Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Michaele Ferguson

Second Advisor

Shuang Zhang

Third Advisor

Lorraine Bayard de Volo


The post-World War II era ushered in the beginning of Cold War politics. In this shifting political landscape, the United States government had to face accusations that some State Department employees were disloyal, as well as confront a shortage of troops to fight in potential conflicts arising from the Cold War. In this paper, I classify the former as a bureaucratic conflict and the latter as a military crisis. There has been considerable research conducted on how gender is used as a tool by politicians, but in this paper, I examine the differences in how gender operates in a bureaucratic crisis versus a military crisis. To investigate this, I categorize the rhetoric in two case studies based on which gender stereotypes they use. The first case study is the 1950 State Department Employee Loyalty Investigation hearings and attached investigation memoranda (henceforth known as the SDLI hearings and memoranda), where politicians and investigators discuss whether specific individuals may be communist. The second case study is the 1948 Women’s Armed Services Integration Act hearings (henceforth known as the WAS hearings), where politicians, military leaders, and interest groups argue for the inclusion, exclusion, or limitation of women in permanent military corps. I then compare the ways each case study uses gender in their argument and find that gender is always a lens through which individuals make their case and that the way gender is used is inconsistent within and between crises. By understanding the ways in which gender operated inconsistently between different crises seventy years ago, we can recognize those same patterns in the political world today.