Pacific Brides: US Forces and Interracial Marriage during the Pacific War


  • Angela Wanhalla
  • Erica Buxton



Between 1942 and 1945, over two million servicemen occupied the southern Pacific theatre, the majority of them Americans in service with the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force. When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, they 'swept in a mighty deluge' doubling, sometimes tripling the populations of the Pacific Islands. Their short but intense period of occupation in the South Pacific had far reaching consequences. Not only did they dramatically alter the economies and environments of the islands, they also brought with them a set of ideas about race and intimacy encapsulated in legal codes, as well as social practices, which were applied to the organization of their own forces, and to the local populations. American racial ideology also informed military regulations governing overseas marriages involving US forces, most notably inhibiting African American men's marital opportunities in the European theatre.


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