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'Overpaid, oversexed and over here'

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Jain Hench

on 20 January 2015

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Transcript of 'Overpaid, oversexed and over here'

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The GI’s brought over Coca-Cola, American tobacco, pin-ball machines, jukeboxes and nylon.
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Even though American musical influences were slowly being brought out to the world, the dances held at the US bases introduced Rhythm & Blues, blues, and jazz.
Colin Larkin, a historian says that ‘such edgy music was never played by the BBC.’
70, 000 British Women became GI Brides
"The girls went mad. They never had such a good time. They had never been with fellows who had so much money,"
says Prudence Portman, who met many GIs during the war
Many relationships, of course, did not lead to marriage and many babies were born out of wedlock. Causing great distress for the young mothers.
20,000 babies were born to American fathers during the wartime in Britain.
Statistics and Introduction
Babies and Women
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Impact of US forces on Britain
'Overpaid, oversexed and over here'
GI's and their British brides and children

By the end of the war over 3million US soldiers had passed through Britain,
130,000 of which were Black. Compared to only 7000 Blacks living in the UK at the time at all.
US soldiers received 5 times as much pay as the UK equivalent.
For most british people, this was the first time they had seen Americans.
Social change
Few in power realized how the black presence in Britain would affect almost every government department, almost every facet of British life and almost every aspect of Anglo-American relations.
The War Office worked closely with the American Army in Britain to sort out all the difficulties that were thrown up, while other services – the hospitals and those who requisitioned accommodation for the troops for example – had to tackle the logistical and supply problems raised in providing for two American armies, one black, one white.
Meanwhile countless minor officials and civil servants, from policemen, magistrates and probation officers grappled with the practical difficulties raised by the presence of segregated black troops.
The British Government, had to be careful not to upset its vital ally by actively encouraging the breakdown of the American segregation policy which would, according to some white Americans, make the blacks more ‘uppity’ and demanding on their return home at the end of the war. On the other hand, to accept the American standpoint would be to give offence to British blacks, to the NAACP, the British colonial territories and armies, not to mention significant elements of the British electorate.
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