In the Munitions Factories

Picture of women in munitions factory
The First World War saw large numbers of women recruited all over Europe to help the war effort on the home front. In Germany this sat uneasily with policies intended to support the family, but demand for munitions grew rapidly.

This postcard of factory workers in 1917, was contributed to the Europeana 1914-1918 collection by Gustav Käfer at the public participation day in Stuttgart in 2011. It shows his mother Alwine Auch, aged just 17 (back row, third from the right). The "Fortuna" factory where she worked was in Pragstraße in Bad Cannstatt, close to where the public participation day was held at the Wurttemberg State Library.

The original caption says that the munitions are made with 'heart and hand for the Fatherland'. Close examination of the picture suggests that the items being manufactured are bombs (Minen) for the 7.6 cm light mortar (Lichteminenwerfer), a weapon used by most infantry battalions in the latter part of the war.
(Text by Dr. Stephen Bull)

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