War bride

War bride

War bride is a term used in reference to military personnel who married foreign women in times of war or during military occupations of foreign countries, especially–but not exclusively–during World War I and World War II.

One of the largest and best documented war bride phenomenons is American servicemen marrying German "Fräuleins" after World War II. By 1949, over 20,000 German war brides had emigrated to the United States.[1] Furthermore, it is estimated that there are "... 15,000 Australian women who married American servicemen based in Australia during World War II and moved to the US to be with their husbands".[2] Allied servicemen also married many women in other countries where they were stationed at the end of the war, including France, Luxembourg, Philippines, and Japan. This also occurred in Korea and Vietnam with the later wars in those countries involving U.S. troops and other anti-communist soldiers. As many as 100,000 GI war brides left the United Kingdom, 150,000 to 200,000 hailed from continental Europe, 15,500 from Australia and 1,500 from New Zealand, between the years 1942 and 1952.[3]

In 2008 the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, B.C., Canada, had as its major exhibit paintings by Calgary artist Bev Tosh.[4] The exhibit chronicled the warbride experience in Canada and New Zealand via a painting medium.


  • Philippine-American War 1
  • War brides in World War II 2
    • United States 2.1
    • Australia 2.2
    • Canada 2.3
    • Japan 2.4
  • Korean War 3
  • Vietnam War 4
  • 2003 Iraq War 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Philippine-American War

Due to the Philippine Insurrection, a few U.S. servicemen would take Filipinas as their wives, with documentation as early as 1902 of one immigrating with their servicemember husband to the United States.[5] These Filipinas were already U.S. nationals, when immigrating to the United States, making their legal status significantly different from previous Asian immigrants to the United States.[6]

War brides in World War II

United States

During and immediately after World War II, more than 60,000 U.S. servicemen married women overseas and they were promised that their wives and children would receive free passage to the U.S. The U.S. Army's "Operation War Bride", which eventually transported more than 70,000 women and children, began in Britain in early 1946. The first batch of war brides (455 British women and their 132 children) arrived in the U.S. on 4 February 1946. Over the years, an estimated 300,000 foreign war brides moved to the United States following the passage of the War Brides Act of 1945 and its subsequent amendments, of which 51,747 were Filipinos[7] and an estimated 50,000 were Japanese.[8]


About 650 Japanese war brides migrated to Australia after the ban on Japanese migration, imposed at the outbreak of the Pacific War, was lifted in 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into force. They had married Australian soldiers involved in the occupation of Japan.[9]


Approximately 43,500 war brides went to Canada accompanied by some 21,000 children. The overwhelming majority of these brides (some 93%) were of British origins, because Canadian soldiers were mostly stationed in Britain, and had been there since 1939.[10] Indeed, the first marriage between a Canadian serviceman and a British bride was registered at Farnborough Church in the Aldershot area just 43 days after the first Canadian soldiers arrived in December 1939.[10]

These war brides to Canada emigrated mainly in 1946 in specially commissioned "war bride ships", such as Queen Mary, Lady Nelson, Letitia, Mauretania, and Île de France, landing at Pier 21 in Halifax. Mauretania was the first dedicated war bride ship to Canada; she departed Liverpool for Halifax on 4 February (the same day the first war brides arrived in the U.S.).[11] The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 has a section dedicated to war brides and they are commemorated by a National Historic Site marker located at Pier 21.[12]


Several thousand Japanese who were sent as colonizers to Manchukuo and Inner Mongolia were left behind in China. The majority of Japanese left behind in China were women, and these Japanese women mostly married Chinese men and became known as "stranded war wives" (zanryu fujin).[13][14] Because they had children fathered by Chinese men, the Japanese women were not allowed to bring their Chinese families back with them to Japan so most of them stayed. Japanese law only allowed children fathered by Japanese fathers to become Japanese citizens. However Japan lifted the restrictions on the women and citizenship for children born to foreign men recently and they have been migrating back to Japan with their Chinese husbands and children.

Korean War

6,423 Korean women married U.S. military personnel as war brides during and immediately after the Korean War.[15]

Vietnam War

8,040 Vietnamese women came to the United States as war brides between 1964 and 1975.[16]

2003 Iraq War

War brides from wars subsequent to Vietnam became less common due to differences in religion and culture, shorter durations of wars, and direct orders. As of 2006, about 1,500 visa requests had been made by U.S. military personnel for Iraqi spouses and fiancées.[17] There have been several well-publicized cases of American soldiers marrying Iraqi women.[18][19]

See also


  1. ^ "The Atlantic Times :: Archive". Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Mitchell, Peter (2007-04-26). "Aussie brides reunite".  
  3. ^ http://www.americainwwii.com/stories/warbrides.htm
  4. ^ "Royal BC Museum". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  5. ^ Xiaojian Zhao; Edward J.W. Park Ph.D. (26 November 2013). Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political History [3 volumes]: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political History. ABC-CLIO. p. 375.  
  6. ^ Uma Anand Segal (2002). A Framework for Immigration: Asians in the United States. Columbia University Press. p. 146.  
  7. ^ Michael Lim Ubac (July 2012). "Whatever happened to Filipino war brides in the US". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  8. ^ Lucy Alexander (October 5, 2014). "Daughters tell stories of ‘war brides’ despised back home and in the U.S.". The Japan Times. 
  9. ^ James Jupp, The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people and their origins, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 523.
  10. ^ a b "About the Canadian War Brides of WWII". 
  11. ^ "CBC coverage of warbrides - Love and War". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  12. ^ "Pier 21 Museum". Pier 21. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  13. ^ Left Behind: Japan's Wartime Defeat and the Stranded Women of Manchukuo
  14. ^ Mackerras 2003, p. 59.
  15. ^ Eui-Young Yu and Earl H. Phillips, Korean women in transition: at home and abroad, Center for Korean-American and Korean Studies, California State University, Los Angeles, 1987, p185.
  16. ^ Linda Trinh Võ and Marian Sciachitano, Asian American women: the Frontiers reader, University of Nebraska Press, 2004, p144.
  17. ^ "In love AND WAR". Colorado Gazette. 2006-08-13. 
  18. ^ "Two US soldiers defy order, marry Iraqi women". Indian Express. 2003-08-28. 
  19. ^ "Few Battlefield Romances From Iraq". Newsweek. 2007-10-13. 


  • "The Meeting of Anni Adams: The Butterfly of Luxembourg" by Lonnie D. Story (ISBN 1932124268)
  • Love & War: stories of war brides from the Great War to Vietnam by Carol Fallows (ISBN 1863252673)
  • Michi's memories: the story of a Japanese war bride by Keiko Tamura (ISBN 1740760018)

External links

  • "American War Bride Experience; Fact, Stories about American War Brides"; American War World II GI Brides. website
  • Luxembourg War Brides; "The Meeting of Anni Adams: The Butterfly of Luxembourg"; American War Brides. website
  • Australian War Brides website
  • websiteCanadian War Brides of WW II
  • Newfoundland & Labrador War Brides website
  • from Veterans' Affairs Canada websiteCanadian War Brides
  • Love and War: Canadian War BridesCBC Digital Archives –
  • history webpageYankee boys, Kiwi girls
  • (eText of Official History of New Zealand in WW II)Problems of the 2NZEF from Marriages
  • New Zealand servicemen and their war brides, 1946 (photo)
  • Eswyn Lyster's Canadian War Bride page - the book "Most Excellent Citizens"
  • War brides of World War II reunion 2007
  • websiteCanadian War Brides of the First World War
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