"'Only the Best British Brides': Regulating the Relationship between American Servicemen and British Women in the early Cold War", Contemporary European History, 17, 4 (2008), 483-503

The relationship between US soldiers and west European women has been a relatively well studied aspect of European social history in the twentieth century, during two world wars and the early cold war. Here, a less known chapter of this general European experience is explored: the efforts of the British government in the 1950s to direct and regulate contact between some 45,000 US airmen based in Britain and British women. The negative public effects of the resulting relationships were deemed by the British government and the social elite as potentially disruptive to US and British commitment to the Atlantic alliance. This concern led to persistent official and voluntary activity designed to resolve, or at least ameliorate, various social and gender related problems; and it even included officially sponsored meetings between US servicemen and carefully chosen ‘decent’ British girls.

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