen, beaten by drunken lover, betrayed by another, sold into...