War bride

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

War bride is a term used in reference to foreign women who married military personnel in times of war or during their military occupations of foreign countries, especially–but not exclusively–during World War I and World War II. One unusual variant was the telegram war bride; and the first United States couple to do so on 17 March 1942 was the marriage of Ida West and Army Air Corps Capt. Francis Newton Culler, both of South Carolina.

One of the largest and best documented war bride phenomena is American servicemen marrying German "Fräuleins" after World War II. By 1949, over 20,000 German war brides had emigrated to the United States.[1] Furthermore, it is estimated that there are "... 15,000 Australian women who married American servicemen based in Australia during World War II and moved to the US to be with their husbands".[2] Allied servicemen also married many women in other countries where they were stationed at the end of the war, including France, Italy,[3] Luxembourg, the Philippines and Japan. This also occurred in Korea and Vietnam with the later wars in those countries involving U.S. troops and other anti-communist soldiers. As many as 100,000 GI war brides left the United Kingdom, 150,000 to 200,000 hailed from continental Europe, 15,500 from Australia and 1,500 from New Zealand, between the years 1942 and 1952.[4]

In 2008 the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, B.C., Canada, had as its major exhibit paintings by Calgary artist Bev Tosh.[5] The exhibit chronicled the warbride experience in Canada and New Zealand via a painting medium.

The many Scots who emigrated as war brides were celebrated in Bud Neill's Lobey Dosser series by the G.I. Bride character (with her baby Ned), forever trying to thumb a lift from the fictional Calton Creek in Arizona back to Partick. The statue was erected in Partick station in 2011.[6]

Philippine-American War[edit]

Due to the Philippine Insurrection, a few U.S. servicemen would take Filipinas as their wives, with documentation as early as 1902 of one immigrating with their servicemember husband to the UK. These Filipinas were already U.S. nationals, when immigrating to the United States, making their legal status significantly different from previous Asian immigrants to the US.[7]

War brides in World War II[edit]

United States[edit]

During and immediately after World War II, more than 60,000 U.S. servicemen married women overseas and they were promised that their wives and children would receive free passage to the U.S. The U.S. Army's "Operation War Bride", which eventually transported more than 70,000 women and children, began in Britain in early 1946. The first batch of war brides (455 British women and their 132 children) arrived in the U.S. on 4 February 1946. Over the years, an estimated 300,000 foreign war brides moved to the United States following the passage of the War Brides Act of 1945 and its subsequent amendments, of which 51,747 were Filipinos[8] and an estimated 50,000 were Japanese.[9]


English war brides who arrived in Brisbane in October 1945

About 650 Japanese war brides migrated to Australia after the ban on Japanese migration, imposed at the outbreak of the Pacific War, was lifted in 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into force. They had married Australian soldiers involved in the occupation of Japan.[10]

Robyn Arrowsmith, a historian who spent nine years researching Australia's war brides, said between 12,000 and 15,000 Australian women had married visiting American servicemen.[11]


47,783 British war brides arrived in Canada accompanied by some 21,950 children. Since 1939, most Canadian soldiers were stationed in Britain. As such, about 94% of all war brides arriving in Canada were British. 3,000 war brides came from the Netherlands, Belgium, Newfoundland and France.[12] The first marriage between a Canadian serviceman and a British bride was registered at Farnborough Church in the Aldershot area in December 1939, just 43 days after the first Canadian soldiers arrived.[12] Many of these war brides emigrated to Canada, beginning in 1944 and peaking in 1946. A special Canadian agency, the Canadian Wives' Bureau was set up the Canadian Department of Defence to arrange transport and assist war brides in the transition to Canadian life. The majority of Canadian war brides landed at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, most commonly on the following troop and hospital ships: Queen Mary, Lady Nelson, Letitia, Mauretania, and Île de France.[13]

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 has exhibits and collections dedicated to war brides.[14] There is a National Historic Site marker located at Pier 21, as well.[15]


During the campaign of 1943-1945, there were more than 10,000 marriages between Italian girls and American soldiers.[3][16]

From relationship between Italian women and African-American soldiers, have born the "mulattini": many of these children were abandoned in orphanages,[3] because at the time the interracial marriage in the United States was not possible in many states.[17][18]


Several thousand Japanese who were sent as colonizers to Manchukuo and Inner Mongolia were left behind in China. The majority of Japanese left behind in China were women, and these Japanese women mostly married Chinese men and became known as "stranded war wives" (zanryu fujin).[19][20] Because they had children fathered by Chinese men, the Japanese women were not allowed to bring their Chinese families back with them to Japan so most of them stayed. Japanese law only allowed children fathered by Japanese fathers to become Japanese citizens. However, recently[clarification needed] Japan lifted the restrictions on the women and citizenship for children born to foreign men and they have been migrating back to Japan with their Chinese husbands and children.

