A Forgotten Legacy of the Second World War: GI children in post-war Britain and Germany

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Whether in war, occupation or peacekeeping, whenever foreign soldiers are in contact with the local population, and in particular with local women, some of these contacts are intimate. Between 1942 and 1945, US soldiers fathered more than 22,000 children in Britain, and during the first decade of post-war US presence in West Germany more than 37,000 children were fathered by American occupation soldiers. Many of these children were raised in their mothers families, not knowing about their biological roots and often suffering stigmatisation and discrimination. The question of how these children were treated is discussed in the context of wider social and political debates about national and individual identity. Furthermore, the effect on the children of living outside the normal boundaries of family and nation is discussed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-181
Number of pages25
JournalContemporary European History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011