French War Brides in America
An Oral HistoryBook - 2008
In 1944 and 1945, millions of American soldiers took part in the Liberation of France. It was impossible for these GIs, who brought with them freedom, health, and wealth, to avoid fraternizing with French women. Some 6,500 Franco-American marriages would later take place. Many of these women would cross the Atlantic to join their husbands, following the example of their compatriots who had wed doughboys after World War I. This book, a collection of oral histories, tells the story of mademoiselle and the GI by following the destinies of 15 French war brides--three from World War I and 12 from World War II. All of the women encountered cultural shock as they discovered an opulent and open society, but one which was also materialistic and racially segregated. But these women, like the many others who came to America, got on with it and survived. Although about half of the marriages ended in divorce, only about 150 of the women returned to France. Most of them, in their own way, lived the American Dream. Today these women are both French and American. They reflect the image of a successful betrothal between two cultures.