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As many as 100,000 war brides were British, 150,000 to 200,000 hailed from continental Europe, and another 16,000 came from Australia and New Zealand. Military estimates indicate that 50,000 to 100,000 servicemen wed women from countries of the Far East, including Japan, and immigration records show that by 1950, 14,175 German brides of American servicemen had entered the United States.It’s easy to imagine that young men experiencing lengthy deployments overseas would turn to available females for companionship.
Seventeen-year-old Londoner Ellen Bailey was working in a post office in the fall of 1943 when Lloyd Kern, a 20-year-old staff sergeant with the US Eighth Air Force, walked in one day.He was stationed outside London, and Ellen says she thought "he seemed like a nice guy." When he came back another day and asked her to have lunch with him, she was torn."I always went to lunch with one of the other girls," she says.But what made so many foreign women enter relationships with American soldiers when their families and communities often disapproved of such unions?Their decisions often came down to proximity, opportunity, and generosity, or some combination of the three.