Between 1942 and 1945 more than two million servicemen occupied the southern Pacific theater, the majority of whom were Americans in service with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. During the occupation, American servicemen married approximately 1,800 women from New Zealand and the island Pacific, creating legal bonds through marriage and through children. Additionally, American servicemen fathered an estimated four thousand nonmarital children with Indigenous women in the South Pacific Command Area.
In Of Love and War Angela Wanhalla details the intimate relationships forged during wartime between women and U.S. servicemen stationed in the South Pacific, traces the fate of wartime marriages, and addresses consequences for the women and children left behind. Paying particular attention to the experiences of women in New Zealand and in the island Pacific—including Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and the Cook Islands—Of Love and War aims to illuminate the impact of global war on these women, their families, and Pacific societies. Wanhalla argues that Pacific war brides are an important though largely neglected cohort whose experiences of U.S. military occupation expand our understanding of global war. By examining the effects of American law on the marital opportunities of couples, their ability to reunite in the immediate postwar years, and the citizenship status of any children born of wartime relationships, Wanhalla makes a significant contribution to a flourishing scholarship concerned with the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, and militarization in the World War II era.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1. War in the South Pacific 2. Pacific Home Fronts 3. Intimate Histories 4. Governing Marriage 5. Departing Pacific Shores 6. Married for the Duration 7. After They Sailed 8. Destinies Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index
Angela Wanhalla (Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, Ngāi Tahu) is a professor of history at the University of Otago, New Zealand. She is the coauthor of He Reo Wāhine: Māori Women’s Voices from the Nineteenth Century and author of Matters of the Heart: A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand, winner of the Ernest Scott Prize for best book in Australian and New Zealand history in 2014.
“Of Love and War offers a methodological case study that historians of other conflicts can apply to their work in order to demonstrate the effects of war and militarization on women’s lives and the involvement of the U.S. military in regulating the personal lives of soldiers and occupied citizens. Angela Wanhalla paints a rich and compelling picture of the lives of soldiers and civilians in love and war. . . . Fascinating and well-researched.”—Heather Marie Stur, author of Saigon at War: South Vietnam and the Global Sixties