In the introductory part I draw a brief outline of violence against women during the Great War: violence against the female body (rapes, mistreatment), violence against the maternal body (pronatalist campaigns) and strategic violence (death of women and children due to hunger, largely due to the blockade).

In the second part, I dwell on the issue that outraged feminists in post war years the most, namely denial of reproductive freedom and the social suppression of pain. Drawing on historiographic essays, journals edited by women, pamphlets and dramas, I try to offer a picture of women’s protest and mobilization.

About the author

Bruna Bianchi received her classical education at the Liceo Marco Polo in Venice and her degree in Political Science at the University of Padua. She carried out her teaching and research activity at the Department of Historical Studies, Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, University of Venice. She graduated in July 1973 with a thesis Storia del Movimento operaio dal titolo: Gestione della forza-lavoro agricola nella politica dei sindacati fascisti e nella legislazione contro l’urbanesimo (1931–1939). In the following years she deepened her work, focusing particularly on the Venetian countryside. Later she continued with working on topics such as work organizations, working conditions in the army industry in the interwar period, and she also researched textile sector during the fascist period, paying particular attention to the health and work conditions of the female workers and child labour. Since 1980 her research has focused mostly on the Great War, placing emphasis on youth questions (work issue, conflicts and crime), changes brought about by the war in social and political life in two provinces in Veneto (Rovigo and Venice), soldiers’ and officers’ military experiences, the military justice system, the psychiatric aspect of causes and nature of war neurosis, pacifist activity in Italy and Europe.