Korean War[edit]

6,423 Korean women married U.S. military personnel as war brides during and immediately after the Korean War.[21]

Vietnam War[edit]

8,040 Vietnamese women came to the United States as war brides between 1964 and 1975.[22]

2003 Iraq War[edit]

War brides from wars subsequent to Vietnam became less common due to differences in religion and culture, shorter durations of wars, and direct orders. As of 2006, about 1,500 visa requests had been made by U.S. military personnel for Iraqi spouses and fiancées.[23] There have been several well-publicized cases of American soldiers marrying Iraqi women.[24][25]


  1. ^ "The Atlantic Times :: Archive". Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Mitchell, Peter (2007-04-26). "Aussie brides reunite". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  3. ^ a b c Francesco Conversano; Nené Grignaffini. "Italiani: spose di guerra. Storie d`amore e di emigrazione della seconda guerra mondiale". RAI Storia (in Italian). 
  4. ^ http://www.americainwwii.com/stories/warbrides.htm
  5. ^ "Royal BC Museum". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  6. ^ "Home at last! - Corporate Information - Strathclyde Partnership for Transport". SPT. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  7. ^ Uma Anand Segal (2002). A Framework for Immigration: Asians in the United States. Columbia University Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-231-12082-1. 
  8. ^ Michael Lim Ubac (July 2012). "Whatever happened to Filipino war brides in the US". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  9. ^ Lucy Alexander (October 5, 2014). "Daughters tell stories of 'war brides' despised back home and in the U.S". The Japan Times. 
  10. ^ James Jupp, The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people and their origins, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 523.
  11. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/here-come-the-war-brides-a-love-story-65-years-on-20100417-slgs.html
  12. ^ a b "About the Canadian War Brides of WWII". 
  13. ^ Raska, Jan. "Major Waves of Immigration through Pier 21: War Brides and Their Children". Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Retrieved 2016-07-03. 
  14. ^ "War Brides | Pier 21". www.pier21.ca. Retrieved 2016-04-02. 
  15. ^ "Pier 21 Museum". Pier 21. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  16. ^ Silvia Cassamagnaghi. Operazione Spose di guerra: Storie d'amore e di emigrazione (in Italian). Milan: Feltrinelli. p. 319. ISBN 9788858817216. 
  17. ^ "1943-1946: spose di guerra, storie d'amore e migrazione". libereta.it. 2014-06-10. 
  18. ^ Giorgio Boatti. "Italia 1945, that's amore. Le spose di guerra oltreoceano". 
  19. ^ Left Behind: Japan's Wartime Defeat and the Stranded Women of Manchukuo
  20. ^ Mackerras 2003, p. 59.
  21. ^ Eui-Young Yu and Earl H. Phillips, Korean women in transition: at home and abroad, Center for Korean-American and Korean Studies, California State University, Los Angeles, 1987, p185.
  22. ^ Linda Trinh Võ and Marian Sciachitano, Asian American women: the Frontiers reader, University of Nebraska Press, 2004, p144.
  23. ^ "In love AND WAR". Colorado Gazette. 2006-08-13. 
  24. ^ "Two US soldiers defy order, marry Iraqi women". Indian Express. 2003-08-28. 
  25. ^ "Few Battlefield Romances From Iraq". Newsweek. 2007-10-13. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011. 


  • Lonnie D. Story. The Meeting of Anni Adams: The Butterfly of Luxembourg. ISBN 1932124268. 
  • Carol Fallows. Love & War: stories of war brides from the Great War to Vietnam. ISBN 1863252673. 
  • Keiko Tamura. "Michi's memories: the story of a Japanese war bride". ISBN 1740760018. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]