Bessie Beatty in Russia (from The Red Heart of Russia).
Members of the Women's Battalion of Death
One American war correspondent, Bessie Beatty, stayed with the women in their barracks for a week while they awaited their orders to the front. She asked some why they had joined the Battalion of Death. Beatty discovered that many of them had joined because they felt that their country’s very existence was at stake and that “nothing but a great human sacrifice could save” it. Some were trying to escape personal issues: “My reasons are so many that I would rather not tell them,” one of them told Beatty. Others had lost their entire families in the war: “What else is left for me?” asked one Cossack girl. Two of the women had been Red Cross nurses and had seen too many Russians die at the hands of the Germans; they felt it would be tragic for Russia to be defeated after so much loss.
Excerpt from "Maria Bochkareva and the Women's Battalion of Death" from Women Heroes of World War I.