Posted by: secondeguerremondialeclairegrube | May 2, 2011

Love, Sex and War: 1939-1945

Love, Sex and War : 1939-1945

Good evening !

We are now learning about the attitude of English women towards American troops while English soldiers were away at war in the rest of the world. We want to know what they were doing to keep up their husband’s moral and to stimulate the spirit of their compatriots.

H-Net Reviews / Humanties and social sciences / Barbara G. Friedman / Internet.uk:

“ As the British government encouraged (and even required) women to work outside the home, drafted some 80,000 women into the Land Army, and even required them to show British hospitality by welcoming GIs into their homes, thousands of British women found themselves holding jobs, earning money, and feeling emboldened by their newfound freedom. Their lives were, in short, transformed by war. But at the same time, they also faced a wartime double standard concerning the expectations of women’s behavior. Encouraged to work and expected to act independently, they were also condemned for acting upon their freedom by, for example, having relationships with American GIs. So, while Friedman perceives that the conditions of war created the ideal condition for romances to flourish, she finds that there were “considerable contradictions in official attitudes toward women’s sexuality in wartime, and between military discouragement of Anglo-American relationships and wartime policies that may have fostered them. ”

The phrase finder / Oversexed, overpaid and over here / Internet.uk:

“ Conditions were harsh in Britain in the early 1940s and there was also an undercurrent of unease that was conveyed by the phrase, especially amongst British men, who resented the attraction of GIs, with their ready supply of nylons and cigarettes, amongst British women. ”

“ The artist Beryl Cook, who was a young woman at the time confirmed this in an interview to the BBC in the late 1970s. I can’t find the transcript of the interview, but from memory it was words to the effect of : “ Food was scarce, but we supplemented our income by a little impromptu whoring with the GIs – we all did it ”. Many of these liaisons were love matches rather than merely commercial transactions though, as the thousands of marriages between US servicemen and British women (the GI brides) is evidence of. ”

Timesonline.co.uk / GIs in West End were led astray by young sluts and vicious debauchery / November 1, 2005 / Lewis Smith / Internet.uk:

“ The moral laxity of women during the Second World War was perceived to be so degenerate that it strained relations between Britain and America. ”

“ Ministers and their officials were so worried about the impact of promiscuity on public opinion in the United States that a series of high-level Whitehall meetings was held to devise ways of cracking down on immorality. ”

“ The rift between Britain and its US ally came as thousands of American troops began to be stationed in or near London in 1942, documents released today at the National Archive in Kew, southwest London, reveal. ”

“ While the popular impression of the influx of GIs was of an alluring group of men who were “ overpaid, over-sexed and over here ”, it transpires that they were not the sexual predators worrying Whitehall. Rather, the US troops proved to be irresistible to many British women, often living alone because of the war, and who in bleak wartime Britain were only too glad to grab the chance of some fun. ”

Time / Overpaid, Oversexed, Over Here / George J. Church / Arthur White / Monday, May. 28, 1984 / Internet.uk:

“ The Yanks came with chocolate and left with British brides. ”

“ Hi ya, cutie ” was the universal greeting called out to females from 15 to 50. ” They took all the girls,” mutters one British war veteran who on the whole liked the Americans. And indeed the walls outside American barracks were lined every night with panting couples twined in a last embrace before bed check. William D. Kendall, who represented the town of Grantham, complained in Parliament that it is unfit for a woman to walk unescorted there because of the unconcealed immorality of the G.I.s. Others of course had a different opinion ; some 60,000 British women eventually became American war brides. ”

Vie et mœurs des G.I’S en Europe / Mark Hillel / Balland / 1981:

« Pour les femmes et les jeunes filles anglaises autant que pour les GI’s qui venaient de quitter leur propre environnement puritain, la guerre offrait une nouvelle approche du sexe. Se trouvant à l’étranger, libéré du carcan familial et moralisateur, le GI crut pouvoir se conduire sans la moindre retenue, oublier ses complexes et ses inhibitions. »

« Se donnant à un étranger, l’Anglaise se permit d’affronter la rumeur publique en gardant à l’esprit qu’à situation anormale correspondait conduite anormale. Le sentiment d’excitation et de laisser-aller inévitablement engendré par une guerre fit le reste. D’un coup toutes les contraintes tombaient. Ce n’était plus une règle ancestrale qui se transformait mais un nouvel ensemble de règles qui s’instaurait, en abolissant la routine quotidienne et les vieux préjugés même les plus tenaces. »

« Les raisons qui poussèrent tant de femmes européennes et, en premier lieu, les Anglaises, à tomber dans les bras des GI’s américains, ne varieront guère durant les cinq années que durera la croisade ».

« Il était difficile, avouera une autre dame, de résister à de telles attentions. Nous, les femmes, nous ne pensions pas que cela pouvait exister. Bien sûr, la morale en prenait un sérieux coup mais cela en valait le coup et je ne pense pas que beaucoup de filles qui ont vécu cette époque aient pu le regretter. »

« Dans cette atmosphère d’obsession du sexe qui allait, les mois passant, prendre de gigantesques proportions, les femmes mariées dont les conjoints se battaient à l’extérieur, loin du pays, furent les premières victimes de la vindicte populaire à laquelle nous avons déjà fait allusion. Ces femmes furent rejetées au même titre que celles qui accordaient leurs faveurs aux prisonniers de guerre ou aux noirs américains. »

« Cinq millions de Britanniques avaient, depuis 1939, été appelés ou rappelés. Une partie d’entre eux servaient à l’étranger; d’autres, affectés dans les camps d’entraînement, avaient dû quitter leur foyer. Près de trois millions de soldats étrangers, américains pour une grande part, occupaient leur île, prenaient leurs femmes ou leurs filles. »

« Elles seront, effectivement, près de 100.000, celles qui quitteront leur pays, la plupart accompagnées d’un ou deux enfants, pour suivre jusqu’aux Amériques leurs maris américains. »

« Entre 1940 et 1945, sur un total de 225.000 naissances, on compta 102.000 enfants illégitimes. A Birmingham par exemple, où le nombre des « bastards » avait triplé, on s’aperçut que la moitié des mères avaient leur mari aux armées et hors du pays. Pourtant il existait déjà des cliniques pour la limitation des naissances. »

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Please, tell me, this is not trou ?

P1060312 (2)

Claire GRUBE

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